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Call to ‘Step It Up’ against climate change in Recycle Week

FAMILIES in Somerset are being urged by Somerset Waste Partnership to ‘Step It Up’ against climate change this week.

The call for residents to build on their growing recycling success is part of the 18th national annual Recycle Week which runs until Sunday.

A spokesperson for the waste partnership said: “Recycle Week will celebrate the county’s recycling achievements, promote the new services that help residents recycle more, and highlight the many ways we can all recycle, reuse or even reduce our waste.

“Recycling more is a way everyone can help fight climate change, as shown in the pioneering Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) annual Recycling Tracker report.

“The Recycling Tracker sets out how Somerset recycled or reused 137,000 tonnes of waste in 2020-21, the equivalent of more than 123,000 tonnes of carbon saved, or:

  • Taking 47,321 cars off the road for a year

  • Planting 738,216 trees

  • Cancelling 702 Boeing 747 flights between London and New York

“Showing where recycling goes is a key to encouraging people to recycle more, so the Recycling Tracker’s detailed breakdown of what happens to everything you recycle will be promoted throughout the week.”

Proud record

Somerset Waste Board chair, Cllr Sarah Dyke, added: “Somerset has a recycling record to be proud of, but we can be even better.

The challenge of climate can seem daunting and recycling as much as much as possible in one thing we can all do, every day to help.

The tracker does a great in showing where all our recycling goes, and that more than 97% stays in this country is a real achievement.”

The Recycling Tracker report tracks every tonne to the location and company of first use, whether in Somerset, elsewhere in the UK or anywhere overseas.

In 2020-21, 97.8% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK, including more than 50% that stayed in the county itself. An impressive 99.4% of the plastics we collected were recycled here in the UK, too.

Garden waste

All 39,432 tonnes of garden waste collected last year were composted in the county and turned into the Revive soil improver. The 22,542 tonnes of food waste recycled were all transformed into electricity and farm compost by the Somerset anaerobic digestion plant at Walpole near Bridgwater.

Somerset’s recycling rate of 52.4% puts in the top fifth of authorities for recycling, and 60% or more could be within reach with the new Recycle More collections. These are already underway in Mendip and South Somerset, will be rolled out in Taunton Deane in November, and reach Sedgemoor and West Somerset early in 2022.

Recycle More’s expanded recycling service is already collecting hundreds of tonnes of extra recycling in Mendip and South Somerset. So, another key Recycle Week message is that if you want to help tackle climate change, Recycle More.

Recycle Week comes ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow this November, and coincides with “Great Big Green Week” activities being organised in Frome, Ilminster and elsewhere in Somerset to tackle climate change.

Statistics released ahead of Recycle Week show that – like Somerset – the UK is becoming ever more environmentally aware, with nearly 90% of households regularly recycling and 93% saying that “everyone has a responsibility to help towards cleaning up the environment”.

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