Solihull church leads the charge in local and global war on waste

A West Midlands church is leading the charge on a campaign to cut waste, to benefit its village and communities overseas.

Members of Knowle Parish Church near Solihull have been trying to reduce their own household waste since Lent – and persuade others locally to follow suit.

They’ve encouraged local retailers to allow customers to bring in their own containers to buy food, for example, and held a Green Fair promoting more sustainable lifestyle choices.

During Lent, many talks at the church focused on the global waste crisis, and a large cross surrounded by waste was erected in the churchyard over Easter.

Many church members have ‘twinned’ their household bins through the charity initiative Bin Twinning – and encouraged neighbours to do the same. Bin Twinning helps provide seed funding for social enterprises overseas which are setting up bin collections and recycling projects in vulnerable communities for the first time.

In total, more than 60 households in Knowle and surrounding villages now have Bin Twinning stickers on their bins to show they’re twinned with projects overseas.

It was the waste crisis affecting poorer countries overseas and the way waste generated in the UK exacerbates their problems that prompted Knowle Parish Church to take action.

Most low-income countries have little waste-management infrastructure: 2 billion people globally have no waste collection at all and are forced to dump or burn their rubbish, both a cause of disease.

‘It’s an uncomfortable truth that some of our waste ends up overseas,’ says Claire Carter, chair of the church’s Eco Group who writes a blog on living and eating more sustainably. ‘Waste gets into waterways, and eventually the ocean, and can end up anyway in the world.

‘We’ve all heard about plastic in the ocean, but the statistics like “a person dies every 30 seconds from a disease related to waste” are shocking. Plastic waste has now entered our food chain, even our blood. It’s estimated we now consume around 5g of microplastics each week, the weight of a credit card.

‘People liked the idea of twinning their bins as the stickers they receive are a great conversation-starter and a way of raising awareness, particularly when more and more of them start appearing in an area.’


Claire Carter with her own twinned bin

Bin Twinning CEO Lorraine Kingsley says waste is a major contributor to climate warming yet action on the global waste crisis has been slow. ‘In cities in Africa and Asia municipal solid waste is expected to double in the next 15 to 20 years, so it’s vital we get to grips with this huge environmental issue. And that starts with reducing our own waste here in the UK. We’re so grateful to Knowle Parish Church for helping to raise awareness and tackle waste in such creative ways ‘