Friday, 7 October 2011

New Environmental Champions volunteer scheme take to the streets

A new Environmental Champions volunteer scheme encouraging students to dispose of their waste responsibly in their community has launched this week.

Kieran McCann launching the scheme

Supported by Cardiff Council,, Student Volunteering Cardiff (SVC) and Keep Cardiff Tidy; this partnership project has already received a lot of community interest with 64 students and local residents signing up at this week’s Student Volunteering Fair held at Cardiff University Students Union.

The scheme launched with a community door knock around Cathays and Roath by five groups of student and resident led volunteers as well as the Cardiff Council Waste Education & Enforcement team, Keep Cardiff Tidy, Cardiff University sabbatical officers and representatives from South Wales Police. The door knock was to remind students and other residents of their recycling and waste responsibilities, promote Tidy Text and give out tips on how and when they should present their bins and caddies.

Waste education

The response on the doorstep was very positive as many returning students were not yet aware of the new recycling service and were grateful for the advice from the teams.
Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Margaret Jones welcomed the initiative. “Students bring so much to Cardiff in terms of vibrancy and contribution to the economy. They are also valued members of the community and with that comes responsibility so this is an excellent and timely partnership given the introduction of the new weekly recycling collection service. I’m extremely pleased that the new environmental champions, drawn from students and local residents, are out there spreading the word and helping this important community adapt to the new service and help make Cardiff a green and sustainable city. A green, clean and sustainable environment should be everyone’s goal, it helps reduce crime and creates conditions for communities to thrive.”

Members of the community, students, police and waste help with the education drive
Kieran McCann, Student Liaison Officer for Cardiff Council emphasised the importance of such a scheme and the value of a having a mix of students and local residents volunteering to be Environmental Champions, he said, “If you’re presenting your waste incorrectly, there is potential of a £100 fine. No one wants to issue fines, no one wants to receive fines, what we want to do is help people, help the community out, help students and non-students alike understand their recycling and waste responsibilities. And it’s great to get a good mixture because then people get to understand they are living in a community. It’s also encouraging to get a good partnership working between a range of agencies.

“We’ve had the police out there today, local residents, councillors, students of course, Students Union reps and we’ve had Waste Management out there. It’s really important to make sure that people understand that it’s about community empowerment and engagement with your community.”

A Sabbatical Officer from Cardiff University, Sarah Halpin wanted to get involved and get out on the streets talking to students about local sustainability issues. She said, “it’s something we’re very passionate about and this is a big change in Cardiff affecting the students so we’re keen to get involved and make sure students knew what was coming and avoid any possible fines. Students have a notorious reputation, so anything we can do to improve that relationship between the Students Union and the community is really important.”

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