Waste and disposal adventure: Waste-focussed learning trail at Duisburg’s Recylingzentrum Nord

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg has, with its education project, created a learning trail to raise awareness of the use of resources and to positively influence the behaviour of its visitors. At innovative stations, visitors receive information and possible courses of action relating to waste prevention, waste separation and climate protection.

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg opened its waste-focussed learning trail at the new recycling centre, Recyclingzentrum Nord, in 2014. Since then, the number of visitors has steadily increased. In 2017, a record amount of over 100 groups are estimated to utilise the environmental education programme at Duisburg's largest and most advanced recycling facility.

Engine for progress:

  • Comprehensive education programme in accordance with Education for Sustainable Development (BNE) standards
  • Teaching about the waste hierarchy and suitable decision-making skills
  • Steadily increasing number of visitors
  • High potential for climate protection

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Photo: WB Duisburg

The waste-focussed learning trail at Recyclingzentrum Nord in Duisburg: an innovative learning opportunity with steadily increasing numbers of visitors.

A glance of the entire waste hierarchy

The waste-focussed learning trail aims at teaching about the most important steps of the waste hierarchy. This hierarchy defines the ranking of various measures when dealing with waste. First and foremost is waste prevention, followed by the separation of waste. The latter provides the basis for higher recycling rates. Waste prevention and separation are also measures that the visitors can actively contribute to in their everyday lives. What's more, they also learn about what happens to waste after it arrives at the recycling facility.

Realistic stations stimulate reflection and action

The novel offer – geared towards criteria of education for sustainable development – aims to inform and motivate primarily children and adolescents. During the three-hour walking tour, various topics are addressed at six realistic learning stations. The entire cycle from purchase to disposal at the recycling centre is presented. The “meadow-dump crime scene” station goes over illegal waste disposal and provides information on the natural degradation timeline for various products.

At the “waste weighing scales” and “sorting facility” stations, it becomes clear how important separating waste is for further processing at the recycling centre. Another station also shows how waste can be used to generate energy. The information provided is finished off with a guided tour of the recycling centre itself. The waste-focussed learning trail not only stimulates reflection, but also provides visitors with important skills for a less resource-intensive lifestyle.

Complete education programme

After the trip to the learning trail, student groups reflect on what they learned in the seminar area of the social building – built of a timber frame structure predominantly from recycled or renewable raw material using sustainable and ecological construction methods. Teachers also receive comprehensive materials in advance. Additionally, subject-related arts and crafts kits, games etc. can be ordered or borrowed.

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg offers additional activities beside its regular initiatives. The beautifully designed environment educational area is a great backdrop for numerous waste consulting activities like community events and a regular Repair Café.

Photo: Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg

Photo: Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg

“The waste-focussed learning trail is a very good tool for teaching our children and adolescents about the principles of ecologically sustainable material flow management as the basis of an advanced circular economy. We are pleased that this innovative educational programme aimed at promoting waste prevention, separation and recycling has joined KlimaExpo.NRW as an outstanding role model.”

Thomas Patermann, Spokesman of the Board of Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg