If you'd like to join the Waste group, please email Kathryn Nedd here.
The first area the Waste group focused on was plastic bags and so we named ourselves “Plastic Bag Free Cobham”. We were inspired by the book “Ban The Plastic Bag” by Rebecca Hoskins and set about researching how to encourage people to use and remember their reusable bags.
We created a flyer with information about plastic bag use and how to avoid it. We also contacted Elmbridge Borough Council who donated cotton bags as well as posters. The posters were put up in local and supermarket car parks. They were intended to encourage people to remember their bags (which might be in the boot of the car).
The group also spent a Saturday morning in Cobham High Street spreading the word about reusable bags as well as giving assemblies at two local schools (St. Andrew’s School and Cobham Free School).
In the middle of our #reuseyourbag campaign, the government announced that it would introduce a plastic bag charge from October 2015 onwards in England. This follows the Welsh and Northern Irish charges.
The group has now decided to focus on waste as a whole and will look at food waste as well as reusing materials (e.g. making a greenhouse out of large plastic bottles). We have had regular litter-picking walks..
A member of the group has written to our local MP and received information about how the government deals with litter. Highways England is responsible for clearing litter from motorways while local authorities are responsible for more minor roads. Furthermore, Keep Britain TIdy runs the Eco-Schools project in England, working with schools to change littering habits from a young age.
Recycling and Reusing
Blue Planet and Sky News, among others, have over the last year highlighted the plight of our wildlife and oceans as a result of plastic contamination. Pressure to do something about this has led to Environment Minister, Michael Gove announcing that the government is going to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.
In the UK, we use 35 million plastic bottles everyday - and 5.5 billion of them go un-recycled every year.
A Deposit Return Scheme is a simple and effective way of tackling the problem. When you buy a drink you pay a little extra, which you get back when you return your empty drinks container. Last year Scotland announced they would introduce a scheme and now the rest of the UK may catch up.
This is only the first step. We need the Deposit Return Schemes to apply to all drinks bottles and cans of all sizes - and return points should be convenient.
And next we must ensure that coffee cups from the likes of Starbucks are made recyclable and that plastic straws are eliminated.
The group has found the below websites useful for information regarding recycling and reusing.
Can an item be recycled? Elmbridge Borough Council has created a Recycling A to Z where you can look up how items need to be recycled.
The Surrey Reuse Network will pick up any unwanted furniture and kitchen appliances and distribute it to local charities.