The project was initiated by Northumberland County Council to
involve the students in waste and recycling issues and encourage
them to see an item of waste as an art medium.
The compost bins used are the same size, shape and fabric as a
standard compost bin but have no hatch opening and have no lid. The
hatch is seen by many gardeners as surplus to requirement so the
bins are perfectly functional without that feature.
The lids were donated by Straight PLC and Northumberland County
Council donated the bins.
Students were briefed to decorate the bin in a way that would
create interest in the garden and inspire people to get involved
and see home composting in a different light.
As a result, the 34 students have designed and painted bins
depicting outdoor scenes with local landmarks and wildlife which
represent the many facets of the county of Northumberland.
Scenes include the wildlife of the county, Woodhorn pit wheel,
the Puffins of the Farne Islands, historic castles, Blyth beach
huts, the couple statue at Newbiggin-by-the Sea, The Royal Border
Bridge at Berwick and boats to play tribute to the fishing heritage
of the county.
The bins have been transformed and will be transported to The
Alnwick Garden by Doves Builders Merchant in Ashington who are
supporting the project. They will be on public display from Friday
11 April to 9 May.
Patrick O'Doherty, Programme Area Leader for Creative at
Northumberland College said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity
for our students to put their creative skills to the test in a very
"Our students wanted to show the public that, rather than the
bin being seen as an eye sore, it could in fact, have an
interesting feature or be their own work of art. They have
responded brilliantly and come up with some wonderful designs that
really showcase their talents and the beauty within our
Councillor Ian Swithenbank, policy board member responsible for
waste management at Northumberland County Council added:
"This initiative represents an excellent way to re-use items that
would otherwise have gone to waste, and has also provided the
students with an innovative design project. The results are
stunning, and I can see that the students have put a lot of thought
into what are the key attractions of our fantastic county."
The compost bins will be placed around The Alnwick Gardens in
appropriate surroundings to complement the design. Visitors will be
given a map and will be able to follow a trail around the gardens
to see all bins in place. Visitors will be able to vote for
their favourite and a series of prizes will be awarded for those
most popular from the public vote.
Visitors will also be able to enter a silent bid for any of the
bins with all proceeds donated to the 'Roots & Shoots Garden'
which supports a number of projects such as; Blooming Well,
providing therapeutic gardening and wellbeing activities for adults
with early onset dementia and memory loss; The Forget-me-Not
project, providing family gardening for children with disabilities
in a safe and supported learning environment; and the
Northumberland Schools programme, teaching children basic planting
and gardening techniques, learning about nutrition and healthy food
Judging of the bins and the silent auction will be overseen by
The Alnwick Garden and any that are not sold in the auction will be
offered for sale to garden visitors with proceeds also going to
The votes will be collected and the winning design announced at
a special prize giving ceremony at The Alnwick Garden on Wednesday
7 May to coincide with National Compost Awareness Week, 5 - 11 May
Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third places and
will be donated by Northumberland County Council and The Alnwick
Northumberland College offers art and design courses in a range
of disciplines from Level 1 up to HND Level.
The photograph shows the students with their compost bins at