Published on 18th February 2011

A fun interactive play performed at Cheltenham schools will be informing pupils about the new weekly food waste collection service for all households.

Featuring characters 'Scratch the rat' and 'Mabel Mouse', the play entitled 'Too much on your plate?' is aimed at primary school children.

Running on weekdays from 28 February until 11 March, the performance focuses on the harmful effects of burying food waste in landfill and encourages children to make sure their parents take full advantage of the new food waste collection service, introduced from 4 April.

All of the food waste collected will be composted on an industrial scale, so none of it will be wasted.

The play, featuring two Stroud based actors Kim Baker and Eley Furrell, has been written and funded by Gloucestershire County Council. All of the props have been made using recycled materials and various items from charity shops and reuse organisations such as Freegle.

Cllr Stan Waddington, Cabinet member for waste at the county council said: "The play is an excellent way to engage with young people about a very important issue. We waste far too much food - about a third of what we buy!

"Firstly, we need to reduce our food waste as much as we can. I understand we will always have some leftovers to dispose of, so I welcome the new waste collection scheme in Cheltenham , which I am sure will boost recycling figures significantly and cut the amount of waste that goes to landfill."

Cllr Roger Whyborn, Cheltenham Borough Council's Cabinet member for sustainability, continues: "The best time in life to think about recycling is while you are still at primary school. I am sure the play will help children understand why recycling is important, and help to form good lifetime habits."

So far, 21 schools in Cheltenham are taking part - schools wishing to book a performance should do so as quickly as possible as slots are running out. Contact Hannah Gray, waste education officer at Gloucestershire County Council, on 01452 425872.

For media enquiries relating to the play, contact: Simon Brown, community liaison and public relations officer at Gloucestershire County Council on 01452 425325, email [email protected]

For media enquiries relating to Cheltenham 's scheme change contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 775037, email [email protected]

Photo/interview opportunity: please contact Simon Brown at the county council on 01452 425325, email [email protected]

The media is invited to performances at Glenfall Community Primary School - Glenfall Way on Tuesday 1 March (Play starts at 1.30pm , photos and interviews can take place at 1.50pm )

Also, The Catholic School of Saint Gregory the Great - St James Square on Tuesday 8 March - timings same as above.


The changes coming in April include the introduction of a weekly food waste recycling service and having alternate weekly collections of non-recyclable waste. The alternate weekly kerbside recycling collections will remain the same.

Waste minimisation and recycling are some of the council's highest priorities, and the council has signed up to recycling targets of 50 per cent by 2015.

The council is running a series of road show events around the borough throughout February, March and early April where local residents can find out more about the changes. A short leaflet outlining the scheme is being delivered throughout February, and a more detailed information leaflet will be delivered with the new food waste caddies in March.

For more information on any of Cheltenham Borough Council's recycling facilities call 01242 264244 or visit

Gloucestershire County Council has a strategy to recycle and compost at least 60 per cent of household waste by 2020.

Based on projected figures for the financial year 2010-2011, the Landfill Tax bill will be £7 million pounds.

The county has strict landfill targets to meet up until 2020. Exceeding these steadily reducing quantities will result in fines of up to £150 per tonne for every tonne of biodegradable waste in excess of our allowance.