Elizabeth is studying for A-levels in Winchester and attended MonsterConfidence Southampton in 2017. She was one of 5 prize winners invited to spend a day at Veolia’s London plants during March 2018.

This day gave me a real insight into the world of engineering; something you don’t get when you are at school or college. On arrival I was greeted by friendly faces from the Stemettes team as well as those at the Veolia recycling site. The smell was less welcoming! The morning was spent touring the recycling centre, seeing how they sort all the different materials- mechanically, optically, using magnetic and electric fields (something I was studying at the time) and using bacteria to decompose any biological matter.

Presentations during the Innovation session at Veolia.

Then we had an innovation session, trying to answer questions like: How do we get people to recycle more? What other uses are there for waste products? This was a chance to speak to the other girls that had travelled from all over the place to be there, to learn what they think about STEM and their plans for the future. This continued through a great lunch where we could also talk to some of the women in the industry who came for the day.

 The afternoon was spent over in the incineration site, we were given a tour. I remember everything was covered in dust but it didn’t smell as bad as the recycling centre; due to the foul air being trapped in the boiler and under goes many chemical processes before it leaves out the chimney, cleaner than London’s own air! It really proved to me how important engineering is and how much it can do: to turn rubbish into usable electricity whilst not filling up landfills!

To learn more about MonsterConfidence and get involved in the next tour, visit monsterconfidence.co.uk

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