Armadale University of the Third Age (U3A) member Denise Crouch was horrified to learn that her meticulously washed and sorted household recyclables were bound for landfill when the group was visited by the founder of Boddington’s RRR (reduce, reuse, recycle) initiative.
“I was like everyone else – I’ve been washing my bottle tops and putting them in the bin thinking they were going somewhere useful,” she said.
Instead of resting on her laurels, Denise decided to do something about the problem, in tandem with Boddington RRR.
The volunteer-run charity began its recycling operations three years ago, by collecting bottle caps, shredding and then melting them into usable items like park benches.
The venture then snowballed with community interest, and it now recycles all manner of hard plastics and miscellanies including hard hats, safety glasses, drench drums, plastic strapping, medicine blister packs, and thongs.
About 15 months ago Denise started approaching local institutions to persuade them to collect their bottle caps for transportation to the Boddington facility.
“People have really taken it on board. I have a number of schools who are collecting, and Dale Cottages are also involved,” Denise said.
“I approached Salvado Catholic College in Byford, and after three weeks they’d amassed two large bins full of bottle tops.
“I am just amazed – everyone is so keen to do their bit to help the environment. And it’s great for the U3A members – it’s really given us purpose.”
One local organisation keen to embrace the opportunity was the dementia-supporting Forget Me Not Op Shop on Railway Avenue in Kelmscott.
“The more I can recycle the better,” owner Leanne King said. “We’re all about helping wherever we can.”
But Leanne and her staff went above and beyond in their efforts to assist, with shop volunteer Bruce offering to drive the most recent collection down to Boddington, and Leanne offering to pay for the fuel to do so.
In a show of gratitude, Denise and Armadale U3A president Marian Smith this week presented Leanne and her staff with a certificate framed in the transformed bottle caps they’d helped to recycle.
Leanne was overcome by emotion at the gesture, explaining that this connection and service to the local community was the very reason she started the charity last year with her husband, who sadly passed away two months ago.
“He had so much faith in me that I’d get this going and make a difference in people’s lives. And we are. He would have been chuffed,” she said.
“We’re hoping to be here for a long time to support as many people as we can.”
Denise and her fellow U3A members are still expanding on their mission to reduce landfill, one bottle cap at a time. They’re hopeful the City of Armadale will come on board. And they’re keen on supporting other businesses and institutions to do the same.
Anyone wishing to take up the bottle cap recycling initiative can contact the U3A via email at firstname.lastname@example.org