Waste Reduction Ambitions in Denbighshire
It’s a great time to focus on waste reduction, with both Zero Waste Week which took place last week (2-6 September) and the 19th annual Recycling Week (20-26 September) happening this month. Both of these events highlight the importance and need for us all to play our part in reducing carbon emissions through reducing, reusing and recycling where we can. This year’s theme for the national Recycling Week is ‘Step It Up’. The urge is for everybody to step up their recycling habits and join the fight against climate change!
Waste accounted for 3% of the Council’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019/20 and 6% of UK GHG emissions in 2018. So, what can we all do? There are many small, simple behaviour changes each of us can do to make a big difference. Some areas to focus on are food and drink, plastic packaging and what you do with your clothes and textiles. Perhaps you can consider your current recycling habits and identify areas where you could do more, buy the fruit that isn’t wrapped in plastic or shop second hand to keep more in the circular economy and diverted from landfill. Our decisions in these areas can then have an impact on demand levels and help change these to a sustainable level for the planet.
As a Council, we are looking to reduce the carbon from our waste by at least 35% by 2030 against 2019/20 baseline to help reach our net carbon zero Council goal. We are looking at improving our waste model, along with other areas where we can do more, in order to achieve this goal and our statutory recycling target of 70% in 2045/5.
We have delivered several Welsh Government Circular Economy funded waste reduction projects aimed at repair and reuse activities in town centres already this year. These include the Reuse Hub Shop at Rhyl waste and recycling park which will help to prevent textiles, bric a brac, furniture and small electrical items from otherwise entering the waste stream and increase the number of items being re-used instead. Final touches to the Reuse Hub Shop are being completed in the coming months including permanent signage. You can already visit the shop and browse what’s on offer on Fridays and Saturdays (10.00-16.30) and Sundays (10.00-16.00). Card and cash payments are accepted.
The same funding source was also used to set up a textile repair partnership with Co-Options in Rhyl, where local residents are being upskilled to repair and prepare donated and kerbside captured textiles for resale. Funding was also used to refurbish and provide equipment required by town centre charity shops to aid their role in the diversion of waste and continue their contribution to the circular economy.
Our local schools are also playing their part in encouraging and education pupils on this important subject, in particular our Eco schools. Most recently, pupils from Christ the Word in Rhyl have been tackling single use plastic in their school community by challenging the amount used in sandwich lunch boxes and also encouraging people to refill plastic water bottles or switch to sturdy plastic drinks bottles. Christchurch CP in Rhyl worked with local organisation G2G to take discarded single use plastic, clean it, shred it and send it over to be created into new plastic items with their 3D printer and Ysgol Pen Barras in Ruthin have introduced new bins to collect empty crisp packets for recycling, avoiding hundreds from going to landfill. The Eco-Council at the school have also tightened up their food waste recycling by ensuring there are appropriate food bins in each department, which are emptied either into the compost bin, to feed worms in their wormery, or for the Council to collect weekly. Lastly, Ysgol Y Llys in Prestatyn held a recycling project for pupils to create a costume out of recycled materials and hold a fashion show at the school. Over 210 children came in amazing costumes made from textiles such as old curtains, food boxes, newspaper and bottle lids. It’s amazing what we can reuse when we’re creative!
Eco-Schools is run in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy and funded by the Welsh Government. For more information on the programme, please visit: www.keepwalestidy.cymru/eco-schools.
Further information about all the Council’s net carbon zero and ecologically positive programme work can be found on the website- www.denbighshire.gov.uk/climate-change and regular updates are made on social media.