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New statistics released to coincide with the 17th annual Recycle Week (which started on Monday) reveal that through lockdown the UK has become more environmentally aware with nearly nine in 10 households claiming to 'regularly' recycle, more of us are prepared to change our lifestyles to help the environment: 73%, up from 68% in 2019, while 93% agree that 'everyone has a responsibility to help towards cleaning up the environment'.
Yes, it is a responsibility we all share and I'm pleased that more of us are taking it seriously, although as I've said before, the real heroes are our recycling and waste workers who've been providing a great service under difficult circumstances. As WRAP UK's Peter Maddox says: "The recognition they received in the form of friendly waves, notes, cards and gifts left out for them is heart-warming proof of how the nation has pulled together." It's good that iconic landmarks across the country are lit up green or carrying the Recycle Now 'swoosh' this week and that councils, businesses and other organisations are joining in with activities to highlight the importance of recycling.
And while I'd happily sack everyone from Surrey County Council's Highways Department for the state of our roads - it's not just potholes but the badly repaired (many times over) uneven surfaces which cause my house to shake when large vehicles rumble over them - I have to commend Surrey Environment Partnership's communications & engagement team. Bringing together the Council and the county's 11 local councils to manage Surrey's waste, the team has joined our local social media groups and, through posting information and advice, has promoted discussion. Yes - the team has taken enormous stick from those of us (well who isn't?) concerned about the increase in fly-tipping since the hugely frustrating cuts in opening times and days we can access our recycling centres, but it's listened and engaged with us. It has answered our questions about what can be recycled and where and it's explained how the system works and why. Group members are even sharing tips on how they're making good use of things most of us would throw away (my tip for fixing Prosecco corks to the tops of vegetable plant support sticks to save facial/eye injury on the sharp sticks, went down very well and others' ideas have led to sharing/swapping of items that were about to be dumped). More of this type of initiative please - it works!
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24th September 2020