People in Oundle have been left with big smiles on their faces after the introduction of a new town-wide scheme to recycle toothpaste tubes and other dental products.
Not only will the collection of the difficult to recycle items reduce the amount of plastic in landfill, the Terracycle recycling scheme raises money for local charities.
Organised by Transition Oundle’s Oundle Waste Less (OWL), the project encourages residents and organisations to consider how they use and dispose of everyday items.
Funds raised through the collections have been donated to charities, with current donations going to the Oundle and Thrapston Foodbanks.
Camilla Sherwin, project manager of the OWL project, said: "The Terracycle recycling scheme offers a chance to recycle hard to recycle used dental products and raise some money for good causes.
"Whilst it is better to avoid unnecessary single use plastics, keeping your teeth clean is important for our dental health.
"The more items we collect, the more money is raised and right now local charities appreciate every pound that comes their way.
"You can recycle plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and boxes, dental floss containers and electric toothbrush heads but if other items are mixed in with the collection, we don't receive any money for that boxful."
Whilst the OWL project’s main objective is to encourage reusing, repairing and refilling in preference to recycling and binning, certain essential items, such as used dental products made by leading brands, are manufactured using hard-to-recycle plastics which cannot be put in household recycling bins.
OWL signed up to the Terracycle collection scheme and the used dental products can now be dropped off in collection boxes found in both the Thrapston and Oundle Co-ops and the Oundle Town Library - when open.
Camilla said: "For those wanting to reduce their use of single use plastic in their homes, the alternative course of action is to visit a zero waste shop, such as Refill Revolution at Oundle Wharf or Food For Thought in Wellingborough, or contact mobile retailers such as The Refill Van, who cover Northampton to Thrapston, or Back2Basics, who visit villages between Kibworth to Sudborough. They stock a range of plastic-free dental products - charcoal toothpaste is fantastic."
The OWL project has also lent equipment to volunteers who have also been out litter picking during the lockdown with more than 500 bags of litter collected by volunteers across the county in the group’s first two weeks.
Camilla added: "It is good proof that if many of us do a little to protect the environment, together we can make a big difference. Please join the group and get picking.
"By taking a picking stick, gloves and bags when out on a walk, it is easy to tidy up some of the footpaths and roadside verges and do something positive whilst also getting some fresh air and enjoying the company of another person."
Filled bags are counted and added to the tally of bags collected by the county’s new Facebook group, Northants Litter Wombles.
Full details are available on Transition Oundle website on the Oundle Waste Less page, or on the @OundleWasteLess Facebook and Instagram pages. Alternatively, email [email protected] to ask specific questions.
Anyone wanting to host a Terracycle collections point should contact the OWL team.
The OWL project is funded through the National Lottery Fund and the East Northamptonshire Resource Management Fund and is managed by Transition Oundle, an organisation which helps local residents take small practical steps towards lower carbon, more sustainable living. Membership is free and participation is voluntary.