Catriona Fletcher is an ordinary working mum with three teenagers. From her garden she watches an incinerator rising from the banks of the River Ouse on the edge of the South Downs National Park. A constant reminder of where local and non-local unwanted stuff will end up after 2012.
She first came to Sussex from Sydney in 1992 and was horrified at the lack of recycling facilities and the ignorance surrounding waste. Thinking that it is better to be part of the solution rather than add to the problems – she has for years been promoting reuse. Since 2007 has voluntarily run and promoted an online community group (GreenCycleSussex, formerly BrightonFreecycle ™) that facilitates the reuse of unwanted goods amongst locals. Membership is currently about 16,000.
GreenCycleSussex is part of Freegle. Cat was integral in the creation of Freegle in 2009 and is an elected national representative. Freegle is a UK-based network of 252 local reuse groups with almost 1.1 million members-all giving and getting stuff for free thus reducing landfill fodder.
Cat voluntarily does the national Freegle promotion and has got the concept of “local free giving” featured on mainstream TV; local and regional radio; in local, national and international newspapers and magazines; and in every imaginable online site.
She is currently working on projects with WRAP, Lewes Priory School, and a national energy company and is busy setting up a nationwide Freegle group for music festival-goers. She has been invited to make a seminar presentation at the National Recycling Waste Management Conference – where she hopes to inspire Local Authority managers, corporate strategic planners and government officials to embrace and support community reuse initiatives like GreenCycleSussex.
Cat dreams of community composting and reuse becoming mainstream activities; and is always striving to help change attitudes and behaviours locally and afar – so we won’t need to build more incinerators in the future!