Somerset Waste Partnership

May 28, 2019

Beth Prince 1024X967 1

We then enjoyed an encouraging and informative talk from Beth Prince, who is the Community Engagement Officer from Somerset Waste Partnership.

Vice President Rachel Ellins welcomed us to this month’s meeting and good wishes were sent to Karen, our president, for a speedy recovery.

It was reported that the recent Repair Cafe held at the Baptist Church had been a great success and our members who had provided refreshments at the event had done a brisk trade in tea, coffee and homemade cakes. This raised a good amount of cash which will be donated to Open Door, our charity for this year. We look forward to raising even more at the next event on 20 April.
Anyone yet to pay their membership subscription or to fill in the form to accompany it was urged to do so as soon as possible.

The scrapbook group has had one meeting already and request that any members who have material that could be used, i.e. pictures, cuttings etc. should send it directly to Karen, upload it to the Wellington WI private Facebook page or bring it to a meeting.

Any members wishing to volunteer to help at the Bath and West Show should contact Rachel, our secretary, at the earliest opportunity.

In keeping with the theme for the evening, we were reminded to continue collecting soft ‘squeezable’ bottle tops which Lush will recycle into new containers for their products.

We then enjoyed an encouraging and informative talk from Beth Prince, who is the Community Engagement Officer from Somerset Waste Partnership.

SWP are responsible for all aspects of waste collection and recycling, which includes clinical waste and garden and bulky household waste as well as the regular kerbside rubbish and recycling collections.

Over 380,000 kerb-sort and communal bin collections are made each week. Encouragingly, 85% of people are now routinely recycling their waste. The current fleet of collection vehicles has been in use since 2007 and in that time people’s lifestyles have changed. The huge rise in home delivery of internet goods has meant a vast increase in cardboard being put out for collection and the current lorries struggle to cope. A new contract and fleet upgrade in 2020 will overcome this problem.
It was good to hear that 52.3% of all our household waste is recycled and that the people of Somerset are very good at putting the correct items in the correct boxes. This means the bulk waste is uncontaminated, so is more valuable to sell on.

Food waste is sent to an anaerobic digester plant in Bridgwater to create clean green energy and bio-fertiliser which is then used on local farms. An average household produces 5kg of food waste each week, equating to two wheelie bins worth a year. This is not made into compost, so cooked and raw food, meat and fish bones can be included, minus any packaging of course.

10,500 tonnes of newspapers, magazines, catalogues and telephone directories are processed to make more paper products avoiding £1.1million in landfill taxes each year. Unfortunately, much of our Christmas wrapping paper now is glittery or plasticised and therefore cannot be recycled, so must be put out as rubbish.

Glass bottles and jars have long been recycled but Beth reminded us that no Pyrex, plate glass or broken glass should be included as the boxes are hand sorted.

Some of us were unaware that textiles can also be put in our kerb boxes. Beth suggested that good items should be sent for charity but ‘low end’ items such as holed socks and worn out clothes can go to make industrial wipes and mops.

Another little known fact was that we can put out empty aerosol cans. In fact, Beth suggested people should have a place upstairs to collect bedroom and bathroom items as many trigger sprays, shampoo bottles and face cream jars etc can be recycled too.

She also reminded us that several items such as plastic pots, tubs and trays can be taken to the local recycling centre and many shops have bins for batteries and plastic bags and wrappers.

The future watchword for Somerset will be ‘Recycle More’ and to this end rubbish removal will become three-weekly and all recycling will be collected weekly. A new plant will open at Avonmouth in 2020 for recovery of non-recyclable waste, thus cutting landfill and creating energy at the same time.

After thanking Beth for a most informative presentation, members’ time saw some of us revisiting written pledges we had made two years ago to become greener in our everyday life, and coming up with fresh ideas on how this might be achieved.

Our next meeting on 21 March will be at the Beambridge at 7pm. A representative of NatWest bank will be talking to us about digital safety. New members and visitors are most welcome.

More from Our Blog