On the evening of Thursday 12th March local residents of Hook Norton attended our first open meeting of the year, hosted as per usual at the Malthouse Kitchen inside the brewery.

Perhaps swayed by the promise of discounted beer, about 40 local residents of all ages and backgrounds attended the meeting which was focused on Waste & Recycling within Hook Norton and how we can better manage this. The audience was entertained with talks from four different speakers sharing their particular expertise in the field of Recyling.

Local resident Peter Skelton from WRAP (Waste Resource & Action Programme) started the night off giving us some some interesting national figures and indicated the various areas of waste reduction, which a local action group would need to look at and prioritise. The UK produces around 6.2 million tonnes of packaging waste every year, and around 1.6m T of that is plastic. We also produce around 6.6million tonnes of food and drink waste every year, which equates to 12.2m TCO2e. Preventing food and drink waste could therefore be an action to focus on based on the best carbon savings. Packaging and barriers to recycling were also discussed, along with ways to get the message out to the community

Peter was followed by Ian Upstone from Cherwell District Council gave us some very interesting local facts and figures about our current landfill and recycling collections and confirmed that CDC would be able to provide figures so that we can measure the success of a local waste reduction campaign. He explained some of the problems with recycling, such as contamination, which is currently around 11.2%, and is mostly due to nappies and unwashed cans being placed in blue bins

Following Ian was Dan Ludlow from Nothing But Footprints (www.refillnotlandfill.co.uk) who spoke about his passion for a zero waste society, which led to the opening of his shop in Banbury, which supplies ethical products for the home from bamboo toothbrushes to shampoo bars, beeswax wraps and coconut scourers! You can get your containers refilled with various items such as cereals, pastas, herbs, nuts etc. Dan’s shop, Nothing But Footprints is in the Castle Quay shopping centre opposite Body Care. Dan agreed with Peters opinion that plastic is not necessarily an evil product as there would be more food waste without it, but we need to minimise its use and recycle it properly.

Finally Carol Housby spoke about her local recycling initiative, which came about as a result of her search for companies who would recycle items that CDC can’t at the moment. More and more companies are sponsoring the recycling of their packaging through businesses like Terracycle (https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/), who have programmes for recycling things like crisp packets, sweet and chocolate bar wrappings, sliced bread wrappings, and biros/pens/markers. Carol has a collection bins outside her house on the High Street and sorts the items before taking them to the drop off point in Banbury. Unfortunately at the time or writing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic carol has had to put her initiative on hold but assures us that she will be back up and running when normal life resumes.

Our chairman, Frank Lucas, then led the discussion on the floor which outlined the need to get the message out to the wider community, specifically ensuring that the younger generation isn’t missed. A small action group was established with local residents and anyone that feels they may be able to add to this is very welcome to get in contact – info@hn-lc.org.uk.

All in all an interesting evening and many lessons learned!

Once society returns to some form of normality we will be running regular open meetings throughout the year with various different subjects and speakers – and of course subsidised beer!

TOP TIPS /IDEAS for tackling waste and recycling.

Make soup with scruffy and left over veg. It can be frozen until you are ready to use it.

Make sure your recycling items are clean or they won’t get recycled.

Make sure the WHOLE family knows what can and can’t be recycled

An easy way to transport multiple refill containers to Nothing But Footprints is to use wheely cases.

Restore skips regularly for village use

Review which waste streams are best–what can we do best at?

Buy products that can be re-filled,and buy loose fruit/veg.

Recycle used printer cartridges by placing them in the box just inside the door of St Peter’s Church.

Start a swishing party where everyone brings 5 items of clothing and swaps them for others–no money exchanged.

Buy in bulk

Shop in Co-op

Upcycle your clothes-get creative

Use diluted washing up liquid for your kitchen spray–re-use the spray bottle

Make sure you know what can be recycled and where–kerbside bin collections & local collection points.

Reduce plastic by using shampoo bars and conditioner bars.

Buy packaging-free products.

Open all packaging with a view to re-using it.

Make do mend.

A stitch in time saves 9

Recycle dental products (toothpaste tubes, & brushes) at the dentists.

To prevent a lemon going to waste when you’ve cut it–slice it, freeze the slices, freeze them and then use them in your Gin & Tonic.

Some plastic bags can be washed, dried and used many times.

Switch off your car engine when stationary.

Buy fruit and veg loose from the Hooky village shop.

Reduce plastic–use glass containers for food storage and paper pots for plants.

Body Shop accepts back and recycles their packaging.

Take your own super light mesh bags for loose produce–you can use them over and over again.

If plastic scrunches up it isn’t recyclable unless it reforms again.

Key upcoming dates for waste and recycling

18 July 2020–Beer Festival (TBC)

August 2020–CDC planned focus on tackling food waste

3rdweek of Sept 2020–Recycling Week

26 Sept 2020–Hook Norton Apple day (TBC)

Hook Norton Low Carbon Ltd.