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It was during a litter pick three years ago that Bromford customer Andrew Wood decided there had to be a better way of disposing of the empty drink’s cans and crisp packets that he would pick up on the way. Andrew Wood, founder of the Herefordshire recycling group

Shortly after the Herefordshire Community Recycling and Reuse Group was born and it now provides all types of items for people in the community. It recycles bottle tops, clothes, toys, and books and provides mattresses and other donated household items such as sofas, fridges, and microwaves to people who need them.

From humble beginnings, Andrew and his army of volunteers have teamed up with local schoolchildren and have an active Facebook community of more than 7,500 people, with most of them active participants.

“I can remember the first box of crisp packets I laid out to recycle in my living room, there were about 200 in total. Now we pack about 8,000 in every box and have just completed our 43rd box this calendar year so that gives you an idea of the way this thing has taken off,” the 63-year-old said.

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Andrew developed a passion for the environment during a decade working for what was then called Herefordshire Housing where his role was to improve the energy ratings and certification of its housing stock.

“I think my career in social hosing is definitely where my interest in environmental issues started and it led me into wanting to learn more about insulation and heat loss. Housing associations were very much at the forefront of the cavity loft insulation drive and led the private sector in many respects,” he explained.Some of the crisp packets the children are recycling

And now, to celebrate Plastic Free July, he is urging others to explore their green fingers and build relationships with others in the community.

Andrew added: “During the lockdown, it has been a great opportunity to get out into the fresh air and socialise and it’s a real community thing. There are so many of these groups right around the country now, but you can also start your own – you don’t need a smartphone, or even the internet to get started, you could just do something with your neighbour – it’s all about people and every little bit helps.

“Children understand so much more about green issues now than I ever did as a child and it has been an absolute pleasure working with the local school. I think if you give children a cause they believe in, it can be such a powerful thing and it suggests we’ve got a very bright future ahead of us.”

Check out the group’s Facebook page for further information. Or visit Plastic Free July on how you can get involved.

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