Traditions are wonderful things; even relatively new ones, like the Senior tags and lock that began on our new campus in 2019. Since 2019, special graduating year tags and locks have been presented to all our graduating students, to write their message to ISKL and the students who would follow them, and attach permanently to the railings of the hallowed Senior Deck.
Sometimes, we realize that we can do better. That was the case when we started thinking about this gift for the Class of 2021 and considered once again ordering plastic tags and metal locks. Was there a better, more sustainable way to allow our seniors to leave their legacy at ISKL? Turns out, the answer is yes!
This year’s senior tags are made from 100 percent recycled plastic retrieved from the ocean and landfill right here in Malaysia. The metal locks have also been replaced by fully recycled plastic carabiners. Each is unique and, as we know from problematic plastic in the environment, will pass the test of time.
The reaction from seniors who received and attached their tags during the “returns” day on 27 May, was overwhelmingly positive, with “Wow! That’s awesome!” the common response. Many seniors have spent years working with environment clubs at ISKL during their High School years, and earlier in Middle and Elementary School, and have helped to build a culture of sustainable thinking and exploring new initiatives.
ISKL Alumni collaborated with the SeaMonkey Project, a Penang-based NGO that assists sustainability-minded organizations to create recycled plastic products, often to replace existing materials. The process includes the creation of special molds, that allow for the collected shredded plastic to be shaped into whatever form is required. The NGO works extensively with businesses and events companies, and has an education arm to encourage schools to get on board as well.
ISKL Alumni’s carabiner mold is the first of its kind, which employs a dual injection method. It is a versatile item that we know will find other uses at ISKL. As we own the mold, we are able to explore those options. The tag mold also has a life beyond 2021 as it allows us to replace the final number on the year (the 1 in 2021) with other numbers that we have already pre-purchased for the Class of 2022 and 2023.
Some of the plastic used in the Class of 2021 tags and carabiners came from a collection drive on campus in April, when we asked the ISKL community to bring their blue and yellow type 2 and 5 plastics to special collection points for this special project. Perhaps one day it may be our own ISKL students not only collecting, but also shredding and molding the plastic as part of our environment club activities, helping to close the circle on plastic use at ISKL.