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Lambeth’s recycling, reuse and waste cutting king in running for honour

Waste Development Officer Philip O’Keeffe

Waste Development Officer Philip O’Keeffe

Lambeth council’s compost king and nappy champion has reached the final of a national green awards.

Waste Development Officer Philip O’Keeffe has been shortlisted in the 2013 Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management for his efforts. He has worked hard to promote real nappies, boosted composting and encouraged recycling.

Cllr Imogen Walker, Cabinet member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “I’m delighted that Philip’s hard work has been recognised in this way. His efforts feed into our Cleaner & Greener Streets campaign which is about everything we’re doing to make Lambeth a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy.”

Mr O’Keeffe, 36, launched Lambeth’s Real Nappy Campaign in 2011 to encourage parents to ditch disposable nappies. It promotes the modern alternative to the disposable version and as a result the council now expects 100 families a year to use washables – saving £10,000 on disposal costs and diverting around 73 tonnes of waste.

Mr O’Keeffe, who joined Lambeth council four years ago, is also known as the Compost Doctor, since the scheme launched in April last year. The project started to promote subsidised compost bins, with 290 now sold, but it has since grown in to a network of home composters, wormery users and community composting projects.

Mr O’Keeffe said: “I have also expanded the number of recycling points in Lambeth to cover a wider range of materials, including textiles, shoes, books and DVDs, particularly on estates.

“Despite existing opportunities for reusing unwanted clothing and textiles, such as charity shops, Lambeth residents throw around 2,800 tonnes of clothes into their bins every year.

“We now have more than 60 recycling collection points, with new sites being added all the time. Since April 2012, these have saved the disposal budget £20,000, by collecting 140 tonnes of textiles, and generating income worth £56,000.”

Mr O’Keeffe, who works with Catherine Bourke, Pawel Ryczan and Francisco Giordano Silva in the waste development team, said he was proud to have been reached the final in the Local Authority Recycling Champion category.

He said: “This is recognition for the work our team have done in making Lambeth a greener borough. Whether it’s using real nappies, taking advantage of the compost bins offer or the other waste prevention collection services we offer, people can save themselves and the council money and make a difference to the local area and the planet.”

The awards ceremony takes place on May 16 at The Landmark Hotel in Marleybone. The winners will be announced by BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid.

For more about the Real Nappies campaign click here. For more information about Lambeth Environment’s work click here. For more information on composting visit Composting getting started.

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