And the word of the year is?

This will probably come as no surprise, but Collins Dictionary’s word of the year was announced last week as “lockdown”. Timely - as this came straight after the announcement that we moved from the tier system (in England) to a new national lockdown as from 5 November. Meanwhile, Wales ended their firebreak lockdown on 9 November, Scotland introduced a 5-level tiered lockdown system on 2 November and Northern Ireland has extended their circuit-breaker lockdown which was due to finish on 13 November.

There has been a lot of media coverage that people are “confused” by the many different rules across the UK, which I feel relates to what people say about the confusion over many different recycling systems. But is it really confusion? Or is it an excuse not to check what the rules are so then people can justify not having to follow them? With recycling schemes, I think it is more that people don’t understand the “why” rather than the actual rules, as in why one council collects different materials to another.

In my day job at Pendle Council we have just started delivering our annual leaflets/calendars to the whole borough and so there is no reason for our residents not to know what our recycling rules are. Yet even after years of giving the same messages, we are still seeing high levels of recycling contamination and so have been trying to tackle this, helped by some funding from our WDA. It is early days but I hope lockdown does ease soon so we can do some face to face work with the regular contamination offenders.


We had our quarterly catch up with WRAP and NAWDO last week, and it was good to hear that Recycle Week this year was well supported and was more successful than in previous years as measured by the number of impacts. With buildings being lit up green (including Lancashire’s very own Blackpool Tower) and the use of social media influencers, WRAP has done a great job of “social norming” recycling and the Together We Recycle campaign was very fitting in highlighting the hard work done by the key workers in our industry. Recycle Now still has the video “Our Unsung Heroes” on the landing page – well worth a watch.

With talk of a potential vaccine for Covid-19, there was a glimmer of hope last week that we may actually get back to some sort of normal life and therefore let’s hope “lockdown” remains not only as the word of the year, but also a word that we only used in 2020.

Stay safe.