“My passion for recycling stems from my Dad’s ‘make do and mend’ motto.”

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Nina Lloyd-Jones, Liverpool City Council Staff Green Champion

Liverpool City Council has recently launched a staff Green Champions scheme to make sure the organisation is driving the Climate Change agenda from the inside. We hear from one Green Champion, Nina Lloyd-Jones, about how recycling can become part of your every day life.

As many of you will know, this week is Recycle Week, a national day that draws attention to the many options that people have to recycle our waste and reduce our negative impact on the environment.

I’m a great believer in recycling and I think this must have come across quite strongly in a recent meeting of Liverpool City Council’s staff Green Champions, as our Communications Team came straight to me when they were looking for someone to write this blog!

My motivation

My passion for recycling stems from my Dad and his ‘make do and mend’ motto. When I was growing up we threw very little away. What we couldn’t recycle in the way that you and I do today — via kerbside collections — he tended to find another use for. He was passionate about not wasting anything and that was a value he passed on to me. He made his own compost bin to recycle food scraps, grew his own veg (still does in fact), he and mum even made their own mattress for their first flat — he got the foam, mum stitched a cover. He was even known to rifle through skips so he could upcycle peoples’ unwanted furniture! I was absolutely mortified at the time but looking back I’m proud at how practical he was.

My recycling habits

Although I draw the line at the skips, I’ve found myself following in his footsteps in more ways than one. I grow my own veg in my little garden, including spaghetti squash, carrots, courgettes, garlic, green beans and potatoes. I have a water butt to collect rain water to reuse on my garden and I’m about to embark on composting… so wish me luck on that front.

I pick plastic bottles and wrappers out of Crosby Lake in Sefton, where I work in my spare time as a sailing and windsurf instructor. I recycle the vast majority of my household waste too. What I can’t dispose of via my blue Liverpool City Council recycle bin I take to the tip every week. This includes all hard plastics like mushroom boxes, shampoo bottles, cleaning products and tetra packs.

It’s not unusual for me to have a car boot full of cardboard — the big bulky stuff that won’t fit in your wheelie bin. If it gets wet and soggy it won’t be collected and recycled so in the boot it goes until I’m next passing the tip. I take the neighbours’ cardboard too.

I’m not embarrassed to say I pick recyclable bits out the general waste bins in work. Colleagues are often too distracted or simply don’t think about recycling so I will fish things out to pop in to the dry recycle bin. I’ve asked the council’s marketing team to make a poster for me to stick by the bins in my workplace so more of us are prompted to pop plastic bottles and cans in to the recycle bin.

I also do what I can to not purchase too many plastics. I go to a store in Aigburth, called Windmill Wholefoods, where I can fill up my old plastic bottles with fabric softener and washing up liquid. I take my Tupperware to buy loose pasta and lentils and I am the proud owner of a bamboo toothbrush!

I know what works for me won’t suit everyone and it’s all about small steps rather than giant leaps. So I’m not expecting you to go home tonight and start fashioning your own compost bin! But, can I ask one thing? Can you please just try to recycle one item this week that you would normally have popped in the bin? Or perhaps buy yourself a re-usable coffee cup? Or just look up the details of recycling facilities at your local ‘tip’ so you know what you can and can’t take there — I just want to plant that seed that there are more options available than you think.

Recycling has got to be as easy as possible for people if we want you to do it. It’s not that I think people are lazy, or don’t care about our planet as I know this isn’t true. But what we do all have is other pressures on our time. We have children to care for, parents to look after, pets, hobbies, exercise classes — not to mention our jobs! If we want to get council staff and residents to recycle more, we need to give you all the tools at your fingertips to do it.

I am really excited to be a Green Champion. Given the size of the council and the number of staff we have it’s a chance to make a real difference. Even if this blog leads to one person recycling your lunchtime can of coke then it will have made a positive difference!

Nina Lloyd-Jones, Customer Service Advisor, Liverpool City Council Contact Centre