When Hannah and Danny Iwanejko had finally had enough of their community council’s “rubbish” green waste procedures, the eco-warriors took it upon themselves to set up their own free recycling center right in their driveway.
Since the English couple first built their green waste hub out of recycled wood and metal last month, they have saved almost 2,000 pounds of recyclable plastic and materials from ending up in a landfill.
The family accepts all manner of items including crisp and cracker packets, contact lenses, Tetra Pak packaging, coffee pods, and baby food pouches.
Hannah then drives the waste to specialized recycling sites that are within a 10-mile radius of their English home in Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire.
From there, the materials are turned into small plastic pellets that can be used to make items such as outdoor furniture, trays, roofing, and flooring.
Much of the processing is handled by Terracycle: a recycling company that focuses on hard-to-recycle items—and since their recycling programs are all funded by companies and manufacturers, the recycling schemes are all free for the public to use.
Hannah and Danny, both of whom are 36-year-old maintenance engineers, came up with the idea after watching the BBC’s Planet Earth series.
“The moment I decided to do something myself was [my daughter’s] first birthday in August,” says Hannah. “I saw what was going on in the Amazon and the war on plastic and David Attenborough’s programs. So I thought: ‘Hang on a second, I can do my bit. I need a central point where people can easily recycle.’
“My husband really likes building stuff so he made the recycling hub out of scrap material,” she continued. “It barely cost us anything. It’s a small village so I’ve only just made my first 30-minute trip to the recycling bins at the leisure center.
“It was just meant for the community—but now people are coming with their waste from outside the village and people from all over are contacting me asking how to do it themselves.”
When reporters asked Hannah why she disapproved of the local recycling procedures, she said: “The problem is there is no consistency across the council. One council says you can recycle this, this, this, and this. Another council says you can recycle this, this, this, and this.
“However, it is all recycled by the same people—yet one bin allows something and
another doesn’t. Why is it not across the board?
“Why aren’t we creating consistency and ease for people to do this all the time?
“It is so frustrating that the council won’t take tetra, crisp packets and bread bags. People want to recycle, but the council is not making it easy for us. There is so much bureaucracy and red tape in the way.
“I don’t know what it will take for them to do something about it. The councils send rubbish to the same place.”
Hannah and Danny are now appealing for Newark and Sherwood District Council to improve the recycling facilities in order to prevent more complex materials from being sent landfill.
(WATCH the interview below)
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