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The pupils' artwork

Having an eco-blast

'Reverse graffiti' at Rosemary Works School offers artwork for the community to enjoy

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 30, 2015 | Outdoors

Rosemary Works Primary School in Haggerston suffered a graffiti problem. Rather than treat this as a nuisance, headteacher Rob Dell decided to turn this into a learning experience for the children by using Rentokil Specialist Hygiene’s environmentally friendly graffiti removal service – ‘EcoBlasting’.

‘EcoBlasting’ cleans graffiti from walls and other surfaces without the use of harmful chemicals. School children were asked to draw self-portraits, four of which were turned into 1m sq stencils and ‘reverse-graffitied’ onto the vandalised wall. The children’s portraits have now been ‘cleaned’ onto a canal facing wall at the school, which had been subjected to graffiti in the past.


One of four pupils' stencils

The process uses compressed air to blast environmentally-friendly abrasives, such as bicarbonate of soda or recycled glass, to remove layers of graffiti. Unlike alternative graffiti cleaning methods, EcoBlasting involves neither corrosive chemicals nor excessive amounts of water, giving it a far smaller environmental footprint. This method, which can also be used for the cleaning of fire and smoke damage, can be used on glass, wood, metal, brick and most stone surfaces (including soft stone, such as limestone, which would be eroded by acidic cleaner). 

Luke Rutterford, Technical Manager at Rentokil Specialist Hygiene, comments: “It is widely recognised that graffiti can leave a negative impression for residents, passers-by or customers entering a building but, at the same time, its removal needs to be handled in an appropriate way. This service offers businesses, schools and other organisations a cost-effective and quick solution for removing graffiti from their property in a safe and environmentally friendly way.”

The pupils' portraits were 'reverse graffitied' onto the wall

Rob Dell, Head Teacher at Rosemary Works School, adds: “It’s a great incentive for our pupils to see that their work can be turned into permanent pieces of ‘clean’ street art. We hope the many thousands of people that pass by the canal enjoy seeing these portraits as much as we have enjoyed creating them.” 

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