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.
Don't throw it all away
Oh what fun you can have
wasting less each day!
Recycle all your tins,
Paper, cards and empty jars
get made into new things!
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: www.wastewatch.org.uk.