Rotarians from Henley-on-Thames took to the Market Place in the picturesque Oxfordshire town to encourage folk to be more ‘green’.
The members have been asking the community if they are really aware of what they can put in their ‘green’ recycling bins.
Many of them admit to being confused about what they can and can’t recycle and are grateful for additional advice being provided by Henley-on-Thames Rotary.
Under the catchy banner of “Rotary talks Rubbish” the club set up a display in the centre of town giving examples of items of household waste that can be recycled.
They explained the difference between materials which can go into the green bin and those that are not recyclable at the moment.
We realised that most people don’t know this and assumed the rubbish goes into landfill. So we decided to explain this as part of our service to the community.”
For residents of South Oxfordshire, the Rotarians provided a helpful guide showing which bin to use and what to do with bulkier waste items.
Explaining how this came about, Secretary Phil Fletcher said: “Last year we organised an outing to the Viridor Energy Recovery Facility at Ardley near Bicester.
“There, we learned that the waste collected in black bins is incinerated and generates enough electricity to power the equivalent of 60,000 homes.
“We realised that most people don’t know this and assumed the rubbish goes into landfill. So we decided to explain this as part of our service to the community.”
In preparation for this activity, the club invited the Recycling Officer from South Oxfordshire District Council to speak at one of their meetings.
She explained that the council recycles 63% of household waste and is in equal second place amongst English local authorities.
As well as diverting 95% of the ‘black bin’ waste from landfill to incineration, it also uses the food waste to create methane and generate electricity for another 4,500 homes.
She was able to answer detailed questions from Rotarians which helped them to prepare to meet the public and also introduced them to ‘Binzone’, a smartphone app that explains what to recycle.
The stand in the town centre has provided Rotary with some positive local publicity, but also posed a problem.
Club President, Peter Thomson, said: “Every local authority has a different recycling system, so we had to be careful to give out correct information.
“The first thing we did was ask members of the public whether they were ‘locals’ or not. If they were from South Oxfordshire we could continue with the explanation, otherwise we stopped talking ‘rubbish’ but were still able to explain what we were doing.
“Many people were interested to see this as an example of a Rotary community service and we hope it has helped with attracting new members.”
The club held the second of its “talking rubbish” session this past Saturday, and there are plans to hold a few more in the autumn once the summer tourist season is over.