Supported by the Onyx Environmental Group, Raffy's Party, a colourful look into the “magical world of recycling and the environment”, was launched at the Hamley's toy shop.
'Raffy's Party', written by Hilary Robinson, encourages children to recycle
The book follows the adventures of the 'Green Gang' as they seek to minimise the impact of waste in their home town, and is aimed at children aged between three and nine years old.
Commenting on the book, Onyx marketing director Kevin Hurst said: “We see this as a great opportunity to start educating children at an early age into thinking about recycling and environmental issues – if we can fuel their interest now, it may well be beneficial to everyone in the long term.”
Written by children's author Hilary Robinson, the story and the main characters were created by Paul Gosney, a former scrap metal worker from Sheffield who was inspired by internet coverage of recycling progress.
“I thought there was a gap in the children's book market for recycling ideas,” Mr Gosney told letsrecycle.com. “I had a look on your website at recycling and the legislation coming in, and just thought it's going to be massive and the best way to get it out to everybody is through the kids.”
Mr Gosney also consulted his own children, Edward and Katie, in the development of his ideas – originally centring on the character 'Scrapman Stan'. However, in fleshing out the ideas, it became clear they needed more characters with a universal appeal, and the resultant book's hero is a young boy named 'Recyclit Rick'.
Although encouraged to write the book himself, Mr Gosney approached Hilary Robinson to flesh out his ideas, create a few more characters and write the story. But the project couldn't have gone ahead without the support of Onyx.
“It was Onyx who helped us out,” Mr Gosney said. “I thought the best way to take it forward would be to involve a waste management company, and Onyx has just come to Sheffield so I thought it would be nice to actually use someone in Sheffield.”
With an initial print run of 10,000 copies, Onyx will be distributing some of the books via their contracts with local authorities. With support and ideas from the waste management company, a further five books will be released over the next twelve months, and a website has already been launched alongside the books, which includes a waste separation game. “We've had four people write in to say 'ca;n we have another level?'. It only came out Sunday and they want another level,” Mr Gosney said.
The book seems to spread the recycling message well, and seems to catch children's interest. Speaking about how his own children have reacted to the book, Mr Gosney said: “They think it's marvellous. When I was going to throw something away now, Eddie says: 'no, daddy, don't throw that away, we've got to recycle that', and he's re-using things like fairy liquid bottles to make boats and things. Hopefully, other kids will be interested too.”
Click here to visit the Green Gang website.