“Why we check for hidden treasures in unwanted rubbish”

What do the following items have in common: A telescope used by the Germans in World War II, a false leg, garden furniture and vacuum cleaners?

Bucks County Council officer Gurbaksh Badhan

Answer: They have all been brought in by customers to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres and saved from the landfill.

The telescope, as reported last week, was passed to a museum in Watford, while the artificial leg was sold for £5 by the South Bucks Hospice charity re-use shop, apparently for a fancy dress event. The garden furniture and vacuum cleaners, meanwhile, are typical items among a hugely-wide variety of goods now regularly being salvaged in Buckinghamshire and put to good use.

There are two Hospice re-use shops – one at Aston Clinton, the other at High Heavens in Booker – that open seven days a week.

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They work with our contractors, FCC Environment, to ensure that a vast amount of what some regard as unwanted ‘rubbish’ is not wasted and buried in landfill. This means more than 80,000 items are sold a year at the two shops combined, raising large amounts for the charity South Bucks Hospice which is currently in the process of building a brand new community hospice in Bucks.

The recycling rate in Buckinghamshire recently made the headlines when it surpassed the 50 per cent mark, meaning we now recycle or re-use more than we throw away. That’s not only a testament to the fantastic work being carried out at our HWRCs, but also reflects very well on the way the public recycles its waste through kerbside collection schemes.

The good news is that things should continue improving next year when we open a new energy from waste plant at Greatmoor. This will convert waste into electricity and mean we reduce the need of landfill even further.

The German telescope made the headlines last week, quite rightly so.

But it’s just one example of the way everyone in this county has stepped up to the plate on this key issue for the environment. Well done to all concerned and long may this continue.