Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Students learn how to ‘Go Green’ in Cardiff

Last Friday Andy Buttons-Stephens (President of Cardiff University Students’ Union), Sam Knight (ethical and environmental officer) and I (Kieran McCann Student Liaison Officer) took a tour around the MRF (Materials Reclamation Facility) at Lamby Way to see how our green bag waste is recycled and the processes it goes through.

This first hand experience was arranged to educate us on recycling. We can then communicate to the student body how and why it is important to recycle in Cardiff.

Along with the Rubbish section here on Cardiff Digs and an information pack we supplied it is another example of how we are committed to educating our students about waste. This includes what should be put into our green bags for fortnightly collection, the dates of the recycling collection, what happens to the waste, the importance of making sure the correct items are recycled and why we need to recycle in the first instance.

We also hope it will go a long way to helping students understand general waste collections. In tandem with http://www.cardiffdigs.co.uk/Rubbish.htm it is a utility to educate them; ensuring bins are put out at the right day and time, in the correct way.

Cardiff Union has set up a ‘Go Green’ week for their student body between 17th -23rd of November. It is a week comprising events, activities, workshops and educational facilities for the students to learn about environmental issues.

Teaching us so that we can inform others about how the recycle facilities can help students Go Green was an integral aim of the tour.

During Go Green students will be able to pick up extra green bags and waste information leaflets around the union. They are committed that these Green Zones will become a permanent feature. The union is also trying to educate students through e-mails to the student body about general waste collections and recycling. It shows the commitment they are making to ensure waste becomes less of a negative issue in Cardiff.

The tour

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Ray Harrison and waste management for an informative and lively tour. Seeing the MRF in action and how the machine works gave us a rare and privileged insight into what really happens to our Green Bags.
We learnt and saw how the machine is able to sort through recyclable goods using screening technology, dividing paper and card, metal, glass and plastics. Rotating axels and screens separate the materials by size and weight. An overhead magnet and an eddie, air suction current system, separates the metals, the paper is separated into both high grade and low grade and the plastics are sorted into various different types.

As you can see by our photos the various segregated materials are then baled at the plant. These bales are sold on to companies who turn what is often perceived as worthless rubbish, into useful products once again. Some examples might include

Cardboard is pulped and used to make new products such as egg boxes, cardboard tubes and even insulation.

Cans are made out of steel and aluminium, both can be melted down to make new steel and aluminium products such as more drinks cans or even cars.

Newspapers and Magazines are sent to a paper mill where they are washed, pulped and used to produce new products.

We were very impressed by the state-of-the-art facility and went home filled with enthusiasm for recycling. – Thank you to all who made the tour possible.

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