Children in the Tees Valley are being given an opportunity to increase their green credentials with an invitation to visit SITA UK’s energy from waste (EfW) centre.
The leading recycling and resource management company is setting aside an afternoon every week to host primary school pupils at its Haverton Hill site in a bid to educate youngsters about the need to recycle their waste and look after the environment.
Youngsters from St John the Evangelist RC Primary School in Billingham kicked off the school tours as part of a sustainable living project they have been working on at school.
The 30 pupils donned hard hats and fluorescent jackets for their tour of the plant and household waste recycling centre, which saw them visit the control room, witness the refuse vehicles bringing in the waste, and peer inside the furnaces.
Afterwards, they watched a short film about the need to reduce, re-use and recycle their waste before taking part in a fun quiz and playing with educational puzzles at the visitor centre.
The company has written to all primary schools in the Stockton borough, inviting them to book a free visit at the site on a Tuesday afternoon to suit them.
Primary schools in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, and Redcar and Cleveland will be invited in a rolling programme in the months ahead.
Ian Haswell, SITA UK’s Tees Valley Regional Manager, said: "We were delighted to show pupils from St John’s primary school around the site this week. I think the majority of them didn’t even know we existed before they came, but seemed to go away with a good knowledge of how we use household waste to benefit the environment.
"We are very keen to show youngsters what we do in the Tees Valley, and how we are able to create enough electricity to power a town the size of Hartlepool through burning residual waste that we cannot use again. We hope other schools take up our invitation to arrange a visit."
Teacher Kathryn Walker, science co-ordinator at St John’s school, said the visit had been a great success.
She said: "The pupils and staff had a fantastic afternoon. They all learnt a lot on all different levels. The children were amazed that all of this was going on in the Tees Valley. We have talked about what they learned on the day and feel everyone has benefitted. It was brilliant."
Councillor Jennie Beaumont, Stockton Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: "This is a positive educational experience that children would benefit from. The children can see first-hand how waste can be turned into energy and how other materials can be recycled and reused.
"The earlier young people learn about these the better. Visits like this will only increase their commitment to reducing waste."