Recycling revolution for St Pauls
"Litter and fly-tipping has been a problem in St Pauls for such a long time... it's an issue that keeps coming up in conversation with local residents".
People in St Pauls just got it. They got the idea of swapping a kid's bike rather than buying a new one. Tamsin Evans
Tamsin Evans, Community Officer for the housing association United Communities, is talking about Re-Use & Recycle for St Pauls, one of the neighbourhood partnership projects funded during Bristol's year as European Green Capital.
St Pauls has a lot of on-street communal recycling. Residents aren't able to keep the black and green recycling boxes directly in front of their homes because the area has an unusually high number of basement properties and houses that open directly onto the street.
"Unfortunately, community recycling sites can get quite messy and sometimes become a dumping ground,' continues Tamsin. "It can quickly get out of control."
With a grant of £3,900 from Bristol 2015, United Communities started Re-Use & Recycle for St Pauls in January 2015, walking around the area with local councillors, residents and interested local groups to assess the scale of the street litter and fly-tipping problem.
"We chose four key collection sites that were particularly bad, on Dalrymple Road, Drummond Road and William Street, and totally revamped the collection bins and recycling facilities. We also had a general clean up and added a new collection bin for cardboard," says Tamsin.
The project also ran four re-use events throughout 2015, to tackle some of the core problems associated with fly-tipping and change people's views about the value of discarded items.
A clothes swap in February, a seed and plant swap in May, furniture upcycling in September, and a winter crafts fair in November built momentum for the project as a whole. Over 250 people turned out for the winter crafts event, joining re-use champions Litterarti, APE Project, Kecks Clothing, Katcha Bilek and the Bristol Repair Café to breathe new life into old and discarded clothing, toys and household items.
"One of the biggest challenges with the re-use events”, says Tamsin, “was that we weren't just asking people to turn up and have fun, we were asking them to actually do something.
Litter and fly-tipping had been an issue in St Pauls for such a long time, and people are really, really pleased
“People in St Pauls just got it. They got the idea of swapping a kid's bike rather than buying a new one. The Repair Café had a queue in November. They were flat out fixing sewing machines, laptops, lamps. People were wheeling things over on pushchairs. It was just brilliant."
Re-Use & Recycle for St Pauls was also funded to produce an information leaflet on recycling to be delivered to every St Pauls household this month. They then went one step further, securing additional money from Knightstone Housing Association to pay for the design and production of bin stickers for the area's on-street recycling sites.
Well known Bristol graffiti artist, Felix Braun, worked with children from the Cabot School in St Pauls on the design, and the stickers are due to be distributed across the area next month.
"The kids have been amazing, they just totally get it, the whole recycling thing" says Tamsin, who hopes the stickers may eventually be used at all of Bristol's community recycling sites.
"It would be great if the stickers could become a legacy. Kids from St Pauls walking around the city and seeing their stickers everywhere."
Ultimately, getting a Green Capital grant gave United Communities the chance to bring the people of St Pauls together to tackle the shared problem of street litter and fly-tipping, and promote re-use and recycling.
"Although United Communities has coordinated it, I really do feel this project is a triumph of partnership working with Pennywise, Bristol City Council neighbourhoods team, Bristol Waste management company and Sustrans, as well as other housing associations, re-use voluntary groups and upcycling champions." says Tamsin.
"Litter and fly-tipping had been an issue in St Pauls for such a long time, and people are really, really pleased."