Waste walkers raise £5,000 for charity

VIDEO REPORT: A sunset charity walk up Mount Snowdon – Wales’ highest peak – has raised an estimated £5,000 for waste management projects in the third world.

Photo finish
Approaching the summit

Around 30 people including waste professionals, council officers and their families came together on Saturday evening (16 July) to scale the mountain as part of WasteAid UK’s ‘Walk for Waste’ event.

letsrecycle.com staff were also doing their bit, with senior reporter Tom Goulding, finance manager Suzanne Doyle and assistant accountant Whitney James striding upwards for sustainability.

Ascent

The participants took just over five hours to reach and return from Snowdon’s 3,560ft summit, in a 10-mile round trip via the sloping Llanberis Path.

In attendance was WasteAid UK director and co-founder Mike Webster and former vice chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Sally Talbot, who organised the walk.

 

Also making the trip to North Wales was Cherwell district council recycling officer Andrew Jenkins – who managed the feat with a 240-litre wheeled bin strapped to his back.

Working with local partners and donor organisations, WasteAid UK’s goal is to increase spending on waste management from 0.3% to 3% of all international aid. Money raised during the event will be used to support construction of safe and hygienic waste facilities in Senegal and The Gambia, where the charity carried out its first project to analyse material streams in 2015.

To ensure the safety of the group, a team of professional mountain guides accompanied the walkers every step of the way, including Bari Jones of Ynys Adventures who also sponsored the event.

Climb

The climb began at 6pm from the car park of the Electric Mountain visitor centre, home to one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Europe. Hopes were high as the guides briefed each walker on safety and checked off itinerary including waterproofs, sturdy footwear and torches.

Staring into a bin full of cardboard and plastics at the starting point, Mr Jenkins was confident about the evening ahead. Also peering into the bin, Mrs Talbot appeared cautiously optimistic.

Despite a typically wet start to the day in Snowdonia, by evening the skies had cleared and the waterproofs swapped for T-shirts and sunglasses.

Taking a breather about halfway up the mountain, letsrecycle.com caught up with Matthew Slaughter, the CIWM London and Southern Counties New Members Network chair, who was bringing up his own – albeit smaller wheelie bin – to the summit.

Mr Slaughter said: “My girlfriend and I have raised £200 towards it. I was inspired by the motivational speech by Mike at the AGM this year, his motivation and enthusiasm was a big factor. Plus I love walking mountains as well.”

Mr Slaughter added that in August, he would also be taking part in WasteAid UK’s ‘ReCycle’ 70-mile mountain bike challenge, from Basingstoke to Waterloo in London.participants_walk_waste

After two hours a thick curtain of mist rolled into view, sweeping over the walkers as they pushed on to the top.

LARAC chief executive Lee Marshall, who attended the walk with partner Sue. Panting for breath and bracing against a sudden gust of wind, he caught up with letsrecycle.com about his reasons for getting involved.

“We had a presentation with Mike early on in WasteAid’s formation, and as local authority recycling officers it was something we were really keen to support. Dealing with waste day in day out it’s an obvious thing to support.”

Champion

He added he was proud of Mr Jenkins – who last year was anointed 2015 Local Authority Recycling Champion at the Association’s awards in Nottingham. “He’s a little bit mad I think but the thing is when we do the awards this year he’s already set the bar so high.”

As the walkers approached the summit and the ground disappeared in a veil of fog, Mr Webster took a minute to explain what the event was about.

“Three billion people don’t have their waste properly managed. That in reality means they don’t have a binman coming once a week, they have to put their rubbish in the corner of their compound and set light to it, they have to throw it outside the house as best they can, and that causes a massive public health and environment crisis.

“So it’s really good to see the waste sector step up to the plate and raise awareness of this massive global waste crisis.”

Reaching the summit just before 9pm, the participants posed for a photo, struggling against the damp and wind holding the WasteAid UK banner high.

Perching at the top, Mr Jenkins said he was “ecstatic” to have climbed Snowdon – but was keen to get down before he was blown over the edge.

The team descended in the dark, returning to Llanberis just after 11pm. As they congregated to celebrate, Mrs Talbot confirmed the walk had raised £4,800 – but is likely to reach £5,000 in the days ahead.

There is still time to donate to any of the walkers involved in the Walk for Waste. To donate to Tom’s fundraising effort, click here.

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