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Bury St Edmunds waste campaigner Karen Cannard champions national Recycle Week

“2019. It’s been exciting. A year of change and action. People Power rising.

"A year to stand up for what you believe in and make a difference. The year we’re taking things into our own hands. The year we’re making a stand. The year we will empty, crush, squash. In our homes. In our organisations. Together. For the 79 per cent of plastic waste ever created that’s in the environment still. For future generations so there will still be animals in nature and fish in the sea.

"So you can look back on 2019 and say yes, it was me that joined the revolution, rolled my sleeves up and said I’m going to do something about this instead of sitting in bed watching sad videos of turtles with plastic around their necks. Your likes won’t save their lives. It’s in your hands now where the power lies. To tackle a problem that is growing in size.

Recycling Week graphic (17693991)
Recycling Week graphic (17693991)

"To do something about this real problem that even schoolkids are shouting about. More people are recycling now than ever before. Join them. Spread the word. That recycling’s not a chore. It’s a simple yet revolutionary act that can change the world. Recycle Week 2019. We’re taking it into our own hands. Are you?”

Those aren’t my words. They belong to Recycle Now, the UK campaign that encourages and helps people to recycle better – and it’s happening this week.

More specifically, those words form the narration to what I consider to be the most powerful campaign video Recycle Now has ever produced.

Search for Recycle Now on Facebook or on Twitter (accompanied by the hashtag #InOurOwnHands) and you’ll soon find the video. Please watch it. It’s only 92 seconds. That’s 92 seconds of dramatic spoken word, set against a background that includes images of climate-related destruction. But it’s not necessarily the images that make it ‘powerful’. For me, it’s the striking call to arms and the cry for us, as citizens, to take urgent action.

Recycling campaigner Karen Cannard(17693989)
Recycling campaigner Karen Cannard(17693989)

Taking recycling into our own hands!

So what does this really mean? I interpret it as a commitment to become even better at recycling. Obviously it is preferential to reduce our packaging and reuse things wherever possible, but at all other times we need to take even more responsibility for recycling better. That might mean overcoming confusion about what can be recycled by checking sites like www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk or www.recyclenow.com

It could mean thinking outside the box and recycling the lid off the pizza box even if the greasy bottom half has to go in the rubbish bin.

For some, it may even mean no longer tossing a yoghurt pots in the trash just because it hasn’t been rinsed out for recycling. Just rinse and recycle it instead.

Taking recycling into our own hands could also mean taking responsibility in the workplace.

Recycle Week happens to be the campaign for the end of September but I haven’t forgotten my personal pledge for September’s other campaign, Zero Waste Week, which took place at the start of the month. I pledged to reduce the plastic waste created by my gardening habits. I love my garden and each spring I indulge in more plants, plants that come in plastic pots, plastic pots that I then have to recycle or at best try to reuse. Cue research on propogation and attempts to take cuttings from a rather showy fuschia and hydrangea. Three weeks on and, incredibly, they appear to still be alive. In addition, viola seeds have been sown directly into existing hanging baskets and other seeds harvested from plants around the garden ready for next year.

If it works, this will be my own revolution.