Leighton campaigner's war against waste

Increase your recycling with Annie

GREEN campaigner Annie Taylor is going to war on waste and wants people to throw their weight behind her fight to make L eighton one of the country's first recognised recycling towns.

We're already nationally known for our support of Fairtrade and cycling but Annie, who is a member of the South Beds Friends of the Earth, wants everyone to increase the amount of rubbish they recycle.

This week a new recycling bin goes into Parson's Close in an effort to get people who work and visit the town centre to drop off their plastics and aluminium.

Annie, of Croxley Court, Leighton, also wants schoolchildren to support her recycling campaign by designing a poster that can be splashed around the area to publicise the town's effort to boost its green credentials.

She said that most people were unaware that all the rubbish they put into the town's litter bins went to landfill because it was not possible for the town council, which is in charge of emptying them, to separate the recyclables from waste.

Annie decided to do something about the issue by fundraising and campaigning.

She said: "We now have our first plastic and aluminium recycling centre in Parson's Close.

"Residents already recycle domestic waste very effectively. Yet going into the town centre for shopping, the school run or market day, the same residents drop their bottles and cans into litter bins, and the contents get sent off to landfill.

"It isn't the fault of the residents – they are disposing of their litter responsibly into the bins provided.

"It isn't the fault of the town council. The councillors would love to recycle the town centre's waste but the money simply doesn't exist for such a programme."

South Beds FoE applied for a grant to buy a recycling bank, with the enthusiastic approval of the town council, and the cash was used to buy the new bin, which has been billeted next to Pulford School.

Annie said: "We would love to have more centres – one directly in the town centre and one in Tiddenfoot Park would be ideal – but first we must see if we can galvanise our residents into using this one.

"The number of plastic bottles and drink cans on market days, around the school gate, in the playgrounds and left after sports games amounts to a staggering mountain of recyclable waste."

Annie is determined to make this new recycling bank work. For three years she lived in a small village in Ethiopia where nothing was thrown away and everything was recycled.

"If aluminium cans were brought into the village by foreign aid workers passing through," she remembers, "the children would transform them into perfectly sculpted little boats, complete with a chamber where metholated spirits could be added to push it across water. The villagers would be able to work wonders with the things we throw away."

Annie wants the town's shops to sort their waste and sent plastics and aluminium to the new bin in the park.

She is looking for volunteers to litter pick and send it to the bank.

She said: "We should also call on our children to help. They are taught about recycling in school and are very keen.

"A series of posters made by the children should be displayed in parks, especially playgrounds and sports facilities, reminding the public to use the recycling bins provided instead of using litter bins – or simply littering. Child art is an effective tool and we should utilise the children's enthusiasm.

"The really important thing is that our residents believe in recycling – especially the children – and that means that we're more than half way there.

"We're going to try very hard to initiate the actions that are necessary to make recycling in the town centre and parks as natural as recycling at home."