A community comes together

Ellamy runs the scheme with the help of several volunteers, all equally committed to recycling as much as they can in their local community. She started the scheme when her youngest child was born, after spotting that the baby wipes packets she was using could be recycled. It helped kill two birds with one stone, reducing the amount of rubbish and raising money for her local school.

After a few years of solo collecting, Ellamy expanded the scheme and set up a local Facebook group to encourage more people to get involved. Since then, more people have helped along the way. The group is now a community in and of itself. They share ideas and connect with like-minded people who recycle together and share other goods that they no longer need.

“The more recycling, I did in this way, the more passionate I became about it as it meant less rubbish going to landfill. Tendring is a great place to live, and we have a wonderfully supportive community, but we’re not able to recycle very much through our council.”

The initiative has meant that the community has been able to reduce quite a lot of waste, and there’s now a Facebook group of 7,500 people and 25 drop-off points across the district.

Making recycling accessible

The various drop-off points within the community make recycling accessible to the small villages and towns within Tendring. Once the rubbish has been collected from the drop-off points, it is sorted at a hub by volunteers so it can be shipped in exchange for money, which they then donate to charity. Despite the scheme helping to raise £15,000 for the local school and charities since it started, and being in the process of registering as a charity themselves, the sorting hub they were using has become unavailable, leaving the group without a space to sort rubbish in.

Making an impact 

Ellamy and her recycling community wanted to make an impact in their local area from the outset and have supported the local school as much as possible. They took it upon themselves to raise money for laptops for the school and raised the £5,000 needed to ensure that the school and its students were able to engage in activities, including a coding club. Many of the recyclers work full-time and have children, but their commitment to their local environment is unwavering.

“It was heart-warming to see the community come together to ensure we hit our target. It couldn’t have been done without them and their efforts.”

Recycling in this way also supports other causes, and the team donates some of their material including medicine syringes and towels to their local animal rescue and toiletries to their local hygiene banks. They also donate ice-cream tubs to another community group that knit over them to make beautiful cribs for stillborn babies. Tendring is full of local people supporting one another, and Ellamy is a shining example of this in action, but the group has reached a crisis point.

The end of an era?

Ellamy and her team need a new building in Tendring to continue their work as the local school they previously used, needed the space during the pandemic. Despite months of searching, they have been unable to find a new space. This has meant that they have been organising materials from their cars and outside their houses in the rain. The scheme may have to come to an end because of a lack of dedicated space. As a local community initiative, the space needs to be free and in the area. If you can support the group in any way with their search for a new home, please let us know.

Recycle your way

If you fancy setting up your own local recycling scheme and have the space, here are Ellamy’s top tips.

  1. First, think about what you’re going to recycle and where you’re going to store things.
  2. This website has several things that you can get started with.  Start small so it’s not overwhelming, pick one thing, and then the bug bites and you’ll want to do more.
  3. Get social. There’s strength in numbers. If you’re able to get other people involved, it will be a great way for you to socialise and meet new people. It will also increase the fun factor, and help you make a bigger impact.

Help keep the community going! If you know of space for the community of Tendring, email: Tpsrecycling@gmail.com