Kent and Surrey residents win recycling awards

Leslie_Chalk_House_comp.jpgMonday 17 November 2014

A recycling project running across 75 housing association managed schemes in England is rewarding high achieving residents who have embraced the project.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) funded project named ‘Waste It’s Mine – It’s Yours’ is run at schemes managed by Housing & Care 21, a national provider of sheltered and extra care social housing. The project aims to reduce waste, increase quality and quantity of recycling, and improve the environment and quality of life for residents. 

This year the project is recognising the residents and schemes that have done especially well in their recycling aims. The criteria for winning an award includes increasing the quality of recycling, reducing waste to landfill and composting food and garden waste.

Various categories of rewards were awarded. In phase one for dry recycling, Absalom Court in Gillingham won first prize, Leslie Chalk House in Ashford won second prize and Anne Figg Court in Rochester won third prize. Ebbage Court, in Woking, won first prize in phase two.

Project manager, Anthea Rossouw, said: “These schemes have embraced the project. The moment residents realised that improvement of their bin areas was in their hands, the sense of community around the project was inspiring. Their recycling improved dramatically, as the project also engaged the local authority. Furthermore by composting food waste, and recycling batteries and textiles on site, their waste to landfill has decreased significantly. I am honoured to be part of this project.”

Mark Allum, contracts manager at Housing & Care 21, said: “This project is about sustainability and helping the environment, but also about improving the lives of the residents who take part. It is socially engaging, saves money and improves quality of life. We’re so pleased the project is doing so well and hope we can reach out to even more people.”

Anthea Rossouw started the project eight years ago when she was a resident at a Housing & Care 21 scheme. After feeling dissatisfied with the amount of waste created and the impact it was having where she lived, she took action to develop the resident participative scheme. Since then, the project gained funding and spread to 75 different housing schemes, through workshops, empowering residents to take the lead and getting other organisations involved to help pioneer new recycling initiatives.

Besides improved recycling rates, so far ‘Waste It’s Mine – It’s Yours’ has saved 11 tonnes of composted food waste, three and a half tonnes of garden waste and shredded paper, three and a half tonnes of textiles and 500 kg of batteries from landfill. Defra will publish a final evaluation report of all the schemes in summer 2015.