You may have seen in the news recently that China has tightened its restrictions on the import of various recycled materials – particularly mixed plastics and paper. Your first question might be: Why is any material that’s collected for recycling in the UK going to China? The simple answer is that these materials (like plastics and paper) are global commodities and are sold all over the world where there is a demand for them. China has a huge manufacturing industry that needs raw materials to produce many of the products that we then buy, which is why we sell some of it to Chinese markets. China has introduced these restrictions because it wants to improve the quality of the material that it imports, but also to develop and strengthen its own domestic supply. Material collected for recycling in the UK is still being recycled and is being sent to other markets – a lot of it gets sent much closer to home both in the UK and across Europe – but improving the quality of the material we collect is something we can all help with. For instance by putting out the right things for recycling and making sure that they’re clean. We have lots of information on what you can recycle at https://www.recycleforlondon.com/what-can-i-recycle Finally, why do we sell our recycling at all? Well, it costs money to process all our waste – and councils are the ones who pick up a lot of those costs at the front end when they collect and send it for processing. So the money that UK waste businesses get paid for recycled material essentially helps councils keep their costs down – and that benefits us all by ensuring that councils can spend the money they save on other essential services.
Martina Randles, the founder of Jumble Trail, talked to us about how Jumble Trail started, what her job involves and why she loves it so much.
Can you tell us a bit about how Jumble Trail came about?
I'd just moved to Clapton and wanted to get to know my neighbours better. I always search for a sense of community wherever I go, as it's really important to have conversations with people from all walks of life rather than 'just' my peers. I love jumble, always have; the hunt and surprise of what you'll find is a massive buzz for me. I lived in Bristol and Melbourne and both these places contributed to the birth of Jumble Trail. It was a combination of Bristol Art Trails and Melbourne garage sales, I would get on my bike before I really knew anyone and cycle around the city looking for garage sales. I was skint and also enjoyed the exploration.
What does your role involve?
Currently I'm a one-stop-shop for everything and it can get quite lonely. I have an investor (who funded the web build and plays more of a silent partner role) and I work with great people. All the business decisions are down to me, which is a lot of responsibility so I'm currently looking for a more 'business' minded partner to collaborate with going forward. For Jumble Trail to grow, I need an extra pair of hands. On an average day, you might find me mentoring a Champion, providing web support, getting involved in finance, planning social media or managing a project, amongst many other things! I guess I really enjoy interacting with people; connection with others is a very powerful and inspiring thing.
Why do you love working on Jumble Trail?
Because I can say I came up with an idea and turned it into reality! I get a huge buzz when I see its own listings section, and when a friend messaged me to say they were having a Jumble Trail on The Archers, it was amazing. In all honesty though, I just had an idea and it became a thing. There was so much hard work involved to get to where I am today, but it has all been worth it.
Has there been a standout Jumble Trail for you, and why?
I guess there was a Clapton Jumble Trail which was kinda crazy. We had 13,000 people say they were attending and 350+ stalls registered. It was huge! To mobilise that amount of people was a very proud moment for me and something I'll never forget. Since moving from Clapton, I've missed Hackney heaps as there is such a strong sense of community there. That said, I've been to so many lovely Jumble Trails in places such as Montpelier, Bushwood and St James, as well as plenty outside of London that I've watched in awe. We are having a massive uptake in Manchester at the moment.
What does being a Champion involve?
Being a Champion (Jumble Trail organiser) isn't an easy task. It involves dealing with the public, being the event host, getting everyone to sign up for the event and organising them. Main tasks are posting flyers through neighbours' doors, in cafes, libraries etc, being active on social media, responding to emails, and generally being a superstar! It can be hard work, but seeing everyone come together on the day and knowing you've helped bring the community together is very satisfying.