Devon’s recycling heroes celebrated at the Recycle Devon Thank You awards

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Friday, January 31, 2014 - 4:32pm

Devon’s super recyclers are being recognised in a special ceremony to thank them for their hard work in helping to protect Devon’s environment.

This will be the second year of the Recycle Devon Thank You awards which last year marked the 10 year anniversary of the Don’t Let Devon go to waste campaign.

Devon enjoys a recycling rate of 55% (2011/12) making it one of the highest recycling counties in the country. To celebrate and thank the residents of Devon, Recycle Devon is hosting the special event.

Chairman of the Devon Authorities Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee, Councillor Mel Lucas says; ‘The Recycling Thank You awards were created to recognise the unsung recycling heroes across the county. We wanted to say a special Thank You for everything that they do to ensure that Devon does not go to waste. They have not let us down and we have been truly amazed at the enthusiasm and unselfish efforts, that all our winners go to reduce, reuse and recycle. On behalf of the Devon Authorities Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee and personally, I would like to say thank you to you all. You are all winners!’

Councillor Lucas was also able to announce the launch of a new ‘Innovation Fund’. The £4,000 fund has been designed to stimulate innovation and creativity for Devon wide initiatives. It aims to seed and support schemes at community level leading to reduced waste, improved recycling performance or greater participation and awareness of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle).

The fund is available to all and applications for the fund must be received by 28th February 2014.

To help host proceedings, Heart Radio’s Matt and Caroline from the breakfast show presented the awards

There were nine categories which people could be nominated for:

. Your Recycling Hero (Friend, Family Member, Neighbour or Local Recycling Champion)

. School Recycling Hero (Child)

. School Recycling Hero (Adult)

. Community Group Recycling Hero

. Collection Crew/Operative (Recycling, Garden, Food or Refuse Collector(s))

. Street Cleansers

. Recycling Centre operative/site staff

. Small Business Champion

. Special Award for Innovation

Category: School Recycling Hero (Child)

Runner up – Graham Spry, Broadclyst
Graham takes an active role in School “putting the bins out” on a Friday and ensuring all recyclables are in the right place ready for collection. He does this with two of his friends during his break time. Graham now 12 (along with sisters Emily & Rose) is also actively involved with Caddihoe Scout Campsite, near Broadclyst, as an assistant warden where since the age of 5 has helped to minimise landfill waste and ensure recycling is sorted and put out each week.

Category Winner: Daniel Salter, Forches Cross Primary School Barnstaple – formerly attended Holsworthy Primary School
Daniel has been described as a fantastic member of the School! Without fail, he goes to the Eco co-ordinator every day to ask if there are any outstanding jobs that need doing. Daniel takes responsibility for the eco-notice board and has enrolled some younger eco-councillors to help him. He shows them how to gather and display information so that the rest of the school can see how well the school is doing with its Green Flag work. Daniel is never short of new ideas to make the School even more eco-friendly and he keeps everyone in School on their toes, including the adults!

Category: School Recycling Hero (Adult)

Runner up – Nigel Rowtcliffe, Great Torrington School
Nigel tirelessly and cheerfully keeps track of all the recycling at the School. He acquired recycling bins for the School and set up a recycling centre for Cardboard, Plastic, Paper, Tins and Glass. He is always on the case and proactive in passing on his recycling advice. Because of this the School only produces three small wheelie bins of non-recyclable waste per week.

Runner up – Emma Goodwin, Okehampton Primary School
Emma started a litter pick at School with the community and the Mayor of Okehampton involved. Children and their parents, on designated days, went out around the community collecting other peoples dropped waste. There have been two very successful litter pick days so far in which they collected piles of litter which was mostly recycled. Emma has also got the children in the school involved in an anti-plastic bag campaign where the children have made posters which were displayed in the local Waitrose.

Category Winner: George Tribe, Bratton Fleming Community Primary School
George has worked as a caretaker at the School for the last 21 years. He has lived in the village all his life and he cares very passionately about it. He has reduced his working hours at the school as he is 85 years old, but he still comes into school every morning without fail. He opens up the school for all the staff and then spends an hour or so sorting out the school recycling and food bins ensuring everything is put into its correct place. He is real trouper and the children love him being part of the staff. George’s dedication sends out a fantastic message to the children about how vitally important it is to recycle! After doing his work, he has a mug of tea in the staffroom and then goes on his way.

Category: Collection Crew/Operative (Recycling, Garden, Food or Refuse Collector(s))

Runner up – Andy Clements, SITA Woodbury Salterton
Andy is a Recycling Collector for SITA who provide recycling collections for households in East Devon. Not only does he do an excellent job but he also takes his work home with him! He has taught his youngest child Korey what to recycle and which bin it should go into to. Korey is now a handy little helper for Mum and is a Recycling Collector in the making.

Runner up – The Recycling Collection Team, Mid Devon District Council
In Mid Devon, recycling boxes are hand sorted at the kerbside onto the lorry. This is very hard physical work that most people do not appreciate. In summer and soaring temperatures the Recycling Team get stung by wasps who are either attracted by the fluorescent yellow uniforms or bean juice spilt on them from tin cans or even worse cat food tins. In the winter it’s the opposite and despite the protective clothing hands are usually freezing cold, wet and stiff by the end of the day. Despite this the Recycling Teams are dedicated to what they do, always happy and do a fantastic job.

Category Winner: Dean Mallon, Otter Rotters
Dean has had a troubled background and has struggled with serious issues for many years which have left him unable to work. This year Dean took a very brave step and approached Otter Rotters offering to volunteer. His confidence was none existent and despite being terrified he started to volunteer on the garden waste scheme rounds. This was challenging for him but he has driven himself to address and overcome his issues. Dean is so committed that he purchased his own safety work wear and paid for physiotherapy so he can be more productive whilst doing this physical job. The improvement in Dean’s well-being is visible and so is his pride at serving the community. His ultimate aim is to get paid employment and he has been doing everything he can to earn a reputation for being hard working and dependable. Furthermore Dean’s interaction and team work with his learning disabled co-workers has made him worthy of recognition – he has done himself, Otter Rotters and the community proud.

Category: Street Cleansers

Category Winner: Mike Hollyer, Cleansing Operative, Exeter City Council
Mike was the first operative to pilot the Exeter Looking Good regime in Heavitree, Exeter.
He takes pride in his work and is building a really good rapport with the community that he serves.

Category: Recycling Centre Operative/Site staff

Runner up – Mark Marvelley, Seven Brethren Recycling Centre, Barnstaple
Mark has been described as a polite, helpful, hard working and happy young man. He is cheerful to the customers regardless of their age or the weather and is well liked by many of the regular customers

Runner up – Proper Job Recycling Centre and Shop, Chagford
The staff at Proper Job have been described as always friendly, welcoming and helpful and the Recycling Centre and Shop as the best ever visited. It’s a great place to find the things that other recycling centres often can’t keep to resell like bits of wood, paint and soft furnishings. If you are after something in particular they’ll always show you where to look.

Category Winner: Tom Clark, Seven Brethren Recycling Centre, Barnstaple
Tom has been described as hard working, always polite, courteous and extremely helpful. He is a pleasure to deal with and makes weekly trips to the recycling centre a pleasure as opposed to a chore and he always has a smile on his face.

Category: Your Recycling Hero (Friend, Family Member, Neighbour or Local Recycling Champion)

Runner up – David Wayne, Buckerell Recycling Scheme
David Wayne has been the driving force behind a village wide plastics and tetrapak recycling scheme in Buckerell for the last five years. Buckerell Parish Council quickly saw the benefits of this service and adopted the scheme with a small amount of financial support to cover the cost of fuel. The scheme has gone from strength to strength and over 200 dumpy bags of plastics and tetrapaks have been collected and taken to the Recycling Centre for recycling. This has potentially saved 1500 individual return journeys by villagers and has positively encouraged many in the village to recycle who otherwise may not have done so before.

Runner up – Jerry Nightingale, Bike Repair Workshop, Her Majesty’s Prison Channings Wood
Jerry has played a major role in getting the bikes that have been thrown away at Torbay’s Recycling Centre, refurbished and back on the streets like new – or even better than new in some cases! Jerry runs the bike workshop in Channings Wood and is responsible for sorting the good from the bad – both bikes and prison workers! He teaches prisoners real life skills that they can take with them once they leave prison. He is a real ambassador for recycling and passes on the recycling message by attaching handwritten messages to each ‘New to You’ bike. The message tells the new owner the history of the bike and how it got to them.

Category Winner: Jeff Brown, Aliway Scrapstore, Paignton
Jeff used to be a service user at Hollacombe Community Resource Centre in Paignton but ceased to meet the criteria and could no longer attend the centre. He was always involved with the Aliway Scrapstore based at the centre, so when he left, he decided that he would come in for two days a week under his own steam and volunteer to run the store. He has done this for the last two years and has been a real asset to the store who would struggle to open some days, without his presence.

Category: Community Group Recycling Hero

Runner up – Steffi Rox, Nice Mums Devon
Steffi runs the Nice Mums Devon Recycling Collection. She collects packaging for recycling like baby wipe packets and biscuits wrappers and has set up recycling collection points across Torbay. Money raised from the recycling scheme is donated to worthy causes such as the Torbay special care baby unit and Send a Cow charity.

Runner up – Anne Tucker, Sustainable Crediton’s Waste Action Group
Anne is responsible for organising household waste plastic collections in Crediton for the past two years. It hasn’t always been plain sailing but after relocating to a new site there is now a bi-monthly collection at a regular venue by the Leisure Centre. An average of 40 builders dumpy bags of plastics are collected and passed to Peninsular Waste Services for recycling (11 collections in all and over 7 tonnes of plastic has been saved from landfill so far). Anne is devoted to plastics recycling and has recently given talks to other community groups about how to set up their own scheme and a video has been produced and uploaded to YouTube.

Category Winner: Dave Coles, Arena Park Green Group
Dave, a local resident and Chair of Arena Park Green Group is proactive about resolving problems for the whole community. Arena Park Estate in Exeter had a lot of problems with fly tipping of garden waste. Dave formed a Green Group from like-minded residents and collectively they now manage a community composting site for all residents to use. There have been no reported instances of fly tipping and the compost generated is freely given back to the residents. Under Dave’s leadership, the group are planning to encourage residents to compost their kitchen waste and are providing kitchen caddies to households who wish to participate. The group also hope to inspire local children to dispose of waste appropriately to help reduce waste going to landfill and carbon gases.

Now onto a new category for this year:

Category: Small Business Champion

Category Winner: Steve Clarke, Used 2 Bee, Torquay
Steve and his wife Jo have been running Used 2 Bee since the 90s, well before recycling was popular! They sell recycled products and upcycled items from their premises in Torquay and by mail order. With vintage becoming more and more popular, they are really coming into their own. Steve and Jo are both very creative people and make some wonderful products themselves, using ‘rubbish’. Steve really should receive a lifetime achievement award, but he is far too young!

The judges decided that the following nomination was unique and particularly innovative and therefore deserves a special award:

Category: Special Award for Innovation

Category Winner: Geoff Read, Devon and Cornwall Food Association (DCFA)
For the last three years the DCFA has been redistributing waste but in-date food from landfill to communities that can make use of it. From rice, flour and tinned food to Christmas turkeys, pheasants and pâté! The DCFA has now ‘recycled’ over 100 tonnes of food and saved communities over £185,000. Geoff who is the company secretary and his team have worked tirelessly to promote this service which now supports over 90 local charities and works with a list of local suppliers that is growing all the time. Geoff also supports the DCFA volunteers through skills training and in promoting the message that food is a valuable commodity that should be recycled and not landfilled. Working in Plymouth and Exeter, the DCFA is currently developing a hub in Bodmin and looking towards expanding its services if a current funding bid is successful.

Category: Recycling Hero for Devon

Winner: Dean Mallon

The shortlisted candidates from each category received a recycled glass trophy and there was a special prize and trophy for the overall winner.

1990/91 Devon’s recycling rate was just 2%. The partnership aims to increase Devon’s recycling and composting rate to 60% by 2015 and 65% by 2025.

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