A TEENAGER who raised £1,000 to introduce a new recycling system at her school has received an award for her efforts to drive environmental change.

Esme Appleyard, 13, from Colchester, received the Jack Petchey Environmental Award for her work implementing the scheme at the Thomas Lord Audley School, where she is a pupil.

The industrious youngster has been working with the Rowhedge Recyclers group to source transparent bins.

She also suggested methods of overcoming the school's recycling issues to her headteacher, before presenting an assembly to raise the profile of recycling.

The delighted teen said: “I feel really privileged to be given this award.

"I was really pleased to do the project and make a difference in my school. I discovered that we weren’t recycling any of our waste and knew that I had to reduce the school's environmental impact.

"It seemed that the old system had fallen by the wayside and that we needed a new system that was easy to use, eventually encouraging everyone to use it.

"Winning this award means that I now have a platform that enables me to talk to people who are higher up and have the power to change aspects of school life that affect the environment.

"I can now get my message to a wider range of people and make more of an impact in the future.”

Gemma Juma, chief executive of the Jack Petchey Foundation said: "We want to recognise more young people across London and Essex doing inspirational things to improve their environment.

"We hope these awards will motivate others and showcase the positive things young people do every day to help create a sustainable future.”

Nominations for the award can be made at jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk.

A youngster can be nominated for any actions that make a positive impact on their local environment.

These could include volunteering in a community garden or for an environmental charity, taking part in a community clean-up, starting an environmental initiative at their school or youth group, promoting the protection of the environment and any other projects where they have been positively impacting the environment.