'Milkman' Thomas uses his love of shakes to deliver a recycling project with a twist
PUBLISHED: 13:27 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:27 13 December 2019
A "green" Christmas tree, made of 150 recycled plastic bottles, has been created by an 11-year-old boy from Dunmow concerned about the planet.
Thomas Spoelstra, known to some of his friends as the Milkman because he loves Shaken Udder milkshakes, has turned his collection of containers into a festive project.
He was inspired by news stories on plastic wastage.
Thomas, a former pupil at Felsted Primary School, discovered Shaken Udder milkshakes on the menu when he entered Year 7 at Colchester Royal Grammar.
Quickly becoming their biggest fan, he began to wash out the milkshake bottles and store them in his locker after lunch, thinking that he might be able to make something useful out of them one day.
What started as a small collection in his locker, soon transformed into a school-wide phenomena.
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Other pupils gave their empties to him. Thomas found milkshake bottle donations left outside his locker. Even the older students at the school sought out the 'Milkman' to donate their empty bottles.
Thomas said: "I kept the bottles in my locker because I liked the shape. Then I piled them up because I was running out of space and I found that they would stack.
"I made the tree over several weekends. I think it's good to be reusing the plastic."
Thomas built the Christmas tree with his dad from all the bottles he had collected, drilling holes in the lids and feeding through LED lights to add sparkle.
Thomas even wrote an e-mail to the Shaken Udder Company, which decided to get on board with the project by sending Thomas and his family free products and plenty more bottles to add to the tree.
With 26 bottles at the base of the tree, Thomas' creation now stands proudly outside the Spoelstra residence showing that with a bit of creativity and teamwork anyone can do something to help save the planet this Christmas.
"We are all shouting reduce, reuse, recycle but if someone actually wants to do something or make something fun and creative, they are sometimes called names or made fun of.
"This inspires me even more to make a difference."