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I had a wonderful trip to Porto in Portugal last week with two volunteers from the Manchester Museum, Gina and Vivien. The themes were ecology and culture, and we mixed with staff and volunteers from other institutions in Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Lithuania and Iceland. Each country will take a turn to host the group, with different volunteers each time. The project is called ‘This is us: Our place, our culture!‘ and is funded by Grundtvig. I am very grateful for the opportunity to go.
We were taken to Lipor, the region’s recycling plant, where the waste that the local residents recycle is sorted for further processing. It was set in beautiful gardens with vegetables, fruit trees, farm animals and a small lake. Local children are invited to attend educations sessions there to help pass on the message of recycling to their families, and to grow up with the knowledge of recycling and its benefits. We each made a grass head and a foam pipe to bring home – both great ways to use up waste products and teach children about recycling.
We also visited Águas do Douro e Paiva, a water treatment works for the Douro region. We learned how to make candles and soap from used kitchen oil, another practical way of reusing rather than recycling waste products.
And yes, we did visit a port wine cellar, and it would have been rude not to sample a little.
The group will be visiting Manchester in spring 2014 and we are looking forward to welcoming them with fish and chips!