Waste Awareness Officers Visiting over 11,500 homes this year, Hannah Oakley and Tim Rawlings are committed to reducing waste and increasing recycling What does a typical workday consist of?
Tim: I have been working a lot on our ‘You pledge... we’ll reward’ scheme and looking at how residents have been performing, in order to reward them with Bath Olivers (our local currency) or food waste liners. We also work with university students, so we might select specific streets to door knock and iron out any issues there might be with recycling or waste. Hannah: When I’m not out and about doing road shows or door knocking with Tim, I am usually busy organising our Give and Take days or giving talks to community groups on our food recycling campaign, ‘Love Food Hate Waste’, or on washable nappies.
What are your current campaigns?
T: Our main priorities are promoting our food waste and recycling collections but we also run our Love Food Hate Waste campaign at every opportunity. The campaign gives some great food storage tips, appropriate portion size advice and recommendations on how to use up leftovers. H: We also run a real nappy campaign, which encourages people to use washable nappies rather than disposable ones. Our ‘Nappuccino’ event proved very popular.
Fact file n We have visited 11,500 properties this year n 52% of household waste was recycled in Bath and North East Somerset in 2011/12 n We are approaching 10,000 tonnes of food waste collected for recycling since October 2010 n Our four Give and Take days have diverted 14.5 tonnes of waste from landfill
How has our region benefited from your work?
T: The need to create new landfill sites is minimised. Recycling costs less than sending things to landfill, so this helps the Council pay for other services. Residents start to see the value in the things they throw away, which can breed a thrifty, mend and make do attitude. You also ensure that future generations can have affordable goods by providing an excellent alternative to fossil fuels, by minimizing the need to use up valuable resources. The longer-term benefits definitely concern the environment. By recycling we reduce the need for virgin materials such as trees for paper, aluminium for cans etc. Food waste produces methane when it is sent to landfill, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Instead, we can either not create that methane at all or harness it to power machinery to create a better society.
Have you seen a positive response as a result of your hard work?
H: All the time. We often have residents telling us how they have used the tips and advice we have given them. Residents have been really positive about our work with students, especially around the ‘Moving Out’ campaign at the end of the year. It is not nice to leave your house to find a neighbour has piled smelly rubbish sacks outside. We have been able to help communicate this message to students, and year-on-year, we have seen an improvement.
What results have given you the most satisfaction?
T: To hear that our recycling level went above
For more information, go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/wasteservices
38 | Connect | Winter 2012
50% this year gave us all a great level of satisfaction. The results we are seeing at the moment from the ‘You pledge... we’ll reward’ scheme are positive, and this is hugely satisfying because of the level of involvement I have had in the scheme. Our Give and Take days and furniture sales, which encourage reusing items, are really satisfying because you can see the immediate impact on people; everyone loves a bargain, especially when they are free.
Do you have any tips for reusing items we’d normally throw away?
T: I could write a book about the things you could re-use. I use threadbare T-shirts as rags to wash the car. I also use my leftovers as they often taste much better the next day and force you to be creative in the kitchen. H: I feel that it’s really important to try and reuse items before throwing them away or recycling them. Many unwanted gifts, toys and clothes can be donated to charity or given to friends or family.
Are you both devoted recyclers?
T: Yes, my wife is sick and tired of me watching over her shoulder at the things she throws away. I am very proud to say I only put one black sack out per month that is so light I could play volleyball with it. H: I recycle as much as possible and compost all of my organic waste at home. I also try not to throw food away and will freeze leftovers or make soups with vegetables that are starting to look a little tired. For more details, please contact Council Connect on 01225 394041
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