Award recognises Exmouth woman’s outstanding contribution to recycling

Devon County Council’s Reuse Project Officer Catherine Causley, of Exmouth, has been recognised with an award for her outstanding contribution to recycling.

Catherine was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Recycling Award 2019 at the recent annual Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) Conference in Birmingham.

The LARAC represents local government recycling officers across the UK.

Catherine joined the council in October 2017 with the task of developing reuse and repair initiatives in Devon. She set up a range of programmes including Devon Reuse Week, Devon Upcycling Day, a series of repair events and the Big Fix.

The Big Fix was a record-breaking Repair Café attracting more than 400 people in a day and involving 40 menders and 20 helpers who gave their time and expertise for free.

The volunteers from Devon’s repair cafes repaired items ranging from train sets, teddy bears, microwaves and lava lamps to laptops, cuckoo clocks, drones, Xbox controllers, guitars and phones. Overall 268 items were fixed saving an estimated 3.7tonnes of carbon emissions.

Catherine also developed ‘drop off’ points at the county’s network of Household Waste Recycling Centres to help intercept saleable items for on-site shops.

‘Shocked’ to win award

Catherine said: “It was a shock to be nominated and then win such a prestigious award.

“This award doesn’t belong to me but to everyone who made it happen including the six Devon repair cafes and their volunteers who gave up their time to fix items for free for their local community.

“I also want to thank Devon County Council’s waste management team. Without their support this award wouldn’t have been possible.”

Devon County Council’s Principal Waste Manager Annette Dentith said: “Catherine is full of brilliant ideas and has the energy to put them into practice, galvanising support from stakeholders as she goes. Her powers of persuasion, tenacity and unwillingness to take no for an answer are legendary!”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Waste said: “It is fantastic that Catherine’s success in developing the Devon Reuse Project has been recognised at the highest level.

“Catherine’s passion and enthusiasm have brought people together to reuse and repair, making them feel good and saving them money, whilst enhancing reuse in Devon, and reducing the use of natural resources.

“Reusing and repairing reduces the number of items sent for disposal and therefore reduces the impact of waste disposal on climate change. Well done, Catherine!”

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