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A five-metre high Christmas tree, made from 600 reused green plastic bottles, is being lit-up over the holiday period in Bognor Regis town centre, to highlight recycling. I thought I'd help spread the word, to those who aren't likely to venture into Bognor anytime soon.
Like me, Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, believes it's striking. "The tree is such a delight to see; it's a really impressive sight especially when it's dark and lit up," she says.
"But it does make you think just how many bottles aren't getting the chance to be recycled into something new. In West Sussex, residents are recycling 59% of their plastic bottles which is great, but 41% still end up in the bin."
Deborah says that an estimated 166 million plastic bottles were recycled in West Sussex this year, out of a possible 262 million.
It's really not good enough, is it, when one considers the reports about the volume of plastics found in our rivers and oceans, and that which has made its way into the fish we eat and the water we drink?
And of course, West Sussex is just a tiny area, isn't it? Just imagine how many bottles are not recycled when they could be, throughout the UK... throughout the world... This is the fourth year the tree will be on display, previously having graced Crawley and Horsham. I think it would be a good idea for other councils to erect Christmas trees like this - or even trees made from other recyclables and litter, to help bring the message home that we need to treasure our environment.
Christmas has changed a lot since I was little, when everything was on a far smaller scale... Nowadays, for many, it's a time for excess... giving more gifts than are needed, spending way over budget, buying silly amounts of food and drink. The main result of excess, is waste.
Cleanzine will be back on 4th January. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it's a good one. Over the break and beyond, please buy responsibly (you can't recycle metallic or glittery wrapping paper), recycle all you can, and if you find you have more than you need, please share with others or donate it to a food bank or charity shop. Someone will love you for it!
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14th December 2017