Residents in the Warwick district can now help fight the war on plastic while helping the Guide Dogs charity at the same time.
The team at the Guide Dogs Midlands Regional Centre in Leamington recently signed up to a recycling scheme with TerraCycle to recycle crisp packets and pet food packets.
Current household recycling facilities do not accept the packets but residents can drop off their empty packets, where they will not only recycle but they will also earn money for the Guide Dogs.
Hazel Walker, business support co-ordinator at the Guide Dogs Midlands Regional Centre, put forward the idea of recycling the crisp and dog food packets.
She said: “I saw and advert on TV about Walkers advertising a new scheme with TerraCycle, who do a lot of recycling. I looked into it to see if it was something we could do.
“How the scheme works is that we collect the wrappers and send them to TerraCycle and you get points that then go towards donations for us.
“So we are now collecting flexible plastic packets from wet and dry pet food, treat packets and any branded crisp packets as well as the crisp multipack packaging.
“We have got a bin here in our reception for the packets but we soon might need a bigger bin because it is getting full quite regularly. I have also put a collection bin in our staff areas too so that if they have crisps for lunch they can the recycle the packet afterwards.”
The team at the Guide Dogs first announced they signed up to the recycling scheme on social media last week and since then it has attracted widespread attention.
Hazel said: “We posted on our social media sites and it started going viral. It is great that the scheme has taken off so quickly.
“The Guide Dogs in Wales shared it and we have had enquires from people from across the UK including in Wiltshire, Staffordshire and Torquay. But at the moment it is just set up locally in Leamington.”
This is the first recycling scheme at the centre, which is open to the public, but the centre does try to recycle as much as possible.
Hazel said: “We don’t have any other recycling schemes open to the public, but as an organisation we do recycle as much as possible. The company chosen to provide our waste collection service does not send anything to landfill and we have separate general waste and recycling bins around site.
“We also get regular visits from a scrap metal collector and are currently trying to minimise our use of single use plastics by providing
re-usable cups by our water dispensers and encouraging our volunteer boarders to bring in a re-usable box for dog food rather than using carrier bags.
“The response has been pretty good so far and we are getting quite a few things dropped off to us.
“We are happy for residents to drop their crisp packets and pet food packets to us. Our site is open from 9am to 5pm. The only thing we ask is that if they are bringing in wet pet food packets if they could rinse them out first.
“If people would like to post their packets to us they are welcome too but it might not be the most practical option for them.”
The Midlands Regional Centre in Leamington opened in 1940 as the Guide Dog’s first permanent training centre, after moving from Wallasey near Liverpool on the Wirral. There are about 70 dogs in training at the centre in Leamington. It costs around £44,000 to breed and train a guide dog and the total birth to retirement cost is more than £55,000.
The recycling scheme will help the charity raise additional funds.
Hazel said: “We have to send out a minimum of two kilos a times to get the points. For every lot that we send to TerraCycle that is two or over kilos we get 200 points per kilo and it works out that one point is worth one penny.
“TerraCycle then shred the crisp packets and pet food pouches and make them into plastic pellets to reuse to make things like watering cans.”
Those wishing to drop off packets can go to the centre Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
Anyone wishing to post packets should send them to: F.A.O Hazel Walker, Guide Dogs Midlands Regional Centre, Edmondscote Manor, Warwick New Road, Leamington, CV32 6AH.