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The solution was clear for this redundant glassware

July 28, 2021

Eden, school pupil, age 16, delivers lab glassware to Birchgrove Comprehensive School in Swansea. Photo: Vale Archive

When Vale’s Acton Refinery in West London, England, was closed much of the surplus equipment was shipped to our Clydach Nickel Refinery (CNR) in Swansea, Wales, about three hours due west. “We inherited a fair share of equipment,” explained Anthony Jayne who is the supervisor of CNR’s QA Lab

While the team at Clydach repurposed as much of that material as they could, including a drying oven, redundant items like beakers, flasks and other lab equipment, ended up being piled “in a storage area in the basement of the building,” said Anthony.

That’s when Clare White, lab coordinator, came up with the idea of donating the equipment to local schools. 

The first batch of materials was delivered back in December 2019 to Morriston Comprehensive School, where Clare’s children, Rebecca and Christian, attended at the time. “It was six or seven boxes of glassware,” said Clare. “And the school was thrilled.” 

Then COVID-19 arrived and community outreach projects like this went on the backburner for several months. Finally, as lockdown restrictions started to ease up this spring, the team was able to restart their repurposing project. 

From left to right: Dr. Anthony Jayne, lab supervisor; Emma Jones, Birchgrove school administrator; and Eden Bousher, daughter of Damien Bousher, superintendent, Production, Kiln Plant. Photo: Vale Archive

Coinciding with Sustainability Week, one large box of equipment was delivered to Birchgrove Comprehensive School where the daughter of colleague Damien Bousher, superintendent, Production, Kiln Plant, goes to school (see photos). 

Another box is going to Ysgol y Strade, the comprehensive school where Anthony’s son Evan attends (Ysgol is Welsh for “school”). 

For donations like this, it’s helpful having an “in” at the schools, such as children of Vale employees who are pupils, because it’s easier to make an introduction and connection with the decision-makers at the respective learning institutions. 

Anthony is quick to give most of the credit to his colleague for this initiative: “Clare was very proactive. My job was to stand there getting my photo taken,” he said, with a laugh. 

Yet even after deliveries to three local schools, there was still some material sitting in storage. To deal with that, Clare reached out to Swansea University. “They will be taking the remainder of the glassware off our hands. The head of chemistry there was extremely grateful,” said Clare. This is a great example of how we are living our company’s purpose of “serving society and giving back to everyone.” #ValeProud

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