Last Thursday, Year 4, 5 and 6 classes from Cockwood Primary School visited the waste management facilities in Exeter.

The morning started with a tour of the Pinbrook Recycling Centre in Pinhoe, where pupils learnt what could be recycled here and how. You can even bring engine and cooking oil here to be recycled!

After the tour, we put on our lab coats and investigated the properties of some materials you might find around your house, such as cotton, plastic and glass. Understanding material properties doesn’t only help us sort our rubbish better at home but also is used in the recycling process. Materials can be separated in a MRF (Material Recovery Facility) by magnets and optical sorters, organising by transparency and colour, just like the science experiments the students conducted!

We then made our way to the Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Marsh Barton, where things from our black rubbish bin are sent after they’re collected by the binmen. The students got to see rubbish being dropped off straight from the bin lorries, where it’s picked up by a huge grabber. The grabber then drops our rubbish into a kiln where it’s burnt at over 850°C! This heat is then used to boil water, which turns into steam. This steam makes turbines spin and generates electricity! Isn’t it cool that we can produce energy from our rubbish? Do you want to know more about how the EfW works? Click here to find out!

The students finished the day by taking a quiz and playing the beanbag game where the students thought of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle common rubbish items, such as water bottles instead of sending them to the EfW plant! Although burning our rubbish produces electricity, we should aim to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste before sending it here.

What a fun day packed full of activities! We hope you enjoyed your visit, Cockwood Primary!

Did you know you can book a FREE tour of the waste management facilities in Exeter or Plymouth for your school? Find out more information and how to book here.