Sheltered residents go green to reduce waste

Residents of a sheltered housing scheme in Woking have embarked on a recycling initiative that will have a significant impact on the amount of waste they send to landfill and to address the impact of decaying food waste in their bin rooms.

Ebbage Court is the latest Housing 21 housing scheme to recycle food waste through a Green Johanna composting system. The system converts both garden and all food waste, including meat and bones, into high-grade compost, which will then be used in the court’s communal garden.

The residents launched the project at Ebbage Court last Friday at the first of a series of fun and interactive resident engagement workshops called ‘Waste, it's Mine it's Yours”. The project will roll out at 20 Courts across Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire and was developed and trialed by independent social engagement practitioner and green champion, Anthea Rossouw of ARA-UK. The initiative won her the Gatwick Diamond Green Champion award in 2011

Mark Allum, Contracts Manager for Housing 21 said: “The great thing about this system is that residents get to take part and share in something that benefits them all. Any nasty smells associated with food waste are eliminated, the resulting compost is a fantastic quality that can be used in the garden and they are also doing their bit for the environment too.”

It is hoped that the initiative at Ebbage Court will emulate the successful outcomes of  the trials run at  nine other Housing 21 housing schemes in Sussex, where the reduction in waste going to landfill has been halved through residents getting involved in managing and improving waste services. This success recently led to Housing 21 being granted funding of £58,000 through the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to introduce or trial new schemes that reward and recognises people or communities for adopting positive behaviours towards managing their waste.

Housing 21 is working in partnership with the University of Brighton, AmicusHorizon and Great Green Systems on the rollout of the scheme. Says Anthea Rossouw, of ARA-UK who is managing the project: “I am elated at the opportunity to harness the skills and knowledge of the project team and to join the residents of Ebbage Court in blazing a trail to improve their waste services".