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Pupils at Coxhoe Primary School learn about food waste from Esther Brown, Commercial Manager at Emerald Biogas

A new commercial food waste facility has visited a primary school in Coxhoe, County Durham to talk about food waste and help pupils understand the growing impact of disposing unwanted food.

Emerald Biogas, based at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, recently launched its “Waste Warriors” campaign to schools across the north east in response to the national food waste problem and Coxhoe Primary School was delighted to be the first to take up the offer.

Esther Brown, Commercial Manager at Emerald Biogas talked with 25 Year Four and Five pupils about how big a problem food waste is, both locally and nationally, where the food waste comes from and why it should be recycled and not sent to landfill.

The young recyclers also learned about the process of anaerobic digestion, with the benefits of green energy and fertiliser produced at the other end, as well as what they can do to help by becoming a Waste Warrior.

Cassidy, aged 8, said: "We'll make a big difference on planet earth because we'll help the environment a lot doing this."

Micky, aged 8, said: "We're helping make more electricity because we're running out of natural energy."

Courtney, aged 10, said: "Recycling our food waste will stop pollution from landfill sites."

Following the presentation, pupils were given workbooks with activities such as designing a team logo, filling in the gaps for the anaerobic digestion process and recording the food miles for schools lunch, to develop their creative design, problem solving and mathematics skills.

The youngsters have also been given a chance to win a £250 voucher for their school by designing a series of colourful and creative posters that get the food waste message across, as part of a wider north east schools competition. The winning school will be able to purchase an environmentally friendly resource, which can be used for the school’s green initiatives.

Over the next two weeks Emerald Biogas will collect the school’s food waste to process through the plant. The pupils will also be able to visit the anaerobic digestion plant to experience the food waste-processing journey in action

Alison Wigham, Class Teacher at Coxhoe Primary School, said: "The children have been surprised to find out how much food one school wastes and are excited to be making a difference by collecting ours."

Esther Brown, Commercial Manager at Emerald Biogas, said: “Coxhoe Primary School is the first school to take part in this new initiative and it was a delight to speak with the pupils. They were very excited to hear about what happens to the food waste and what they can do about it, and very much looking forward to completing the workbooks and getting creative with the poster competition.”

In the north east alone over 800,000 tonnes of food waste is generated every year, with over 80,000 tonnes of generated by schools in England every year, with over 80 kilograms thrown away on average in a primary school each week.

Eight additional schools are now planning to take part, including schools from Northumberland, Middlesbrough, Barnard Castle, Darlington and Newton Aycliffe.

Formed in 2009, Emerald Biogas is owned by three partners with a wealth of experience in agriculture and recycling. Antony and Adam Warren are the owners of long established food and animal by products recycling business, John Warren ABP. Together with Ian Bainbridge’s diverse farming, land and resource management Agricore, they will provide the region with a beneficial sustainable resource.

John Warren ABP manages the collection for Emerald Biogas. With over three generations waste management experience and family owned, the company offers a food disposal service at Hamsterley and has progressed into the next generation of food processing.

The funding for the project was made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

For more information about Emerald Biogas at www.emeraldbiogas.com

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