Saturday, 04 July 2020

Mother wants to create generation of recyclers

Mother wants to create generation of recyclers

A WOMAN is encouraging children to follow her example and cut down on their plastic waste.

Mitali Kelly, of East Park Farm Drive, Charvil, decided to try to reduce the amount of plastic she both buys and uses as a New Year’s resolution.

The mother of two began buying plastic-free products and started researching different ways to recycle.

Now she is to hold a collection day where residents and their children can bring along their plastic waste to be recycled and learn about the effects of plastic on the environment.

Mrs Kelly, 42, says that while public awareness of the ecological damage caused by plastic has increased, many children are not sure how and what to recycle.

“Children need to change the way we recycle,” she said. “People still put things in landfill because they don’t know any different.

“I’ve been buying and trying various non-plastic products, such as shampoo bars and eco-egg clothes wash. These products tend to be more expensive but the eco-eggs not only save me carrying large heavy bottles back home from the supermarket, they also save me money.”

Mrs Kelly, a finance consultant, said she was talking to a friend about her goal to reduce her plastic use when they came up with the idea of turning it into community event.

The collection day will be held at Neville Hall in Waltham St Lawrence from noon to 4pm on Easter Monday (April 22).

People can drop off their plastic waste to be collected and recycled or re-used. There will be a prize for the person who brings the most plastic as well as goody bags and educational materials for children.

During her research, Mrs Kelly learned about TerraCycle, a company which offers free recycling programmes funded by brands and businesses around the world to help collect and recycle hard-to-recycle waste. It also organises drop-off points for waste across the country.

She said: “They work with big companies like Walkers and Pepsico. We’ll be collecting 16 different types of plastic that would usually end up in landfill, which will be sent to TerraCycle to recycle.

“Plastic waste that can be recycled includes crisp packets, biscuits wrappers, coffee capsules, pens, baby food packaging, bread packets, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

“These typically go into landfill as the awareness we can recycle these sorts of things is very low. We need to get the information out there.

“It’s not convenient to do it so we are trying to make it more so and working with local schools to see if they will become public drop-off points.”

Mrs Kelly said she hoped lots of residents would attend her collection day.

She said: “It’s Earth Day on April 22 so that’s a nice link and it’s during the Easter holidays so I know I’ll be going for picnics with my children and we can collect crisp packets through the holidays.

“The people that donate the most will get prizes from local businesses. We are going to have weighing scales and goody bags for all the children.

“There is an educational aspect as children can make posters and do colouring. It’s aimed at primary-school aged children. We will also show people how simple it is to reduce plastic waste by making a few simple changes to their buying choices. They will also be able to buy a range of non-plastic, eco and upcycled products.

“With parents often looking for something to occupy their children during the Easter holidays, this is a great project for them to work on while educating the next generation of shoppers to make better choices.”

Each child will receive a pencil made from recycled newspapers and the child who has collected the most plastic will win an eco goody bag, which includes a £135 stainless steel gravity water filter donated by Doulton Water Filters.

Mrs Kelly’s children, Aidan, eight, and Priya Kelly, six, who attend Robert Piggott junior and infant schools, have shown an interest in the environment.

She said: “Aidan got very upset in the aquarium when he learnt how much plastic is in the ocean so he has made me more aware and has been asking us what to do to cut down.

“He is now very aware of using plastic and challenges all our consumer choices.

“Priya noticed that supermarkets in France and Switzerland, where we lived for two years, had fruit and vegetables not in plastic packaging and doesn’t like that supermarkets here have too much plastic wrapping so we now only buy from places where the plastic packaging is reduced.

“She also uses recycling to do her arts and crafts.

“We’ve all found it really complicated to understand what we can recycle via the council or TerraCycle so our mission is to try to make it simpler to understand.

“We want to raise awareness that you can recycle more.”

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