Donarbon mark opening of education centre at Cambs waste management park with visit by school pupils

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S waste management park opened a state-of-the-art education centre this week with a visit by schoolchildren.

The education centre at Donarbon, in Waterbeach, was given the official seal of approval by Councillor Tony Orgee, Cambridgeshire County Council’s lead member for waste and recycling, at a formal event on Wednesday.

It was then put through its paces as the first visitors, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Wilburton Primary School, enjoyed various activities.

They made toy elephants from plastic milk containers, planted tomato seeds in compost made from garden waste and saw how recyclable materials are sorted from their household waste.

Cllr Tony Orgee said: “Even in this time of unprecedented financial pressures, we need to keep encouraging people to recycle as much as possible and reduce the amount of rubbish being thrown away. The education centre will encourage our next generation to do more to reduce their waste and recycle.”

The centre was built as part of the Waste Private Finance Initiative (PFI) between Donarbon and the county council.

It has been designed to make visits from schools memorable and to encourage schoolchildren and communities to recycle as much as possible and reduce the amount of waste they create.

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Schools and colleges throughout Cambridgeshire can arrange visits for pupils aged six and over free of charge, and adult groups can visit the recycling site.

Donarbon’s �42million recycling plant opened in November 2009 and has already received national acclaim for its work with pupils by being awarded the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge in May last year.

Karen Brenchley, education centre manager at Donarbon, said: “We have already had more than 2,000 visitors to the education centre and the rest of the Waterbeach Waste Management Park since the plant opened.

“The improvements to the education centre will help create a more exciting experience for school pupils in particular and enable us to give out even more information of the benefits of the waste treatment process here and possible future developments”.

The internal installations within the centre were designed and built by the national waste and environmental education company, WasteBuster.

It had a design brief to make the children’s visit more fun and their learning experiences more meaningful, so that they not only remember the ‘reduce, reuse, repair, recycle’ message, but encourage their parents to do so too.

Katy Newnham, director of WasteBuster, said; “The design brief from the County Council and Donarbon was very challenging, but we feel we have created a number of spaces where children can learn creatively and be inspired to take an environmental message home with them.”

• To arrange a visit or for more information contact Karen Brenchley or Mike Freed on 01223 815490; e-mail education@donarbon.com or visit the Donarbon website education zone at www.donarbon.com/education-centre

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