Windsor woman becomes new 'recycling ambassador' at Commonwealth Games

Windsor woman becomes new 'recycling ambassador' at Commonwealth Games

Olivia Penfold 

A woman from Windsor is hoping to create an environmental legacy at this year's Commonwealth Games as she becomes a recycling ambassador at the sporting event.

Olivia Penfold is one of 88 volunteers from waste management company Biffa, which wants to help make this summer's games in Birmingham create a carbon neutral benchmark for future years.

The team of recycling ambassadors are advising spectators on which bins to use for things like food waste, packaging, bottles, cans and paper, and distributing guides as part of a wider education mission. 

Over the 12 days of the games, which are being held across the West Midlands until August 8, Biffa estimates it will collect, sort and process 400 tonnes of mixed recycling, and send 230 tonnes of food waste to anaerobic digestion.

This, it says, will save more than 140 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) when compared to landfill.

Biffa also hopes to recycle 100 tonnes of glass; 20 tonnes of metal; process 600 tonnes of non-recyclable waste to create energy, and send zero waste to landfill. 

Olivia, an assistant project manager for Biffa’s Collections Development Team, said: "We're not there to tell people ‘Don't do this’, ‘don't do that’, it's more about advising them on what goes in each bin, and if they have any questions about what happens to the waste afterwards.

“For example, Biffa has an anaerobic digestion plant in Aldridge where food waste is transformed into electricity, and polymer plants in the north-east where all sorts of plastic is recycled.

"It's definitely an honour to be going there on behalf of Biffa as a friendly face to educate and spread the word about sustainability and the journey of waste, because I think there's still a misconception that a lot of waste just goes to landfill.

"It's really exciting to be able to show people that’s not the case, and hopefully change the way they think about their own recycling habits at home, and that they can make a difference."

Olivia, who spent three years studying history at Coventry University in the West Midlands, added: “I'm actually volunteering during the athletics, and athletics is what I grew up doing.

"I used to do county athletics when I was younger so I'm very excited to be able to go and see the women's 1,500 metre race, which is the race I ran."

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