A commercial food waste facility has visited a second school in County Durham as part of its “Waste Warriors” campaign to talk about food waste and help pupils understand the growing impact of disposing of unwanted food.

Emerald Biogas, based at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, recently launched the campaign to schools across the north east in response to the national food waste problem and Barnard Castle Preparatory School was delighted to take up the offer.

Esther Brown, Commercial Manager at Emerald Biogas talked with 37 Year Four 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.

Emma Hardy, aged 9, said, “It was so interesting and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about how the food is recycled and what it looks like when they do it”.

Joe Bale, aged 9, said “I found it very interesting, especially learning all about the place where the food waste is recycled”.

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 school’s lunch, to develop their creative design, problem solving and mathematics skills.

The whole school will also be able to learn about the initiative in an assembly to be given by Headteacher Carl Rycroft, in which the messages about reducing food waste will be given.

The youngsters also have the 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.

Mrs Emma Small, Year 4 teacher, said “I am really impressed with how interested and enthusiastic the pupils are about reducing our waste food.  They are particularly interested in learning more about anaerobic digestion and seeing how much waste we generate as a school over the next few weeks.”

Esther Brown, Commercial Manager at Emerald Biogas, said: “Barnard Castle Preparatory School is the second 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.

Seven additional schools are now planning to take part, including schools from Northumberland, Middlesbrough, 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 of 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.

Go back