THEY come in dribs and drabs, and sometimes all at once, but every one of these buttons is important to students at one school.
Almost half a million of them have been sent to Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville to create a memorial which reminds people of atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust.
Teacher Mugeni Sumba took up the idea after his students persuaded him.
They were inspired after they watched a film where youngsters built a monument out of 30 million paper clips to commemorate those killed in the Holocaust.
Mr Sumba said: ‘The students really are the brains behind it.
‘The project is about human diversity, which the Holocaust took away.
‘People weren’t seen as people.’
Year 10 pupil Tess Barrows, 14, added: ‘We’ve been to the genocide memorial day service in Havant, and we’ve also been to some of the schools and talked to them.
‘We have a box in our classroom and when buttons come in we have them there.
‘Sometimes we go up at lunch time and count them one by one.
‘We think we might start weighing them now because it would be much quicker!’
The students hope the memorial will be completed by next January.
Student Alice Windebank, 14, said: ‘We’ve done quite well with it.
‘I think people should take notice because violence still happens in the world, and it probably will happen again in the future.’
The students still need another 500,000 buttons to help create the monument, which is called Memorial Against Hatred and Intolerance.
And earlier this year the project was boosted by the help of Lions Club International, an organisation which promotes peace and community service.
The club has asked scores of its members for donations.
Pat Nixon, education project officer for the Lions Club, said: ‘In March we held our convention on the Isle of Wight and I came back with a very heavy car, full of 42,000 buttons.
‘It was an amazing response for a project which we feel is very good.
‘We particularly like the fact that children are involved in it.’
To donate contact the school on (023) 9225 9214.