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Help those who help themselves to recycle, says community leader

People representing local authorities need to change their own behaviours towards recycling before the public does and set an example, said a leading community sector spokesman.

Speaking at the ninth North London Recycling Forum, Community and Environment Project Office (CEPO) company secretary Bernie Rees said: The only person whose behaviour any of us can change is our own, so how does each of us need to behave differently to encourage others to do so.

His question comes at a time when local authorities are targeting on the general public to change their attitudes towards recycling in order to cut down the amount of household waste sent to landfill.

London-based CEPO, was set up in 1997 to promote environmental issues and it works with the community to undertake recycling projects.

Rees said: My experience in the community sector trying to do community recycling is you talk to people and they do not know what to do. Ive seen so many people who have been given a compost bin and they do not know how to work it. But once you spend time with them, bit by bit they get the hang of it.

Guest speakers at the Forum spoke of how the public needed to get on board the recycling train so that local authorities can meet their high recycling targets.

Rees said: At forums like this, I continuously hear people saying we need to change the behaviour of the public. Lets try to make some connections here and say what we need to do ourselves, so that we can encourage people with a genuine desire to do their own thing.

People in this part of
London are typically time-poor, they do not have a lot of extra time. But if you work with them, they then start to appreciate the benefits because they are their own benefactors.

People are never going to be concerned about whether the North London Waste Authority hits its annual target of 70,000 tonnes and they dont relate to that. But if they start to grow their own strawberries and they can taste them every July, then they start to make the change themselves.

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