This film is part of Free

Today's Waste Tomorrow's Fuel

From trash to treasure – Byker embraces recycling in 1979.

Industry sponsored film 1980 20 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Garbage is not the most glamorous subject for a film, but, as environmental disaster looms, this 80s municipal film may attract the curious amongst future eco warriors. The state of the art Byker Reclamation Plant, commissioned in 1979, was the first in Europe, recycling rubbish from the east end of Newcastle, and heating the homes of the epic Byker Wall housing estate designed by Ralph Erskine.

This persuasive film is a late example of municipal patronage made for the Tyne and Wear County Council in co-operation with the Department of Environment by a prodigious local film production company, Turners. Turners spent more than 50 years honing their creative and technical skills, but finally folded in 1999. The Byker Plant was a flawed scheme and breached environmental controls. It was discovered in 2000 that ashes from the incinerator had seriously contaminated land around Newcastle (including allotments). The Byker Wall became a Grade II listed building in 2007 and was UNESCO listed as outstanding 20th century architecture.