Esly is a student in Dublin who attended MonsterConfidence Dublin in 2017 and was one of 5 prize winners invited to spend a day at Veolia’s London plants in March.
On the 14th of March, winners from the MonsterConfidence Tour 2017, met at Veolia’s Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility for a tour of the premises. When we arrived, we were introduced to Rachel, who was our guide for the day, and then put into different groups. We were shown an induction video on health and safety at Veolia and asked to complete a questionnaire afterwards. When that was finished, we were led into the buildings where the waste was sorted. We watched a video on the various machines and got to see how each one worked.
It was very interesting to see the technology behind all the waste management. For example, the TITECH machine, which had optical screens that could detect certain type of waste, which then made separating them easier. As well as that, there were also employees who had to double check that the rubbish they were handling was safe and that the recyclable materials they were producing were of the highest standard.
After the tour, we came back into the main building and got into our groups again. Each group were then asked to answer questions related to recycling, energy, waste management and encouraging the public to become more mindful of what they throw in their bins and of their environment in general. Along with some of the mentors present, we explored the answers to these questions and really learned a lot from each other. We got to hear everyone’s views on certain topics and how we might work towards solving various problems.
The final part of our day was spent at South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP), which is a waste incineration plant. We got to see how energy was generated from all the waste being burned. Again, we watched an induction video on health and safety and then we listened to a presentation about the plant itself and how it began. When that was finished, we got a tour of the facility and I was very surprised to see how the incineration of the waste actually takes place. As expected, there was a slight odour coming from all the general waste but it was a very enjoyable visit nonetheless. My favourite part was seeing the employees handle the huge cranes used to lift tonnes of the rubbish on top of each other.
Overall, I found the day very insightful and it has made me become more conscious of what I put into the different bins we have at home. I have also been encouraged to spread my knowledge of waste management and recycling to my friends, family and classmates. At the same time, my passion for STEM has been re-ignited by some of the mentors who spoke to us that day.
I’m very grateful to Veolia and the Stemettes for giving me the opportunity to take part in all of this and I’m looking forward to hearing more about them in the future.