Oxfordshire gets ready for Recycle Week

A scheme to help new parents dispose of nappies properly – from the moment they register their child’s birth – is one of several Oxfordshire initiatives being highlighted as part of Recycle Week.

As part of the annual nationwide campaign, which runs from 20 - 26 September, Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council West Oxfordshire District Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and Oxford City Council will be holding a series of green events – both online and in person, including fairs, markets, discussions and roadshows.

This year’s theme is ‘Step It Up’ and focuses on the climate and carbon implications of not recycling correctly, or even at all.

 Recycle Week events in Oxfordshire include:

  • Tuesday 21 September: Instagram Live Q&A with Oxford Recycles and Replenish Oxfordshire (8.30am - 9.30am)
  • Tuesday 21 September: Thame Market stall (9am - 1.30pm)
  • Tuesday 21 September: Oxford Brookes University Activist Fair (10am - 3pm)
  • Wednesday 22 September: Henley Eco Business Fair (10am-3pm)
  • Friday 24 September: Asda Wheatley Recycling roadshow (8am - 2pm)
  • Saturday 25 September: Faringdon Green Day (10am - 2pm)

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change Delivery and Environment, said: The climate emergency is finally at the forefront of the world’s attention, and Recycle Week is a great way of reminding us that lots of people making small, everyday changes can have a big impact on reducing our carbon emissions, as well as the way we use the Earth's resources.

“If we ‘Step It Up’ and recycle everything we can, Oxfordshire could reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by more than 60,000 tonnes every year – the same as taking nearly 40,000 new cars off the road.”

Oxfordshire has recorded the highest recycling and composting rate of any county in England for the last seven years – almost reaching 60 per cent last year – thanks to the great work being done by householders. But the aim is to improve that rate even further by encouraging people to keep what they dispose of in their rubbish bins to a minimum.

Councillor Lubna Arshad, Oxford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Parks and Waste Reduction, said: “This Recycle Week we want to encourage residents in Oxford to learn more about recycling and the impact making small changes can have on the climate. Working together with our partners we have organised a range of different events across the county, which will provide information and resources on what you can do to help reduce waste. I encourage anyone who is unsure about what can be recycled, or who wants to find out more to attend one of these events, or to take a look at our Oxford Recycles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram over the next week for lots of information.”

Recycling bins with incorrect items included, such as disposable nappies, can contaminate the whole load. If a truck load of recycling is rejected because of contamination, it increases the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by more than 12 tonnes.

To help combat this, Oxfordshire County Council is working with the registration service to provide new parents registering the birth of their child with a box of nappy sacks and a card with information to help them recycle correctly, pass items on, and keep disposable nappies out of the recycling bin. There is also help online for those interested in using real, reusable nappies.

Textiles and electrical items should also be kept out of recycling bins as they can get stuck in the machinery, causing tonnes of recycling to be wasted. In some cases, electrical items have even been known to cause fires, while food waste can also contaminate recyclable items.

Small electrical items which may only need a minor repair can be taken to one of six participating libraries. These are collected by local charities, tested, repaired and sold.

Any Oxfordshire residents unsure about how to, reuse, repair, refill, donate, recycle or dispose of an item should go to the Waste Wizard – the online tool which will help them decide which bin to use, where to take it, or how to avoid having to throw it away at all. More than 40,000 people have already searched for an item since it launched last year.

To make the week really shine, Christ Church, Oxford’s famous Tom Tower is expected to be lit up green during the evenings. This building is already illuminated at night, and the green lighting will use low-energy LED bulbs.

Last year Oxfordshire recycled:

  • 24,000 tonnes of food waste
  • more than 3,000 tonnes of textiles and small electrical items
  • more than 35,000 tonnes of plastic bottles, trays, paper, card, drinks cans and food tins.

However, plenty of these materials still end up in the general waste bins. The more that this can be avoided, the higher Oxfordshire’s recycling rate will go – as will all the associated benefits, such as cutting carbon emissions.

Follow Oxfordshire Recycles on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

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