Cllr Harwood with the Bin Twin Community certificate
Chelveston-cum-Caldecott is a small rural parish on the Northamptonshire / Bedfordshire border, and might be considered as rather insulated from the issues of waste management around the world! It all started in February 2022, when a resident rang, asking if his daughter could address the Parish Council on an environmental matter.
Community engagement is important for any council, and so in March, the meeting was addressed by its youngest ever public speaker, Emily, aged 8 (I'd altered the order of the standing agenda so she could get home in time for bed).
Emily spoke passionately about the environment and what future generations would inherit. She spoke of a charity that ran "Bin Twinning", highlighting waste management issues, with 7 schemes underway in different countries (Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda). The purpose is to highlight some of the lesser known social / environmental difficulties around the world (noting that the UK exports a considerable amount of its waste to such countries).
The Council agreed to twin 7 of its public bins (one for each of the above schemes), with each having a notice detailing the chosen scheme stuck to it. To bring these to the residents' attention, a special edition of the parish newsletter was issued, focused on the environment. This went out in May, advertising the formal launch of the Bin Twinning scheme, and inviting residents to a volunteer litter pick on 28th May, where they could hear more about the scheme over tea and cake. The Council provided the litter pick kits, both from its own stock and loaned from the NNC.
This was followed by a Nature Discovery Day on 24th July which attracted over 100 people to 5 different intergenerational events and activities. Subsequently the Council formally set up an Environmental working party to plan and organise a future environmental events for the parish, so as to promote environmental awareness and best practice.
St Johns church twinned their bins, as did a large number of our residents, so in September, we were notified that the parish was to become the first place in the UK to become an official 'Bin Twinning Community', with Lorraine Kingsley, the CEO of the Bin Twinning scheme, intending to visit in October to present the certificate.
To mark the event, an Autumn watch nature discovery day was organised on 22nd October. This included a live online chat with a partner project in Democratic Republic of Congo (Western Africa), the award of the certificate by Lorraine prior to a litter pick, and a local cheese and wine tasting in the evening.
Bin Twinning award before the litter pick