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/ 18 March 2013

No paper, respect words!

No paper, respect words! That’s the mysterious message on traditional Chinese litter bins. We should respect God’s creation too.

Of course we must dispose of paper, and much else. But the holes in the ground aren’t big enough for everything we chuck out.

So the Central Barnet Deanery asked whether the government might pay for recycling from churches. Diocesan Synod agreed.

Some Councils collect from churches or charities, others don’t. They don’t have to – just from domestic premises. Unfortunately the government won’t pay – however they did set up an advisory service called NISP which has helped us find alternatives.

Now we have found a London company which provides an excellent collection and recycling service. This is called Paper Round. They collect and recycle pretty well anything (not just paper).

For more about waste and recycling and about Paper Round, see Waste collection and recycling. From there you can also download our handy information leaflet Waste not Want not, about waste and recycling (from the resources section at the foot of the page).

At the same time we wanted to get an idea of churches’ existing arrangements. The Archdeacon of Hampstead conducted a mini-survey of his parishes. Here are our findings about four local authorities:

  • Council 1 collects both general waste and garden waste. They appear inconsistent about charging. Re-cycling has to be taken by congregation members, back home or to a depot.
  • Council 2 doesn’t seem to have made up its mind! Some churches have been unable to secure any service. Others have been told that rubbish and recycling are free – but no receptacles are provided. But wait – it seems they do provide crates for some, and it’s still free. It would seem they also collect if you have your own bins. But not paper from the church, though they may take food and garden waste from the roadside!
  • Council 3 doesn’t charge for a church, but they may do for a hall. They are charging some for general waste and recycling. It helps to have a formal postal address for which you can apply to the Council (at a further charge).
  • Council 4 collects free – at least from a church. Or possibly a hall used for church purposes. But not if the hall is used for commercial purposes. Some articles have to go to a tip.

That’s four boroughs across the eighteen in the diocese – an interesting snapshot of the variations – a postcode lottery! In many places, congregation members are transferring waste to their own homes or to depots. Quite a headache!

Paper Round will pick up from the premises or the roadside. That costs about £18-19 + VAT for 22 bags in an 1100 litre wheelie bin (plus the cost of the bins). That’s more than some other private firms, but less than a Council would charge.

Where Paper Round score best is, they recycle everything on a zero to landfill basis, which is where we are all supposed to be heading. They are very willing to discuss individual circumstances.

We think this would be of benefit to many churches, as well as better stewardship and kinder to God’s creation!

About Brian Cuthbertson

Brian is the Head of Environment and Sustainability at the Diocese of London.

Read more from Brian Cuthbertson

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