7 October 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Devon officer triumphs at LARAC awards

A Devon county council recycling officer has been rewarded for her “extraordinary organisational skills” at the LARAC Celebration Awards 2019.

Catherine Causley – Devon county council’s reuse project officer – won the prize for Outstanding Contribution to Recycling, sponsored by Countrystyle Recycling, at the awards which were held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel.

Winners and finalists at the LARAC Celebration Awards 2019

After joining the local authority in October 2017, Ms Causley has set up a range of programmes including Devon Reuse Week, Devon Upcycling Day, WEEE repair events and the Big Fix, which broke the world record for the most items fixed at one repair café. According to her colleagues, “her powers of persuasion, tenacity and unwillingness to take no for an answer are legendary.”

Ms Causley was nominated alongside Janet Wade of Dundee city council and Tina Norman-Ross from Guernsey Waste.

Lee Marshall, LARAC CEO and host of the awards event, said: “If you had these women in a room together you would have the waste sector’s answer to the Avengers.”

More success

There was further success in Devon in the Best New Idea category, sponsored by MGB Plastics.

“If you had these women in a room together you would have the waste sector’s answer to the Avengers.”

Lee Marshall, LARAC

East Devon district council won for its work modernising recycling services with digital technologies – particularly their work in partnership with Cloud 9 technologies creating a mobile app and Alexa skill to “transform the way the council engages with its residents about recycling and waste and other services”.

2019’s Best Team can also be found in the South West, with Dorset council’s recycling team taking home the Biffa-sponsored award.

The council’s kerbside recycling rate has continued to rise due to the hard work of its staff and at 55% it is now one of the highest rates in the country. This has generated savings of over £90,000 in the past year.

Competitive

“Communications is always one of the most competitive categories,” according to Mr Marshall – this year Copeland borough council was victorious and won Best Communication Campaign of the Year, sponsored by Permiserve.

The Recycle for Copeland project reached out across the rural area through both digital and traditional means with a positive message. It resulted in Copeland more than doubling its recycling rate, having previously been one of the poorest performing boroughs for recycling.

The Best Partnership award, sponsored by Viridor, went to Selby district council. It worked with local businesses and haulage related companies to encourage visiting lorry drivers to dispose of their rubbish responsibly. Litter was reduced by 30% and 40% in two key areas.

Minimisation

Plastics were the target of the Best Waste Minimisation or Prevention Project. The REPIC sponsored award was given to the County Durham Single Use Plastics (SUP) Project which was run by Durham county council. It worked with a number of individuals, organisations, community groups and schools – the decision by a leisure centre to stop providing single use plastic overshoes at the poolside will save 2.4 tonnes of SUP per year.

The LARAC celebration awards are the only dedicated awards for waste and recycling officers. The entries are judged by a panel of experts from across the waste management industry and local authorities.

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