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“The Plastic Age” requires good education of children. The Plastík figure with a magic suitcase should help

09-11-2021  

So far, 26 primary schools in the Central Bohemian Region and the Ústí Region have joined the unique ‘Plastík and His Magic Suitcase’ project. It will offer schoolchildren an excursion into the world of chemistry using various entertaining experiments. The educational programme is based on a licence of the foundation of the German association Plastics Europe that has been immensely popular during its 20 years of existence. Today, it is available at every other primary school in Germany. In the Czech Republic, the scheme is provided to selected schools exclusively by the ORLEN Unipetrol Group. It should spur the children’s interest in natural sciences through experiments with plastics. Within this project, schools have received an educational package consisting of a suitcase with an experiment set, workbooks for children, an instruction manual for teachers and other materials worth CZK 550,000 in total. 

“Plastics are a characteristic material of today’s times. Therefore, it is important and useful to know about them as much as possible so that the next generation understands how plastics are created and how to handle them in terms of a sustainable future. It also applies to the youngest schoolchildren. Plastík’s magic suitcase serves as a building block for instructing natural sciences at school age. Experiments described in it introduce the topic of plastics to children with experiments. We believe that we will succeed in bringing natural sciences closer to the next generation,” says Katarzyna Woś, Vice-Chair of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Board of Directors of the ORLEN Unipetrol Foundation that provide an umbrella to the educational programme in the Czech Republic. They have already spent CZK 550,000 on this programme. 

The educational suitcase can be found in half the schools in Germany where Plastík comes from. “Sustainability brings a host of new challenges that are inseparable from the knowledge of plastics, their features and methods of recycling. Therefore, the Plastics Europe association initiated the Kunos coole Kunststoff-Kiste – Plastík and His Magic Suitcase – programme as part of its collaboration with primary schools. In Germany, Plastík has celebrated 20 years of existence. During this period, we have distributed 17,500 sets,” says Tanja Rühl, Communication Department of PlasticsEurope Deutschland.

During two workshops in Most and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Group representatives handed over the suitcases and accompanying materials to 26 schools in the Ústí Region and Central Bohemian Region. Under the leadership of instructor Adéla Marschallová Rumlerová, a professor at a Litoměřice general upper secondary school, almost 40 teachers familiarised themselves with individual experiments and subsequently tried them out. “Through the chosen experiments, teachers have a unique opportunity to interactively involve pupils in research instruction in an entertaining way that Plastík and His Magic Suitcase offer. As studies in developmental psychology and learning habits show, getting to know the phenomena of natural sciences at an early age is the foundation for understanding them better when you grow up,” explains Adéla Marschallová Rumlerová, a chemistry professor at Josef Jungmann General Upper Secondary School in Litoměřice.

The Libiš primary school has also joined the project and has since used the set actively: “Plastík’s magic suitcase is used for teaching second-year and third-year pupils, namely in the Researcher group. The advantage is that all components needed for experiments are provided in one place. At first, we introduce various types of plastics to the children and tell them how to distinguish them from one another. Then, they can see the examples of plastics on objects of daily use. The most popular experiments are when they can try plastic characteristics in practice,” says Eva Hobíková, head of the group and teacher’s assistant. For instance, the children look into how plastics break down in water and soil, which plastics can protect them against an impact, and how to make plastics. 

The ORLEN Unipetrol Group plans to manufacture up to 20% of its petrochemical products from recycled materials by 2030. It recognised social responsibility as one of its top priorities when creating its sustainable business plan. Total expenditures on CSR-related activities amounted to CZK 20.8 million in 2020.

                    


The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refinery and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it belongs among the critical players in the Czech and Central European markets. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo, with its Mogul brand in Pardubice, Spolana Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. ORLEN Unipetrol also includes a network of Benzina ORLEN filling stations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With 421 filling stations, Benzina ORLEN is the largest chain in the Czech Republic. Since its entry in 2019 to Slovakia, Benzina ORLEN has been one of the fastest-growing chains and currently has 20 stations in its network. ORLEN Unipetrol employs more than 4,800 people. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became a member of the ORLEN Group, the largest crude oil processor in Central Europe. In addition to its business development, ORLEN Unipetrol is proud to be a socially responsible corporation. Therefore, it pays an equal amount of attention to initiatives, focusing on the cultivation and support of sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment. 

Contact: Pavel Kaidl, spokesman, telephone: +420 736 502 520, e-mail: pavel.kaidl@orlenunipetrol.cz

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