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A green wedding? Hackney Council recycling team makes couple’s big day with ‘emotional’ surprise gift

PUBLISHED: 11:02 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:58 30 April 2018

Catherine with Glen Witby (left) and his waste and recycling team. Picture: Hackney Council

Catherine with Glen Witby (left) and his waste and recycling team. Picture: Hackney Council

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hackney Council’s recycling team wasn’t invited to Catherine and Thomas Rogerson Yarrow’s wedding – but that didn’t stop it sending a gift that left Thomas “quite emotional”.

Catherine and Thomas Rogerson Yarrow. Picture: Lindsay RileyCatherine and Thomas Rogerson Yarrow. Picture: Lindsay Riley

During a game of “Mr and Mrs” at Catherine and Thomas’s joint stag and hen party, Thomas was asked what the most frustrating thing was about Catherine.

“I started off by saying I didn’t think there was anything,” said Thomas, “but then I realised there’s one thing: that sometimes she doesn’t respect the system of waste management.”

The couple has a three-bin system at home, which Catherine said she never fully understood.

Troubled by Thomas’s answer, Catherine decided to contact Hackney Council to help her fix her bad habit. To her surprise, Hackney’s area environmental manager Glen Witby not only replied but actually sent his team to stage an intervention and teach her about the different boxes.

Catherine learning about waste separation during a shift with Hackney's recycling team. Picture: Hackney CouncilCatherine learning about waste separation during a shift with Hackney's recycling team. Picture: Hackney Council

“They came to my house in uniform and even gave me my own uniform,” Catherine told the Gazette. “They were just absolutely brilliant.”

The team took her on a morning shift around the neighbourhood and let her experience a day in their lives. At the end of her shift, she was presented with a “Most Improved Recycler in Hackney” award.

Catherine said she learned a lot – for example, how to separate rubbish on site – and was pleasantly surprised at how helpful the team was to her learning experience.

“I understand now how much work goes into what they do and appreciate what they do,” she said. “They told me that if you put something in the wrong bin, that whole bag can’t be used for recycling any more.

Catherine during her shift with Hackney's recycling team ahead of her wedding day. Picture: Hackney CouncilCatherine during her shift with Hackney's recycling team ahead of her wedding day. Picture: Hackney Council

“It took the whole Hackney Council to get me to become more aware of recycling.”

On the day of their wedding, Catherine surprised Thomas with a picturebook documenting her adventure, and a self-made t-shirt that read: “My wife is the most improved recycler in Hackney, mate.”

“It was a great gift,” said Thomas. “The answer to the Mr and Mrs question has evaporated. I became really emotional when I went through the picture book.”

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