A WOOD recycling charity that also gives skills to people who are struggling to find a job has been opened in Woking.

The Useful Wood Company opened its doors this week at the former Jobcentre premises in Goldsworth Road.

Tony Hewat, chairman of the Useful Wood Company board of trustees, left, and George Varney, the operations manager

It is entirely staffed by volunteers with supervisors and helpers, including some nominated by organisations such as the York Road Project. They include the long-term unemployed, people with mental health problems, the homeless and ex-offenders.

The volunteers will collect unwanted wood from building sites and sort them into material that can be turned into items for sale, with the rest becoming firewood or being pulped for biomass.

“The idea is to stop wood waste going into landfill and reducing CO2 emissions and at the same time we will help people on the margins who need to reintegrate into the society and the workplace,” said operations manager George Varney.

The wood that can be used will be turned into items such as wine racks, planters and outdoor tables and benches.

For more information, visit, email or call 07432 278281.

For the full story get the 5 September edition of the News & Mail

WOKING & Sam Beare Hospices have received £1,774.75 thanks to unwanted items dropped off at community recycling centres being sold to the public.

The Revive charity scheme, which operates at Martyrs Lane, Woodham, donates a portion of the money raised from its five shops across Surrey to local charities nominated by customers.

CASH FROM TRASH – Councillor Colin Kemp and Louise Morton, right, communications manager at Suez, present Woking & Sam Beare Hospices CEO Marian Imrie with a donation from the Revive scheme

Woking & Sam Beare Hospices were the chosen charity at Woodham Revive during the first quarter this year.

The Revive reuse shops, operated by Suez recycling and recovery UK on behalf of Surrey County Council, reclaim unwanted but usable items to sell. More than £18,000 was donated to Surrey charities last year through the scheme.

Accepting the donation on behalf of the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, CEO Marian Imrie said: “We are delighted that the local public have kindly taken the time to vote for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices.

Revive shops are based at Woodham, Redhill, Leatherhead, Witley and Shepperton community recycling centres.

For more information on Woking & Sam Beare Hospices please visit:

For the full story get the 29 August edition of the News & Mail

RECYCLED waste plastic waste from bottles, bags and packaging has been used in pavements for the first time in Surrey.

The trial has seen waste plastic that would otherwise have gone to incineration or landfill used in asphalt to resurface pavements in Horsell Rise, Woking, and Brighton Road, Burgh Heath, before extending the trial into Kent.

Trials begin on Surrey’s first waste plastic pavement

The joint project is being led by electricity distributor, UK Power Networks which carries out roadworks to install, maintain and upgrade the cables delivering power to 8.3 million homes and businesses, with reinstatement contractor Stanmore Quality Surfacing (SQS), in partnership with Surrey and Kent county councils.

“This is the first time waste plastic has been used on Surrey’s street works and if tests prove successful, this could pave the way for wider use by other utilities,” said Mark Baker, senior groundworks manager at UK Power Networks.

In the trial across Surrey and Kent, UK Power Networks and SQS will use 17 tonnes of asphalt containing the equivalent of 14,571 single use carrier bags or 5,100 plastic bottles.

For the full story get the 22 August edition of the News & Mail

A YOUNG Knaphill resident has suggested an “eco message” in a bottle, as a way to tackle the environmental dangers of discarded plastics.

Bonnie, 10, a pupil at The Hermitage School, thinks making eco brick bottles can also help keep kids busy during the holidays: “Calling all kids – don’t get bored in the school holiday. Help save the planet from plastic waste and have fun at the same time by making eco-brick bottles.”

Bonnie and her sister Loren working to save the planet with eco-bricks

An eco-brick is a plastic bottle filled with the types of plastic that can’t be recycled, such as crisp packets, plastic straws and cutlery, vegetable packaging and food containers.

“Get a litre bottle and make sure it is dry inside. Fold, cut or crush your collection of non-recyclable stuff into tiny pieces. ‘Post’ the bits into the bottle,” explained Bonnie.

“Now find a strong stick and push it down as far as you can. Since the bottle will be laid on its side so that you can see the bottom, make sure the bottom is colourful. Keep pushing the stuff down with the stick until it is tightly packed.

“When you have made a collection of bottle bricks, they can be stuck together to make loads of things depending on how many ‘bricks’ you make. In some places they have had enough bottle bricks to make furniture and sheds!” said Bonnie

“Help save our future; help save our planet. Do something useful. You will love making them and it will stop you saying ‘I’m bored’ in the holidays. Each filled bottle will remind you what could have polluted the ocean or damaged wildlife.”

THE League Against Cruel Sports was chosen by residents to receive proceeds from the sale of second hand goods at the Martyrs Lane community tip in Woking.

Louise Morton hands over a cheque for £1,432.75 to League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Andy Knott

The animal welfare charity is a beneficiary of money taken at the Revive shop, which sells reusable items taken to the recycling centre by the public.

It was presented with £1,432.75 – 10 per cent of the quarterly proceeds from the shop, whose customers nominated the league to receive a donation.

The Martyrs Lane centre and shop are run by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK on behalf of Surrey County Council. The company’s Surrey communications manager, Louise Morton, visited the league’s headquarters in Godalming last week to meet its chief executive, Andy Knott, and hand over a cheque.

Mr Knott commented: “A big thank you to staff and customers at the Martyr’s Lane Revive shop, who are helping to both protect the environment and stop the persecution of animals in the name of cruel sports.”

For the full story get the 25 April edition of the News & Mail

WOKING is to host the launch of the Surrey Straw Switch, leading the way on local sustainability with a campaign that aims to make Surrey the first county in Great Britain to go completely plastic straw free.

Paper Straws Group sales and Marketing consultant Jemma Moreau with a sample of the company’s plastic free product

The campaign is the brainchild of local family business, Paper Straw Group, which is part of Woking-based Optichrome, the only printers in the county to produce 100% plastic-free straws that are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.

Managing director Natalie Stephens said she was spurred into action after watching the TV series Blue Planet 2 and being shocked to see what plastic is doing to the local environment.

“I soon realised we could use our printing expertise to make paper straws,” she said. “As I researched more into the problem I was surprised and disappointed to find out that the majority of paper straws in use in Surrey and the UK are imported from places like China and many have traces of micro plastics in their glue.”

The Big Switch Day will be hosted between 11am and 3pm at Café Rouge in Woking on 28 March. Local businesses are being invited to visit and receive a free starter packer, including 250 free straws, an eco-straw dispenser, and a business information pack.

For the full story get today’s (21 March) News & Mail