Making plastic fantastic: Viridor’s fresh educational offering empowers school pupils
02nd October 2019
Children are excellent ambassadors and voices for change, says Viridor and this is why the largest UK-owned recycling company is encouraging a shift in behaviour towards waste through education.
Children who visit Viridor’s learning and visitor centres are now being taught about the complete journey of plastic from production all the way to the beginning of its life as a secondary plastic product. They learn that plastics do not decompose, and that by ensuring we put the right stuff in the right bin, we can give this precious resource a new life and support the circular economy.
Viridor’s Learning and Visitor Centre Manager Jessica Baker-Pike said: “School pupils come to Viridor facilities and learn about recycling, how that which can’t be recycled is transformed to create renewable energy but that much of what is recyclable finds its way into non-recyclable waste instead.
“Our simple message to pupils is centred on reducing and re-using things first, then we move on to ‘right stuff, right bin’ for recycling and green energy recovery. We are increasingly focusing on plastic materials because young people have heard so much about this in the media. We are now showing them how we play our part.
“The pupils will learn about the journey that plastic makes from production, to the market, to the bin and back to our Polymer Recycling Facility in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, to be transformed into plastic flakes and pellets, and into products on the market once again.”
Viridor operates an award-winning plastic recycling facility in Rochester, Kent - one of the most sophisticated of its kind in the UK. The facility separates plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays into key polymer types including: PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), HDPE (High density polyethylene) and PP (Polypropylene).
The company’s Polymer Reprocessing Facility in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, segregates and processes the material further to produce HDPE compounds and PET flakes. These plastic or polymer grades are of the highest quality and can be directly substituted for virgin material in the manufacturing of many new plastic products and packaging.
Viridor recently announced a ground-breaking project which will harness the electricity created from non-recyclable waste at its £252 million energy recovery facility at Avonmouth, near Bristol, to power a new £65 million plastic recycling plant.
The new plastics recycling plant will be powered by energy created which uses non-recyclable waste as its fuel.
Jessica said: “Children are excellent ambassadors and voices for change – just look at how much Greta Thunburg has achieved in such a short space of time.
“We hope that by educating the pupils in our learning and visitor centres, coupled with ‘pester power’ about plastic recycling, Viridor will contribute towards a change of behaviour in homes across the UK.”
Viridor believes that a great deal can be achieved through education and “pester power”. Pester power involves inspiring children with the recycling and circular economy messages. We give the children a homework tool to empower them to teach their families, who then pledge to change their household’s behaviour. The pledge is to recycle right to keep plastic fantastic. One of the really helpful ways to do this is checking local authority websites to see which plastic items are allowed for recycling in their area.