Coventry & Warwickshire

Recycling family saves tonne of plastic from incinerator

The Barker family Image copyright Kebrina Barker
Image caption The family collects the waste in a range of bins on their driveway

A family has saved a tonne of plastic from ending up in incinerators by collecting it on their driveway before sending it to be recycled.

The Barker family from Nuneaton launched into action in January after spotting a pristine 40-year-old crisp packet at their allotment.

They have worked with recycling companies to turn their waste - and the community's - into reusable pellets.

Mum Kebrina Barker said the response had been "phenomenal".

Their mission has focused on hard-to-recycle objects which the council will not collect, such as toothbrushes and coffee pods.

They have more than a dozen wheelie bins on their drive individually marked for specific waste, for neighbours to use.

The Barkers also carry out regular litter picks to add to the hoard.

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Media captionThe Nuneaton family that wants to recycle your crisp packets.

Their haul has included:

  • 194kg of crisp packets
  • 113kg of coffee pods
  • 76kg of pet food containers
  • 60kg of bottle tops
  • 47kg of personal items (such as make-up wipes, suncream and hair product bottles)
  • 45kg of plastic trays
  • 39kg of snack containers
  • 30kg of pens
  • 25kg of baby food containers
  • 23kg of crisp cans

"It just shows that people do want to recycle these things," Mrs Barker said.

Image copyright Kebrina Barker
Image caption The waste is boxed up after it is sorted by the family

Mrs Barker, 38, husband Warren, 43, and their children, Bridget, 10, Stanley, 11, and Francis 12, sort the items into boxes helped by a handful of "committed" volunteers.

The waste is labelled, its weight recorded and sent on to recycling firms where it is shredded into pellets which are used to create new items.

"They become anything from watering cans to park benches," Mrs Barker, who works for the Office of National Statistics, said.

Stephen Clarke, of TerraCycle Europe, said the effort had been "amazing", with the company dealing with 69,000 pieces of waste.

The firm pays a penny for every item donated, meaning almost £700 has been raised for a charity or school of the family's choice.

Image copyright Kebrina Barker
Image caption The family also regularly litter pick in their local area

They will host a special party to celebrate their first milestone.

"Then we'll carry on collecting," said Mrs Barker. "Next stop - 10 tonnes."

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