Changes in the way recycling is going to be delivered to
domestic properties brings a new challenge to Dennis and
the team at EnviroAbility. We contacted him to ask for his
thoughts on the way the changes are going to affect the
volunteers and workers that form the heart of EnviroAbility.
told us, 'First of all we will need to accept that the people
who have made this project such a success are going to miss
the 'fun' that has accompanied the hard work which has made
this project one of the most respected in the world.' Dennis
went on to remind us that the project went through two international
judging panels to be accepted and recognized as being in
the top 27 most exciting projects in the 'world.' He was
emphatic that whilst his name was on the award it was actually
the energies of a mixture of the volunteers and the public
that use the Blue Box scheme that got awarded the 'Beacon
Prize for England.'
recalled the days when he first moved into the area in 1993,
to manage a service for people with disabilities in an isolating
day centre for 'those people' at one end of the Town. He
recalls the funny looks he got when he shared his vision
of a future when people would be recognized for their ability
to lead by showing that 'doing' can be fun. Now, what was
an isolating Disability Centre is a thriving Community base,
providing an important venue for all sections of the community.
That is now history, however and Dennis added that we need
to look at the threats to our current position and develop
positive plans for the future.
said that a very definite danger is that people think that
it has been the Blue Boxes that made the difference. It
is a worrying time for the volunteers and their carers,
as for many this has been their first experience of being
recognized because of their contribution, rather than accepted
because of their disability. 'We know that our volunteers
benefit from having structured opportunities organized for
them,' said Dennis. 'It is understandable to hear people
are worrying about the withdrawal of opportunities for the
disabled, but it is good to hear the recognition of the
fact that it is the energy that this group bring to the
community that should not be wasted.'
said that all concerned should be proud of the support that
has been offered to ensure a positive future for all those
concerned and says that positive offers have been received
from all sections of the community. He told us that the
public will learn more of those and have the chance to join
in over the next few months as the ideas unfold.
need to look to the future,' said Dennis, 'but let's not
forget that many years ago it was EnviroAbility and it's
supported volunteers that led the way to kick start comprehensive
kerbside recycling. At the moment we see a gap of opportunities
that will exist as recycling moves onto co-mingled, for
most domestic households. Obviously we will always be around
to help look at backfilling any problems as the service
unfolds. But thanks to financial and practical support from
Herefordshire Council it is time for EnviroAbility to move
on to the new opportunities and the next challenges that
allow us to make the most of the energy and enthusiasm of
1. If we have a holistic look at healthy communities, we
recognize that without industry we don't have jobs. Which
is fine but all agree that industry needs to do their bit
for the protection of the environment. To be honest most
businesses agree but we recognize that there are limited
opportunities for them to get practical support to achieve
these objectives. They should be pleased to hear that in
a shared initiative with the Council, EnviroAbility intend
to bridge that gap and aim at offering a one stop service
to help them achieve the shared outcome of a healthier environment.
We will work up a comprehensive service starting in the
Ross area but envisage working with others to ensure that
this opportunity will role out and be available to all of
2. Both the volunteers and the public will miss the groups
turning up with a smile and a helping hand in most areas
of South Herefordshire. We understand that Textiles will
not be able to be managed in the commingled service. We
had a student on placement with us from the Bulmer's Foundation
who had an interest in textile recycling. She worked up
a project that looks practical and really exciting, thanks
Emma. It will not only enable people to continue to come
to villages to pick up from kerbside but it brings with
it loads of opportunities for all sections of the community.
It will offer a lot more than the current sell to the public
to make money and the rest off to rags. Each item will be
seen as a valuable resource and it may actually provide
a chance for someone that benefits from sensory activities
to seek out and save the buttons for reuse. Again we are
looking forward to working with others and we see no reason
why this should not spread and be offered to all the residence
3. If we are going to take up challenge 2 whilst we are
on your doorstep why don't we include other items, print
cartridges for example. We would love to hear of any other
suggestions that could get missed. We make no promises but
we are happy to consider your ideas.
4. Can we attract the involvement of enough people that
want to see things happen? Come on, think out of the box!
In care homes for the older population are there a few people
that would like to get involved in button recycling? Are
you already involved in voluntary work , perhaps because
the person has a disability, how about the pair of you getting
involved and sharing the contribution.
last comment was that we need to recognize what we refer
to as thinking out of the box is not a birth right, some
people like the idea but it doesn't come natural to them.
Dennis said he will be happy to meet individuals, small
or large groups to help them work up some ideas, as whilst
it may not be a birth right it is some thing we can get
better at with practice. He said that he has never met anyone
that honestly wants to get involved that he has not enabled.
Are you the same, as we need a team of enablers as well?
John Jarvis, Cabinet member for Environment and Strategic
Housing said, 'The announcement by Herefordshire Council
last week that the weekly collection is here to stay and
a fortnightly collection of CO-mingled recyclables will
start in autumn 2009 across the county has meant that the
excellent and popular 'blue box scheme' in it's present
form is not compatible with the new requirements. We have
been determined from the outset that the good work done
by EnviroAbility cannot be lost but must be built on. With
this in mind we are funding a review of options, in particular
regarding commercial waste. A successful pilot in the Ross
area will mean we can extend this scheme throughout Herefordshire.
Our blog has received many responses to our suggestions,
and the helpful articles in the local papers have brought
many ideas. This has shown how we can all work together
to get the best result for the people of Herefordshire.'