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Can your group help Somerset save on waste?

By NickCaterSWP  |  Posted: September 26, 2012

Portion control: recycling is good, reuse better, waste reduction best of all

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 A few places are still left for green and community groups to come together to explore local projects and national initiatives at this weekend's free Somerset Waste Action Conference.


For your organisation to take part, contact recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk now.


Backed by Somerset Waste Partnership, the half-day conference on Saturday morning, 29 September, in Bridgwater will discuss how grassroots groups, from youth clubs to Women's Institutes and churches, can help their members and other local people discard less, reuse more and recycle the rest.


Already signed up for the conference are many different organisations united by the wish to prevent waste, from transition towns and parish councils to reuse charities, Freecycle networks and residents' associations.


To join these groups at the event, contact recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk now.


A new study into bulky waste has added to the evidence that much of what we throw away could be used again through recycling or, even better, reuse. The government-backed study from the Waste Resources Action Programme found that millions of items a year could avoid landfill or recycling.


It showed that up to 32% of bulky waste items, such as beds, sofas and TVs or wardrobes and carpets, could be reused as they were, and up to 51% needed only a minor repair.


And Somerset "composition analysis" – anonymised checks on what we chuck – show that we all throw away into landfill, via our refuse bins, shocking amounts of materials that could be recycled, reused or not wasted at all.


These range from around 16,000 tonnes of food and 6,000 tonnes of paper to 3,200 tonnes of cardboard, 2,500 tonnes of textiles, 2,000 tonnes of cans, and even 1,500 tonnes of compostable garden waste.


To be part of the conference, email recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk now.


As well as saving materials, making a small effort to cut back on refuse could save Somerset residents cash, from not spending more on landfill costs through council tax to the average £680 a year wasted by families with children on food thrown away.


These statistics back up Somerset's new waste prevention strategy and next year's Green Routine campaign, which will build on the success of 2011's shorter effort, in which hundreds of people across Somerset got involved to learn, share and take simple steps to cut waste.


The 2013 Green Routine will have month-by-month themes, allowing those interested to pick what is important to them or explore where they need help while swapping hints and tips on anything from packaging to smarter shopping for better value.


Organisations keen to attend the Somerset Waste Action Conference should contact recycle@somersetwaste.gov.uk now.



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