Monday 14 March 2011

Green Drinks - Zero Waste Bungay - 15 March

For this month's Green Drinks and in preparation for our Give and Take Day on Saturday we've invited Karen Atthey-Woods to talk to us about her community interest company Wombling which runs a sort of year-round give and take (augmented by training on repairing and reusing) in Norwich and Jules Shorrock of VC Cooke a Beccles based recycling company who are working towards creating a zero waste site and offer advice and incentives to encourage businesses and communities to do the same.

Give and Take
This Saturday Sustainable Bungay is holding its third Give and Take Day at the Chaucer Club. We'll be inviting people to bring along things they no longer want or need and if they see something else they want to take it home with them - all for free. So far we've seen pretty much everything except a kitchen sink come in through the door with one person and leave with another; from surf boards to sofas and books to bikes - we're never left with much more than a bit of tidying up to do at the end of the day.

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle... (in that order!)
The Give and Take Days have far exceeded our expectations and so far we've ensured that almost 20 tonnes of potential landfill has found a new home. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of waste generated by Bungay and the surrounding villages - according to the Office for National Statistics every one of us generates almost half a tonne of household waste every year - around 2,500 tonnes for Bungay alone (and that doesn't include trade waste, DiY and building waste and the waste public services generate on our behalf).

Cradle to Cradle thinking
Recycling is increasing and Waveney has a good record for increasing and improving recycling rates, but it still remains low by European standards. But recycling is about the end of a product's life and before we even consider it we should think about buying less in the first place and then extending the life of the things we do buy - repairing them, reusing and them passing them on to others. There is a lot that product designers could do to help us with this by, for example, creating things that need less packaging, last longer, are easy to repair and reuse; so called cradle to cradle thinking.

Zero Waste Bungay
It's pretty clear that we are still a long way from cradle to cradle approaches to consumer goods - we probably won't ever get there but a zero waste Bungay might just be possible if we start to redefine our waste - it's not rubbish, it's resources; our resources and we should think twice before throwing them away.

As ever Green Drinks will begin with short talks from our expert conversationalists Karen and Jules, there will then be time for more general questions and discussions. Anything could come up (it usually does) but the conversations might include:

What would a Zero Waste town look like?
Would Karen's Wombling business work in Bungay - is it the next step beyond the Give and Take?
How could we work with companies like VC Cooke to reduce waste in Bungay?
How does closing the Beccles recycling site (albeit reprieved for 6 months) fit in with Suffolk County Councils recycling targets and how might the site fit in with our future plans?

As ever we look forward to seeing you tomorrow night (Josiah Meldrum)