SCHOOLCHILDREN have visited a new £8m food waste processing plant.

A 32-strong “eco team” from St Michael’s CofE Primary School, in Esh, near Durham City, took a tour of the Emerald Biogas facility, in Newton Aycliffe, to learn how leftover food is being turned into biogas.

The visit came after a Waste Warriors campaign, which had seen pupils studying the anaerobic digestion process and the concept of food miles.

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Representatives of Emerald Biogas visited the school in March and the school has been collecting food waste to send to the plant.

Teacher James Paley said: “The children really enjoyed their visit to Emerald Biogas.

“They learned about the different processes involved in food waste anaerobic digestion.

“The children know that recycling is vitally important in protecting the environment.”

Esther Brown, Emerald Biogas’ commercial manager, said: “The pupils were fascinated by the journey that the food waste takes, from their own collections and the other types of food waste coming into the site as well as the bacteria that create the gas and the fertiliser that comes out at the end.

“We see educating the next generation about how yesterday’s leftovers can become tomorrow’s green energy as being a priority and through this initiative we are committed to helping the local community change the way it deals with leftover food.”