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Last week, 15 students from Chobham Academy visited Bywaters’ main facility in Bow in order to learn more about the recycling process. It was a pleasure to host these young people and encouraging to see their enthusiasm for preserving the planet.

Teaching Children About Sustainable Waste Practices

The best way to encourage better recycling practices is education – and through providing up-to-date and engaging information about waste management to children we can ensure that the next generation have the necessary knowledge to create a more sustainable future.

In order to achieve this goal, we hold regular tours of our specialist materials recovery facility in Bow for school groups from across London. Due to company health and safety policies only adults can enter the facility itself, so we host school visits in our adjacent head office and use our state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets to give them an interactive digital tour – devices which we also use as part of our regular waste awareness days for clients.

These educational visits are led by jointly by our Associate Director for Corporate Social Responsibility, Siận Glover, and team of Green Gurus. In addition to the virtual reality headsets, we play a variety of educational games such as quizzes about what is and is and isn’t recyclable – along with the most sustainable ways to handle non-recyclable waste – and a ‘speed-sorting’ challenge with prizes for the fastest team.

A Great Day

The children from Chobham Academy were a pleasure to have as visitors, and our staff were all impressed by how engaged they were about recycling and the level of knowledge they already possessed about sustainability issues. This engagement is something that members of our sustainability team regularly find when talking to younger people, and it’s a great sign for the future.

Because the children were so engaged and up for learning, we were able to go further than just teaching them our usual information about recycling, such as exactly what waste streams go into dry mixed recycling and which items need to be segregated, such as coffee cups and glass.

We had extra time to talk about sustainability more broadly and initiatives that can make a difference beyond waste – such as the 4,000 solar panels we have installed on the roof of our facility and ‘Plasticus’ – the 250kg whale made of single-use plastics we toured around the UK with Sky Ocean Rescue.

Bywaters’ School Outreach Initiatives

In addition to holding tours and talks for school groups at our facility, our team regularly goes out and visits schools to teach bespoke lessons or hold assemblies. We’re passionate about our ‘London for London’ ethos, and doing what we can to educate the capital’s children is a key part of our approach.

Recently our lead Green Guru, Sarah Achaichia, visited over 10 schools across Thurrock in order to engage children with environmental issues. This saw us reach over 2,500 children within a couple of months, and Sarah kindly wrote up her experience for our blog – noting a similar encouraging enthusiasm for sustainability among young people in London as we found with the children from Chobham Academy.

Working for a Sustainable Tomorrow

It was fantastic to have the students from Chobham Academy visit our facility to learn more about what happens to their waste after they’ve put it in the bin, and we’re looking forward to continuing to expand our educational outreach initiatives throughout 2020.

Bywaters’ vision is to lead the UK to a sustainable future, and the best way to achieve this is to inspire the next generation. Teaching London’s children about sustainability and responsible waste management is a privilege we take seriously, and from what we’ve seen there is definitely hope for the future.

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