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Community focus for new appointment

Published: Thursday, 20th November 2014

Abi cox news

Abi Cox

Working with the recyclers of tomorrow in schools across Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham will be the main focus for Abi Cox.

She’s Shanks’ newly appointed Community Education Liaison Officer for the BDR waste facility due to open in July 2015. 

Based in the purpose built Visitor Centre, off Bolton Road, Manvers, Abi is on a mission to spread the word about why waste matters. She’s keen to show how every one of us can make a difference by reducing our waste through activities such as composting, reusing things we might otherwise throw away; and increasing our recycling. 

Joining the BDR facility from a similar community facing role in Derby, Abi loves her work and explains:
“I don’t have a typical day because my job is so varied, but the common theme is helping people to understand how they can make a difference,” she said.

“The more informed people are about their waste and the processes behind treating it, the more they are able to sustainably manage that waste.”

Abi’s previous role involved, for instance, visiting schools and county shows in Derbyshire. Here in the Dearne Valley, Abi will be helping young people to understand what Shanks and its engineers do at the new Manvers facility, to make the most from their waste.

Projects Abi has already become involved with include:-

  • ‘It’s a rubbish adventure’ – at Magna Science Adventure Centre where children take part in activities to learn more about what can be recycled and how. This is available as an outreach workshop for schools. (info@visitmagna.co.uk or 01709 723116)
  • Dearne Valley Eco Vision – a local council led project to transform the area into one of the UK’s lowest carbon communities
She said: “I try to inspire young people by talking about the technical processes and what we do with the rubbish in their bin bags. Sometimes when I go back to schools the children run up to me in the playground, so I must be doing something right.

“I work with young people aged four and upwards, getting information out there. You’d be surprised what they go home and tell their parents about waste and recycling,” she said.

“People are often amazed at the lengths we go to at Shanks to make sure waste is used in a valuable way to create energy and other important by-products.”

So, from the classrooms she has visited so far, what are the three main misconceptions about what we do?
  • “All the material we recycle at home ends up in landfill anyway.”

This just isn’t true, there are a lot of processes in place to make sure as little waste as possible goes to landfill from the reuse options like furniture projects and charity shops which are promoted and run in communities, the recycling services offered on the doorstep by the local Councils and facilities like the one under construction at Manvers which extracts any recycling people may have overlooked and then uses the left over, non-recyclable waste to generate electricity.

  • “No one else really recycles.”

Actually 90% of people are actively involved in recycling in some way.

  • Recycling isn’t worthwhile

We all need to do our bit to make sure that we reduce, reuse and recycle as much of our waste as possible as recycling can save energy, water, natural resources and reduce CO2 emissions.  
For example the energy required to make one brand new aluminium drinks can is roughly the same as the energy needed to recycle 20 cans.  And every ton of glass that is recycled back into glass bottles and jars saves 1.2 tons of raw materials from being used.