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Cowbins inspire children to recycle

July 3, 2007 at 3:16 am

An initiative encouraging young people to recycle is causing a stir in Somerset this week. A “herd” of recycling bins, painted to look like Friesian cattle, has been installed in a field near Weston-super-Mare ready, to be used by schools in September. While the bins have boosted recycling rates elsewhere, there are concerns that the roadside spectacle is slowing down traffic on the M5.

The makers of the bins, waste company Taylor, claim that they deliver a 61% increase in recycling. The eye-catching “Cowbin”, and smaller “Calfbin” for primary schools, provide an exciting way to educate children and adults about recycling issues. The “Feed the Cows” recycling project in the London Borough of Lewisham won Best Information and Communications Campaign at last year’s National Recycling Awards.

The Waste Strategy for England 2007 from the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) promised more recycling bins in public places and stressed the need to promote waste reduction and recycling in schools.

Taylor has agreed that the Somerset herd should be removed following complaints that the bins are distracting drivers and causing delays. This won’t be the end of the bovine recycling champions, though. Chorely Borough Council in Lancashire has just been awarded a grant of nearly £39,000 for the bins to be used in a communal recycling scheme. According to Taylor, there are plenty more cowbins desperately wanting to move to new pastures to graze on recyclable rubbish in schools and public spaces across the UK.

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