28 Apr 2015

New BBC/OU series delves into British waste bins to find out the truth about rubbish



An observational BBC series, co-produced by The Open University (OU), takes a revealing look at refuse disposal

A fascinating new BBC/OU co-production Wastemen, which starts today (Tuesday 28 April), takes a look at what we throw away on a daily basis in the UK and what happens to it after it goes off in the refuse truck.

Britain generates enough waste to fill the Albert Hall every hour and this three-part series on BBC2 challenges our thinking of what should be put on the rubbish heap.

The first episode focuses on the refuse collectors and council officials in Newcastle who are waging a war on waste and trying to introduce some new initiatives. Episode Two returns to the North East where we discover that one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, with thought-provoking revelations. The third and final episode shows how Newcastle and the North East are leading the way in sourcing solutions to the problems of mounting waste and show viewers how new developments could change waste disposal for the better.

The Open University’s academic consultant to the programme, Dr Rajiv Prabhakar, lecturer in personal finance, said: “This series shows that clearing up rubbish depends on so many men and women. Their actions show that there is more to waste than simply rubbish, and we see that waste disposal can offer us a glimpse of how society is changing.”
Wastemen starts on Tuesday April 28 at 9pm on BBC2 (11.50pm for BBC2 Scotland)

Viewers can continue the learning journey with the OU and access material to accompany the series and/or follow links to our courses. To find out more: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/tv/wastemen-one-mans-rubbish-one-mans-treasure

There is also a fun quiz for learners to test their knowledge of waste:

Wastemen (3x60) was commissioned by Clare Sillery for the BBC. The Executive Producer is Sacha Mirzoeff. The Series was commissioned for The Open University by Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast. The University’s Academic Consultant was Dr Rajiv Prabhakar.


Notes to Editors:

About The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has almost 200,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.
The OU is rated in the top ten of UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, since the survey began in 2005. In 2013/14 it had a 91% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.
In the latest assessment exercise for university research (Research Excellence Framework), nearly three quarters (72%) of The Open University’s research was assessed as 4 or 3 star – the highest ratings available – and awarded to research that is world-leading or internationally excellent. The Open University is unique among UK universities having both an access mission and demonstrating research excellence.
The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC and has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to co-producing prime-time series such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, Britain’s Great War, I Bought a Rainforest and Business Boomers. Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 66 million downloads.
For further information please visit: www.open.ac.uk

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