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Teens turn crisp packets into picnic blankets

Words by Smiley Team

An all-girls STEM team has been making upcycled blankets from an unlikely material: crisp packets.

The group, called Team Quadrifolium, is made up of four teenage girls from the UK. Aditi is a member of the team, and a Year 12 student from Tonbridge.

“We started seeing ways to upcycle waste," she says. "We started collecting any crisp packets, any snack packet, noodles packets - basically single-use ones."

So, how are the blankets made? Aditi says the plastic packaging is washed and dried, then sorted by sizes and laid out. "Then the edges of packets are fused together using an iron with a baking sheet as a barrier between to prevent burning," she explains. "Once the plastic sheet is all fused together, a fabric slightly bigger is stitched to the plastic sheet."

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"We plan on donating blankets to politicians and companies that can make a difference, to push some of them to change the way they currently make their products," says Aditi. 

As well as having further plans to teach the younger year groups at her school how to make the blankets, Aditi said that her group has also worked virtually with students from the Bahamas. 

Following instructions and advice from Team Quadrifolium, the Bahamian girls’ club FEM STEM made a picnic blanket from crisp packets which they gifted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first official Caribbean tour. 

The girls used packets collected from shorelines and recycling stations, and the final result was given to the Duchess of Cambridge on 25th March. The Duchess was reportedly very pleased with the gift and impressed by the young girls’ innovative design. 

This joint project has fostered a transnational friendship between the girls that is bound to live on, and Aditi said that the group is “super proud” that their project has expanded to the Bahamas. The project will help to accentuate the need for STEM education for young people whilst conveying the urgency of the climate crisis to a global audience. 

This year, Team Quadrifolium entered their blanket in British International Education Association's STEM Competition on Sustainable Cities. BIEA is working with the girls and their schools to make more of the blankets and give them to MPs on 24th May at the BIEA STEM Forum.

Dr Alex Holmes, Head of STEM at BIEA, added: “Young people didn’t create the climate problem, but they are the ones who have to live with it. We need to do everything we can to help them build up the skills and mindset to deal with the future.”

Inspired to act?

TRY IT YOURSELF: Why not try upcycling for yourself? Empty crisp packets can be made into a variety of things, from Christmas decorations, to keyrings, to blankets and mats. Find out more at

DONATE CRISP PACKETS: You can send your crisp packets to be put to good use. Find out more


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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