22 September 2011 - Birmingham City Council and paper recycler Smurfit Kappa Recycling have scooped a prestigious European award in recognition of the impact of a recent campaign to encourage more of the public and businesses to take part in paper and cardboard recycling.
The Be Part of Birmingham’s Paper Chain campaign, a joint initiative between the Council, Smurfit Kappa Recycling and WRAP, won the best information and education category at the 2011 European Recovered Paper Council Awards in Brussels last night.
The award acknowledged the significant impact of a special campaign targeting over 93,000 homes in areas of the city where paper recycling rates are generally lower than elsewhere.
As well as a media campaign to promote the recycling, a series of adverts were produced on bill boards, vehicles and in local libraries, while promotional material was sent directly to every home in the target areas.
The campaign not only encouraged people to recycle more, but also explained how paper is recycled locally at Smurfit Kappa’s paper mill in Nechells, and what the benefits of this are. Birmingham provides the feedstock for the paper mill and Smurfit Kappa contributes to the local economy providing employment for 130 people and many more in the city in ancillary roles. The mill provides a constant, reliable outlet for the City’s collected paper and its proximity ensures carbon emissions are kept to a minimum.
Managing Director of Smurfit Kappa Recycling, Simon Weston, said: “We have a long history of working with the council and the local community to increase the amount of local material we recycle and are particularly proud of what has been achieved through this partnership project in terms of awareness and increased tonnages.”
Since the partnership between Smurfit Kappa Recycling and Birmingham City Council was first formed in 1993 the amount of paper recovered from the waste stream for recycling has increased from 750 tonnes to around 40,000 tonnes today. This is the equivalent of 73.5 kg of paper per household per year, compared to an average of just 53.62 kg across other cities in the country.
Cllr Timothy Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, said: “I am delighted to see the innovative work officers and members have put into promoting recycling recognised in this way, and would also like to say a big thank you to every member of the public who is working with us to drive recycling rates every higher.”