Our Common Place

In the summer of 2011, across Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea plus Wandsworth, Waste Watch began to pilot an innovative new approach to stimulating recycling and other environmental behaviours: Our Common Place (OCP).

Drawing on recommendations and research highlighted by the 'Common Cause' report and the New Economics Foundation 'Five Ways to Wellbeing" framework, the OCP approach has put 'co-production' into practice across eleven estate based communities. Instead of working on recycling in isolation, OCP works with communities to strengthen the shared values that underpin strong communities, values such as care, empathy for others and citizenship, the same values that motivate behaviours such as recycling.

The community itself identifies local priorities, through the OCP approach. We support them to design and deliver initiatives they feel will bring social and/or environmental benefits to where they live. It is the enjoyment of being involved, the connections and friendships made and the shared sense of responsibility and ownership over the initiatives that emerge that gives strength and legacy to the project. The increased sense of pride and respect for their local environment and community translates into care for the global environment and engagement in activities such as recycling.

In the first wave of engagement until Easter 2012, initiatives ranged from homework clubs to swap shops via skill enhancing workshops to sharing schemes such as 'help your neighbour' and direct recycle campaigns. In one community, for example, a participant is leading a sewing course for her fellow community to enable others to refurbish their clothes. Through this is it easy to build in the benefits of up-cycling, reuse and recycling clothing for both a social, economic and environmental perspective.

From summer of 2012 until Easter 2013 Our Common Place is working directly with the following states:

  • Gardens Queen Caroline
  • Lambeth; Clapham Park, Poynders Gardens & Vauxhall Gardens
  • RBKC; Lancaster West, Swinbrook + Tregunter and Finborough
  • Wandsworth; Henry Prince, Putney Vale & Wendelsworth

Our Common Place is also able to provide arms-length support to other communities across the four boroughs. In addition there are opportunities for local people to volunteer as part of the project.

If you live in an area either on one of the name estates or elsewhere and would like to be involved please get in touch. Email ourcommonplace@wastewatch.org.uk or call 020 7549 0317.