New Forest town twins its bins as well as its bogs

Fordingbridge’s loos have brought the New Forest community acclaim as a ‘Toilet Twinned Town’ but now it’s a bin on their recreation ground that is attracting attention.

The bin bears a sticker announcing that it is twinned with a recycling project in the Demographic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Members of the Fordingbridge Twinning Association have just raised funds to ‘twin’ the bin through the charity initiative Bin Twinning.

Association Chair Alison Ayling says: ‘Fordingbridge Twinning Association is proud to put our town on the map as the first town to twin a bin. Anyone can twin a bin and we hope others will follow our lead!’

Bin Twinning supports social enterprise projects overseas that are setting up bin collections and recycling projects in vulnerable communities where waste would otherwise be burnt or left in the street.

Bin Twinning is sister charity to Toilet Twinning. Fordingbridge became a Toilet Twinned Town in 2017, in recognition of its extra-ordinary community efforts to twin toilets.

Toilet Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says that the focus of both Bin Twinning and Toilet Twinning is eradicating poverty. Poor sanitation, dirty water and unmanaged waste all help spread disease and contaminate the local environment, keeping vulnerable people trapped in poverty.

Lorraine says: ‘All the projects we support – whether through Toilet Twinning or Bin Twinning – are about supporting communities to make change happen for themselves. They tackle issues that take a terrible toll on people’s health and well-being – and offer vulnerable families practical ways they can take a first big step out of poverty.’

Fordingbridge’s twinned bin supports a social enterprise in the capital of the DRC, Kinshasa, which is collecting plastic waste and recycling it into marketable products such as brooms and paving blocks. The initiative is also mobilising local people to clean up the streets and lobbying the Congolese government to implement existing legislation to prohibit the import and sale of specific plastics.

Jo Heath, Youth, Children and Families Development Worker at Avon Valley Churches, who initially suggested the idea for Fordingbridge, says: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in Fordingbridge got on board with Bin Twinning and there were twinned bins all over the town and nearby villages?’