26th Milton Keynes Coniston Cubs went on a tour of the MK Waste Recovery Park in Wolverton to discover how black bag rubbish is processed in MK, as part of their Cubs Environmental Conservation Activity Badge.

It was a real privilege for the Cubs to be the first community group to have a tour of the Amey operated MK Waste Recovery Park since the COVID pandemic. Many thanks and a shout-out here to Cathy and Khadeeja for offering such a wonderful environmental education service for local community groups!

Discovering how waste can be recovered

The Cubs learnt about the amazing efforts and engineering that goes into the recovery and processing of 500 tonnes of black bag rubbish a week in MK! Our expert guides gave the Cubs a talk about how rubbish can be reduced, reused to create other things, recycled, and recovered.

The Cubs were interested to learn that there was an on-site power station that creates electricity through an ingenious process that involves thermally heating the remaining materials of black bag rubbish to create synthetic gas.

Dressing up for the occasion – PPE for a waste tour!

As Cubs from one half of the pack dressed-up in personal protective equipment (PPE) of gloves, goggles, hard hats, and high-visibility jackets for a guided tour of the recovery park, the other half stayed in the classroom to do some activities. The PPE was primarily for safety, hygiene and protecting, but most of the Cubs loved looking the part for the tour.

{Note, owing to safety, photos were not allowed during the tour itself, so photos in this article are from the classroom and group work moments only.}

The Cubs experienced a wide range of distinctive smells along the way, and their expressions were just priceless – it seems neckers are also highly versatile as nose-covers for muffling bad rubbish smells!

The tour went past a giant building that housed nine super-sized composters for organic materials. The Cubs sniffed the main room of sorted rubbish, and even had the privilege of going into the ‘control room’ where they watched an operator use a remote control to move a big grabber for picking up rubbish. Unlike the ‘grab a toy’ game that are typical of arcades, the prize here was ‘rubbish’ for making electricity :0)

Group work and discussion

Whilst one half of the pack went on a guided tour, the other half did group work in the classroom. In the classroom, the Cubs learnt about which types of rubbish could be recycled with the help of Young Leaders, shared what they learnt and discovered what could be made from recycled materials.

Special shout outs – welcome and well done!

It was wonderful to welcome two new members, Johnson and Adwita, to our Coniston Cub pack.

Outside of the session, Timothy created an anti-litter poster for The Parks Trust poster competition as part of his badgework.