A model for Brookmans Park to follow?
A small village in Kent has found a way of dealing with household and garden waste while at the same time creating jobs, making money and improving the environment. Could there be some lessons here for Brookmans Park? Ed Wright reports.
Waste is becoming an increasing problem at both local and national levels. Landfill space in the UK is fast running out, leading to increases in Landfill Tax, the cost of which is passed on to local residents through ever-increasing council taxes. The other alternative, incineration, is unpopular because of fears over air pollution and the effects of pollutants, especially dioxins, on health.
Many councils, whose duty it is to collect and dispose of waste, have attempted (along with central government) to recycle more waste but with very little success. However a scheme in a little village in the Kent village of Wye might just provide an answer to the UK's waste problem. Apart from having a major benefit to the environment it has also created a number of jobs.
Wye is a small (approx. 2,500 inhabitants) picturesque village in the heart of rural Kent.
In 1989, WyeCycle was set up by Richard Boden - a student studying at Wye College, (part of the University of London, and situated in the centre of the village).
Members of the WyeCycle team collect a wide range of recyclable and re-usable items including paper, glass, cans, paint, cookers, sofas and garden waste. All waste is separated by residents into containers such as reusable plastic bags for garden waste, and plastic crates for tins, paper and glass. These are provided free of charge by WyeCycle. Residents fill them and leave them by the side of road ready for the weekly collection by tractor and trailer.
The material is transported to a processing plant (a disused quarry) on the outside of the village. Organic kitchen and garden material is composted on site, and sold back to residents.
The scheme's simplicity is the key for local residents, as they just leave waste outside their door, with no need to take everything to recycling centres (usually miles away!). This is particularly useful for the elderly and those who rely on public transport and means that there is no excuse for not recycling!
Disposing of garden material in this way reduces the need for bonfires, and residents have a cheap source of garden compost. Although industrial waste is not taken, cookers and the like are, which can only help to reduce the number of fly tipping incidents.
The success of the scheme has been so great that the local council only see the need to collect refuse once a fortnight (which has annoyed some of the residents), but does mean that the council can contribute financially to WyeCycle.
WyeCycle also run a monthly Saturday Swap Shop, where people leave unwanted (but perfectly good) items such furniture at the front of their house so that other residents can help themselves to the goods. If the weather is bad the village hall is used as an exchange centre.
The WyeCycle team also coordinate a farmers market in the village to help local farmers and producers (especially those producing organic goods). This has been a major success and has helped to draw people into the village (which has in turn benefited other local shops and businesses). It is well supported by the local community, and has become an important social gathering, attracting people of all ages from all walks of life (one of the only occasions in the village where the young and old mix). The market operates fortnightly.
Could something similar to this work in BP? Why not comment on this in a discussion on the issue in the Forum.
© Ed Wright - April 2002
Note: Ed Wright is a Brookmans Park resident and a former resident of Wye. He is a keen conservationist and is the Website Manager for the Aviation Environment Federation - a small Non-Governmental Organization that deals with the adverse environmental impacts of aviation. Ed is a fan of the WyeCycle project (but has no vested interest in it).
You can message Ed through the forum where you can also discuss the WyeCycle project.
For more information on WyeCycle visit