What do bread and butter pudding made from food scraps, a spatula for scraping mayonnaise from the bottom of a jar and an app selling cheap food near the end of its shelf life have in common?
They were all among the offerings available to visitors at The Acorn Community Centre, run by Wokingham Borough Council, for their Waste Action Day.
The community event on 12 July invited residents from across the borough to act to reduce their waste, with a range of stallholders on hand to inspire, answer questions and roll out new initiatives.
These included the council’s My Journey Wokingham team, who gave out free water bottles and information about active travel around the borough while showing off their smoothie bike Pedalicious. Next door was the WATCH Wokingham community group, who brought the nostalgia with a Wheel of Fortune inspired game - spin the bike wheel, then lift the flap to learn a fact about walking and cycling.
Pupils from Hawthorns Primary School in Woosehill explained their recent “green team” projects including an art exhibition made from objects destined for the bin, as well as entering an art competition alongside pupils from Windmill Primary School.
The Acorn Centre is home to the council’s adult social care provider Optalis. Their Focused Friends group highlighted how adults with learning difficulties are playing their part in the borough-wide recycling effort.
The SHARE Wokingham community project ran a café, offering tasters of dishes made from leftovers including bread and butter pudding and soup, and the council’s waste team gave out food waste caddies and tools to reduce waste like spaghetti measurers and spatulas for scraping out the bottom of jars.
Too Good To Go showcased their smartphone app which lets residents buy “magic bags” of food nearing the end of its shelf life for a lower price. Many businesses across the borough are already signed up including Costa Coffee, Greggs bakery, BP Marks and Spencer and independent cafés and restaurants.
Pledge to take action
Attendees could pledge to take a range of actions to reduce their impact on the environment and help tackle the climate emergency. Those who did entered a prize draw to win a £20 voucher for Maya’s Refillables, a zero-waste shop based in Wokingham town centre.
A vote was also taken to see what community recycling schemes people wanted to see at the Acorn centre, which will become a drop-off point for the Ali’s Recycling scheme. Ali arranges collections of hard to recycle items, such as toothpaste tubes, marigold gloves and coffee pods, which are then recycled through Terracycle, at the same time raising money for the local community.
The winning schemes and how to get involved will be announced soon on the Acorn Community Centre Facebook page.
In keeping with the spirit of the day, people were encouraged to walk or cycle there if possible.
We need everyone to play their part
“Climate change is already starting to affect us all, as demonstrated by the recent heatwave that saw us reach record temperatures”, said Councillor Sarah Kerr, executive member for climate emergency and resident services, who attended the event.
“As a council, we are doing our bit to make the borough carbon net-zero by taking measures such as retrofitting our buildings with sustainable features and ensuring that more climate-friendly infrastructure is in place, such as electric vehicle charging and active travel routes.
“We need everyone to play their part, and so events like this help to give the community the information, tools and inspiration they need to change their habits. I want to thank all of the community groups and organisations for supporting the event and providing lots of useful information to residents.”
Councillor Ian Shenton, executive member for environment, sport, and leisure, attended alongside Cllr Kerr. He added: “It is really important that we take a collective responsibility for climate change, so it is great to run events like this where people can have their questions answered and pick up information and tools to help them make better recycling decisions.”
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