A GREEN champion from Bromsgrove will carry The Queen’s Baton through Hockley Heath today.
Energy technician Ian Dunkley, who works for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games partner Severn Trent, was chosen in recognition of his efforts to reduce the amount of single use plastic going into landfill.
After working in a water maintenance workshop, Ian identified an opportunity to save from landfill large amounts of single-use plastic that was used to wrap parts from suppliers.
After searching online for a solution, he found Eco Bricks – two-litre bottles which could be filled with single use plastic and could be used by community groups for decorative features and projects.
Ian said: “It’s great that I’ve now got 27 Eco Bricks that weigh a combined six kilos – when you think what a crisp packet weighs that’s a lot of items not going into landfill.
“In the past the bricks have been used by groups such as the Brownies and have been joined together to create low walls and seating areas around trees and ponds – I’m storing them at home until a group is in need of them.”
He described being a baton bearer as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.
“It wasn’t until the uniform turned up that I could believe it and I can’t wait to start now.
“It will be the slowest 100m I’ve ever done and it will be amazing to see the support from my family and colleagues.”
As the Official Nature and Carbon Neutral Partner of Birmingham 2022, Severn Trent is delivering a series of initiatives to leave a social and environmental legacy following the Games.
One of these schemes is the provision of water refill stations at every Games venue, allowing spectators the opportunity to fill up their reusable water bottles for free, playing an important role in reducing waste and therefore reducing the impact on the environment.
Ian, who will be volunteering at the Smithfield water refill station on August 7, added: “The plastic issue is very important to me– I think it’s always important to try and do something yourself about the issue.
“The impact of Severn Trent’s water refill stations will be massive – it will be a phenomenal amount of single use plastic that will be saved and I can’t wait to be involved.”
Aside from the water refill stations, Severn Trent has committed to creating 2,022 acres of Commonwealth Forest across the region to help offset the carbon generated by the Games, which will create a ‘green hug’ around the Midlands.
The sites will bring urban communities closer to nature and leave a carbon neutral legacy following the Games. The company has also planted 72 tennis-court-sized Tiny Forests this year across the West Midlands in celebration of the Games.