Image for Using maths to recycle rubbish

Using maths to recycle rubbish

Duration: 09:44

Stefan Gates finds out that machines can sort rubbish into different 2D and 3D shapes when he visits a vast recycling plant. He speaks to Richard Kirkman who explains how they use different machines to sort the rubbish by weight and shape. Stefan throws some items from his own recycling into a machine like a giant sieve – a cylinder (plastic bottle), a flat rectangle (piece of paper), and a cube (cardboard box). We see that the machine lets some shapes through but others travel across onto a conveyor belt. The different machines and conveyor belts continue to separate the different materials. At the end a machine squashes them into cuboid bales of the same size and shape, but made from different materials – cardboard, aluminium or plastic. Stefan shows us the new items that can be made from the recycled material - cardboard boxes, drinks cans, plastic bottles and a recycled plastic chair. Stefan then visits pupils from John Donne School in South London who show him how they reuse plastic bottles by first sorting them into different sizes and shapes, just like the machines. Then they can make new things out of them, from bird feeders to planters to a whole greenhouse with walls made from 1500 plastic bottles.

Available since: Wed 27 Mar 2013

This clip is from

Ecomaths Primary

1/2 Stefan Gates visits a school that uses recycled objects in many different ways.

First broadcast: 27 Mar 2012

Image for Primary Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss