Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Waste Watch makes recycling fun

Fun & Frolics at the Waste Educators Annual Conference
L-R: Beverlie Warman, Laura Silverstone, Steven Lawson & me
with Waste Watch's Maree Waller

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the Annual Waste Educators Conference, organised by the wonderful environmental charity Waste Watch.

It was a truly inspirational day, with workshops covering a wide range of accessible ideas to make the concept of waste reduction fun, especially for the younger audiences in the UK. There were also presentations from Kirstie Hawkes of Procter & Gamble about the ways in which the company is slimming down its packaging, and Lindsay Coyle from WRAP who talked about exciting plans for addressing food waste in schools.

The sessions kicked off with my presentation about the zero waste challenge that I took last year. To anyone who was there, I apologise now for going into extra time. Regular visitors to the blog already know I come with an appropriate warning "Talks hindlegs off proverbial donkey" and if it's on the subject of zero waste, it's most definitely a case of duck and take cover.

However, it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to chat to many of the recycling officers and waste educators who work up and down the length-and-breadth of the country to promote waste reduction within their communities. Ideas that particularly caught my eye were Green Awards winner Resource Cumbria's fantastic R Factor Campaign and Buckinghamshire County Council's Recycled Clothes show.

For me, the last workshop of the day, was most definitely the icing on the cake, offering lots of ideas to teach recycling to foundation-stage children, through the appeal of stories and song. Having a 5-year-old and also being an active governor of our local primary school, this appealed to me greatly and Maree Waller from Waste Watch was an excellent coach, opening up our imaginations to turn well-known songs into recycling messages.

Yes - she even had us huddled into groups, trying to make up our own songs that would appeal to the young. I can tell you with only about 15 minutes to play with, it was a bit of a challenge.

But our group (pictured above) featuring Beverlie Warman from Wokingham Borough Council, Enfield's Laura Silverstone and Steven Lawson, from Luton Borough Council, managed to come up with a festive little ditty, which I'll be singing to my children later.

Are you ready to join in? Come on, loosen your inhibitions, gather your colleagues or your families and get your singing voices at the ready to join in the fun. You'll already know the tune.

Jingle Bells
Rubbish smells
Don't throw it all away
Oh what fun you can have
wasting less each day!


Jingle bells
Rubbish smells
Recycle all your tins,
Paper, cards and empty jars
get made into new things!


Jingle bells
Rubbish smells
Compost all your greens,
food, leaves and Christmas trees.
It keeps the planet clean!


And there you have it! As you can see, we were beginning to get into the flow and just in time for the festive season too.

Of course I can't resist asking whether you've got any similar ditties to share? If so, jot them down in the comments below and get me singing - but make sure you keep them clean because I blush very easily you know.

So, while you're scratching your heads, I'm off into Bury St Edmunds to see if I can catch up with the folk from St Edmundsbury Borough Council at their Love Food Hate Waste stand, which is in the market today. If I ask nicely, I might get the chance to have a go on their smoothie bike.

Thanks again to all those at the Waste Watch conference who gave me a warm welcome yesterday. As ever, I've come away even more inspired than I was before.


For more information about Waste Watch and its work, please visit the organisation's website:



John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Waste Watch is certainly adding to the impact of our trend with a fun approach to help children join in. Your school involvement and family background, gives you a role in these community type ventures and it seems to be your forte.

I look forward to such future events which should inspire others to follow your fine example.

Unknown said...

"Jingle bells, Rubbish smells..." LOL
I'm getting singing... too funny!!! I absolutely must learn all your ditty for the coming Christmas!!! :D
Well done all the group! Children will surely enjoy your work! ;)

mrs green said...

Sounds like a great day, Mrs A. I'm glad you had a target audience and got to meet some fellow rubbish fanatics; it all helps to feel that we're not the minority!

Love your jingle; you're clearly a wasted talent you know ;)

Susie - said...

I have to say I Love that song! :)

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi John - I can see with Christmas on the horizon, I could get in the swing of this... I think I'd have to recruit the recycling officers to help out though :-)

LOL Danda - I'll have to be careful and not get the children over enthusiastic. Their Christmas plays are coming up soon ~ could you imagine everyone's faces if they came out with the wrong words :-)

Hi Mrs G - It was good to get chatting to those who I met. There were a few people who'd run zero waste campaigns. It's just a shame I had no opportunity to chat to them properly. However, I did meet Karen from Gloucestershire, which was great. Now your next task of course, is to add to the jingle fever... I bet Little Miss G would love that. :-)

Hi Sooz - thank you....and thanks again to the fabulous folk who got together for the workshop. I just hope they're pleased. :-)

john for Recycling said...

The jingle is just so fun to sing. It's great to know that children are being educated about recycling and the concern for the environment as early as now. And the jingles and songs are a great way to catch their attentions.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi John - thank you. It's true, children are so good at picking up messages like this when put to song. I hope you'll be singing it now that the holiday season has started. It's a catchy number you know :-D

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