Monday, 12 October 2009

East Devon goes for Zero Waste

I'd just like to give a huge shout-out to the Recycling Officers at East Devon District Council, who are kicking off their Zero Waste Week today.

The council is in the process of introducing weekly food waste collections and to raise awareness of new methods available to reduce landfill, they are giving residents who already benefit from the new service the opportunity to participate in their first Zero Waste week.

Contestants will need to go for one week without producing any black bag rubbish and there will be a prize for the most successful household.

Although the competition is open to residents on Monday and Tuesday collections in the Axe Valley, Sidmouth and Ottery areas, other folk in the district are being encouraged to participate by avoiding packaging and recycling or reusing everything they can.

And if you have been listening in to Good Morning Devon today, you may even have heard East Devon's Waste Management Team's Steve Joyce making his radio debut with his colleague Naomi.

It was all fun and frolics with BBC Radio Devon presenter Matt Woodley, inviting Steve and Naomi to delve into his family's binbags to find out what could be done with a "fetching pair of plum hotpants"and a pink bra.

Steve's tip that the bra could actually be recycled and might even come back as soundproofing material certainly caught the attention of the radio presenter as well as other interesting facts during the 10 minute slot. Having your rubbish waded through on air, is a brave thing to do even for a confident radio presenter, but it did make great listening as Naomi and Steve managed to reduce the rubbish by 50%.

So if you live in Devon and missed the debate, which included top tips about nappies, dry cleaners' bags and shredded paper, then it's worth popping along to BBC Radio Devon and clicking on the Listen Again button. You just need to fast forward to 2hrs 32 minutes.

Best of luck to all in East Devon who are taking part and to Steve and Naomi in their bid to help reduce the UK's landfill. It's wonderful to see more councils rolling out Zero Waste challenges and when the week is over, I'll be sure to report back on their successes.

And if you'd like to find out more information about East Devon's Zero Waste Challenge, further details can be found on the council's website.


mrs green said...

Great radio interview; have just listened in - really inspiring to see how the council reduced it by 50%!

Interesting Naomi says food waste is one of the most harmful things to put into landfill.

Karin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

I enjoyed the Radio coverage with some good plastic-avoiding advice. There was also talk of putting food waste along with green waste. This would not be suitable for AD so it is likely to be on a smaller scale than separate food waste collection.

Blue bin commingled recycling starts next month here. This came out of the blue but will allow more plastic usage.

Can you recycle all plastic caps? The details are unclear on this point.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Mrs G - What was also interesting was the difference between East and West Devon. Things like that could lead to trouble at mill so to speak LOL. Great point about Naomi and well said. That is one of the biggest problems the UK has to tackle at the moment and it is interesting to see the groundswell of support behind it.

Hi John - oooh you've got commingling coming to your area. I know that it's often treated with suspicion from the perspective of real recycling and there are arguments for and against, but it's just brilliant that it will open up more opportunities for you with the amount of items that can be processed. One of the popular arguments against zero waste is the time it takes to sort things at home, so hopefully your new services will encourage wider acceptance elsewhere. Our facilities here include all plastic caps, so hopefully yours will too. There's lots happening on the Zero Waste front in Scotland at the moment. It would be interesting to see where all the plastic recycling is going. Is it being managed in Scotland or is it being transported across the border or overseas? Would love to know. :-D

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

Thanks for the plastic cap details. This item is a worldwide issue. Juli on the PlasticlessNY site collects these for Avensa to process, as they are not recycled there.

I fully agree with the waste processing information becoming public. The lack of information allows critical media to push their anti- agenda unopposed.

I emailed Renfrewshire Council precisely on this matter, as well as giving a warning about fines, which would do more harm than good.

Layla said...

YAY for East Devon!! :)

plum hotpants and a pink bra- lol!!

Didn't know bras can be recylced into soundproofing?!! :)
Wonder how it is in Slovenia.. Probably not! yet...? ;)

I wonder what is being done with plastics caps too.. not sure if I dare to find out??

PS You've won an AWARD!
(Strong Awesome Trashionista awards will come later, this one will do for the time being?;)

Almost Mrs Average said...

Yay - Hi Layla, great to see you and thank you for your news about the award. I'll be coming to pick it up as soon as I can. :-D xxx

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi John - when you hear from Renfrewshire, do drop back with the news. By the way, are you on Twitter yet? If so, it's worth following the news from Zero Waste Scotland. You can see their newsfeed at

John Costigane said...

Hi Mrs A,

I will certainly pass on any reply.

Ownership of waste, home waste for our trend, is part of Zero Waste since their is no point in our good practices if others, dealing with our recyclables, do not follow suit.

Where bad practice occurs, the attitude might be to minimise (Reduce) recyclables.

Twitter is a consideration for the future. I will need to figure out a suitable approach. The Scottish newsfeed is worth a look.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi John - the Scottish feed on Twitter is full of positive stuff. There's even a link to their website and blog too. So you ought to be able to make some good contacts there :-D

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