A West Sussex County Council (WSCC) scheme is seeing volunteers support county residents on all aspects of waste minimisation, from sharing home composting tips to providing advice at public events on recycling and support on the many ways to reuse and upcycle materials.
Set up 12 years ago, the Waste Prevention Advisor (WPA) scheme is run by the WSCC’s waste management services and has already trained more than 150 passionate advocates.
WSCC household waste prevention officer Rachel Carruthers said the scheme trains and supports volunteers to promote waste prevention, reuse and recycling in West Sussex.
It also helps residents understand key waste management messages and engage with the wider community throughout our county.
Rachel said: “In 2006, West Sussex contacted the University of Brighton to help shape the scheme and design a training programme, which looks at how waste is managed locally and nationally, waste prevention initiatives and backed up with site visits.
“The first training course was held in October 2006 and in total, 15 training courses - 13 of which were delivered face-to-face by Dr Ryan Woodard, University of Brighton - have been run, with the two latest being via online e-learning.”
Having been placed on hold and undergone a review in 2012, the WPA scheme was relaunched in 2014 with European Union (EU) funding to develop the online training.
Since then, a ‘whopping 3,620 hours’ have been spent volunteering.
Rachel said: “Approximately 70 per cent of the time [has been] spent working on council-organised events and initiatives and a healthy 30 per cent has been spent working on volunteer-led projects.”
Volunteers help deliver talks and presentations for community groups such as Rotary groups and Women’s Institutes; run information stands at major annual events, from fairs and craft markets to the West Dean Gardens Chilli Fiesta; speak at school assemblies, eco-events and housing fairs; deliver tours and run pop-up shops and surveys; and generate articles, photographs and blogs.
Rachel said: “If you would like to become a WPA volunteer, there is a link to the application form on the WSCC website or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.”