Youngsters from a Tees valley school were given the honour of officially opening a new visitor centre to co-incide with the tenth anniversary of SITA UK’s energy-from-waste facility.
The pupils from High Clarence Primary School, in Port Clarence, Billingham, were invited to the Haverton Hill plant for the unveiling of the education centre, which tells the story of how non-recycled waste on Teesside is disposed of.
The children were able to play with some of the games, puzzles and computers in the visitor centre, before going on a tour of the plant and watching as the household waste was brought in to the tipping hall and then sent to the furnace.
Students Aquiel Hansen, 11, and John Crosby, seven, were asked to cut the ribbon to officially open the centre, having both won competitions at school to create recycling leaflets and models out of recyclable materials.
They were joined by their proud parents on the visit, along with headteacher Jean Orridge, other schoolchildren and teachers.
Graham Ingleson, general manager of SITA Tees Valley, said: "We are delighted that High Clarence Primary School has played such a major role in the opening of this visitor centre. As our neighbours, we felt it was important that members of the local community are involved in what we are doing, and this centre is very much about helping to educate children in the Tees Valley about waste disposal."
Homes in the Tees Valley generate over 290,000 tonnes of waste for recycling or disposal every year….and local industry produces much more. Non-recycled waste is sent to the energy-from-waste facility, where it is burned to generate enough power for the National Grid to serve 40,000 homes.
Jemma Crosby, mother of pupil John Crosby, said: "I was very proud when I found out John had won the recycling competition with his model of a dragon. He is fascinated by recycling and is always getting me to recycle more. He has loved every minute of this visit."
And Kurt and Lisa Hansen, parents of Aquiel, said "Today has been great for us all. We were really proud of her. The leaflet she produced was fantastic and straight to the point."
At the end of the visit, Mr Ingleson presented some children’s gardening tools to the school, for use on its allotment, as a thank you gift for its involvement in the event.
Mrs Orridge said: "It has been so great for the children to be involved. We learn about recycling and the need to protect the environment in school, but this has enabled the children to do practical work and see for themselves how it all works. The visit has been very interesting. I’m sure we will all remember it for a long time."
For more information, go to www.sita.co.uk