Glorious sunshine welcomed RSC Belgium members to the Dow Terneuzen plant on Saturday 21 May. They joined some 800 other interested members of the public who visited one of Europe's biggest chemical complexes during this open doors event.
Our visit started with registration at the plant entrance, including a fine bag of Dow goodies, before transfer to the Communications Centre and the opportunity to see a range of interactive exibits focusing on sustainable chemistry and applications in the home, work and play.
There was also a bouncy castle for the kids and some excellent Dutch coffee and top-notch buns.
RSC member and Dow employee Carolyn Ribes (below, right) was our guide for a specially arranged anglophone coach tour of the huge plant at 11:00. The Terneuzen complex is massive covering some 440 hectares - equivalent apparently to 650 football pitches. The site's polyurethane plant is the largest in Europe.
Carolyn described Dow Terneuzen as being "like a city" with its own fire and ambulance service, restaurants and many other services. But Dow also takes its ecological responsibilities very seriously too. Next to the site is a Natura 2000 site of special ecological importance and, uniquely in Europe, the site takes the waste water from the neighbouring town of Terneuzen, cleans it and uses it for process water before cleaning it again and passing it into the River Schelde - an excellent innovation that is a benchmark for future non-competitive water use.
After the coach tour some mebers of the RSC party retired to the Brasserie Westbeer overlooking the Schelde in Terneuzen for a harty lunch. Some members of the RSC group (including Carolyn and her husband Al - also a Dow employee) are pictured outside the restaurant with the Dow plant in the background.