The Community Recycling Champions scheme was started in July 2009 with the appointment of a scheme coordinator funded via the local strategic partnership. This funding was granted as a result of a bid by Cambridge City Council who wanted to engage directly with residents and communities to increase household recycling across the city and reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites. The project was also timed to coincide with the introduction of the blue recycling wheelie bins which appeared on the streets of Cambridge in November 2009.
The fact is that Recycling Champions can do as little or as much as they like. Everybody who signs up to be a champion is able to attend information workshops where they can learn more about recycling. They are also able to go on organised visits to recycling facilities such as the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) at Peterborough - this is where the blue bin recycling is taken and sorted - and the MBT (Mechanical Biological Treatment) plant just outside Cambridge. Champions also receive regular newsletters and other information keeping them up to date with events and other news about waste and recycling in the city.
In return champions are asked to do no more than pass on their knowledge to friends and family who may be struggling with their household recycling or may not be getting it quite right. Whilst individually people may think they can make little impact on the resources that are consumed (and wasted), collectively we can make a huge difference. If everybody recycles just a little more and wastes a little less, the cumulative effect can be quite significant.