Environmental charity Hubbub has launched the first of a series of campaigns to help reduce the amount of litter going into the UK’s waterways.
According to Hubbub, 300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames each year. Typical city rubbish – small pieces of litter such as travel tickets, food wrappers, disposable crockery and cigarette butts – are a particular problem. Continue reading
Want to find out more about healthy eating, reducing food waste and improving sustainability? Then come to Ealing Friends of the Earth‘s public meeting on Tuesday, 20 September 2016, at the Vine Room in St. John’s church in West Ealing. The meeting will run from 7pm to 9pm.
Speakers will include Kierra Box, from Friends of the Earth’s food campaign; Roger St Paul of West London Waste; and Jules Tennick, post-graduate in food safety and control. Recycled/ reclaimed food will be served with refreshments on the day.
Venue: St John’s Church, Mattock Lane, West Ealing W13 9LA
How to get there:
– E2 and E3: stop on Northfield Avenue, a 2-minute walk from the church
– 207 and 427: stop on Uxbridge Road in West Ealing, a 5-minute walk
By train: West Ealing, a 10-minute walk
By Tube: South Ealing (Piccadilly Line), a 20-minute walk
Hope to see you there.
The 28 EU member states will be required to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by 80% by 2025 under new rules agreed by the European Union this week. Countries can decide themselves how to achieve the goal, through measures such as charges for plastic bags or outright bans.
There is already a 5p charge for single-use bags in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and England will follow suit in October, with the money collected to be used for environmental and charitable causes.
Does your wardrobe need an update? Come to the West London Waste swishing (clothes swap) event this Saturday, February 21, at Twickenham Library, and walk away with a new look. At the same time bid farewell to clothing you no longer wear, and send them on their way to a new home.
You can bring up to 10 items of clean clothing (in good condition, please) to the event to exchange for tokens (a maximum of 10). The tokens can be traded for items of clothing others have brought. Continue reading
Calling all French speakers! Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) has launched a consumer guide to avoiding planned obsolescence in everyday products. Called Comment sortir de l’obsolescence programmée?*, the guide offers tried-and-tested advice, including to avoid throw-away products, buy simply produced goods (so there are fewer parts to go wrong), purchase reparable and good-quality products, and take part in borrowing-and-lending schemes such as Streetbank (see earlier BRAGonline article). Continue reading
Do you have something you’d like to give away but don’t want the hassle of transporting it across town or further afield? Or how about a skill or a piece of equipment you’d be willing to lend or would like to borrow?
If so, Streetbank is for you.
Streetbank is a community sharing and giving website, connecting you with neighbours living within a mile of you. It helps reduce waste, save money, free up space – and build community. BRAG had a visit from Streetbank founder Sam Stephens this week, and we’re on board – its philosophy is very much in line with BRAG’s mission to recycle, reduce and reuse.
Would you like a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of waste in your bin? Then sign up to the Rubbish Diet and get tips and support from a whole online community of Rubbish Dieters. Within a month, you should be enjoying a lighter bin and less hassle – and you might even make some savings.
The Rubbish Diet has the broader aim of shrinking the waste train that leaves London six days a week. It is made up of 26 carriages holding 78 containers of household waste from just six London boroughs: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond. The train’s contents go straight to landfill here in the UK. It’s reckoned that about 67% of its contents could have been recycled first.
The Rubbish Diet is a simple two-step programme: First, you’re asked to check whether you can recycle one more thing and to share your own ideas for avoiding waste. The second step is about making the most of your food.
The programme is tailored to your area and comes in the form of handy emails with tips, links and information about how to get started. Most participants reduce their waste by up to 70%.
Sign up for the Rubbish Diet at http://challenge.therubbishdiet.org.uk/; further information is available at http://www.therubbishdiet.org.uk/wastetrain/ and https://www.facebook.com/westlondonrubbishdiet.
A Dutch environmental group, Natuur & Milieu, has launched a campaign to persuade restaurant patrons to take home their uneaten food and thereby reduce food waste. Natuur & Milieu has distributed 50,000 doggy bags, accompanied by a starter pack, free to restaurants to encourage their participation in the campaign. The doggy bags were developed with input from catering staff, who were asked what kind of container they preferred.
Restaurant patrons who want to take food home can let their waiter know by means of a Boomerang card, which is available free of charge in many restaurants. The cards come in a number of versions, with messages including “A compliment to the chef” and “I always fancy something tasty in the evening”.
Natuur & Milieu said that the Dutch catering industry wastes 50,000 tonnes of food annually, the equivalent of 77 million hot meals.
Before launching the campaign, Natuur & Milieu carried out a survey on food waste, which found that 78% of participants said they hated wasting food, but that 80% of restaurant-goers never take home leftover food. Respondents cited embarrassment (52%) and lack of awareness (55%) as the major reasons for not asking for a doggy bag.
Natuur & Milieu’s partners in the campaign are packaging specialist Depa Disposables, NGO Oxfam Novib and banking group Rabobank.
For more information, see (in Dutch) http://www.doggybag.nu.
The U.S. state of California has passed a bill banning the use of disposable plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies, off-licences and other businesses throughout the state. The bill, which needs to be signed by the governor before becoming law, would usher in the first statewide ban of this type in the United States, starting July 1, 2015. A number of U.S. cities have already banned disposable plastic bags in shops, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. The law would allow the sale of reusable plastic bags at grocery stores.
London dustman. Illustration from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1851)
When Rosie Oliver says she’s going to take you on a rubbish trip, she means it literally. Rosie, a lawyer, lecturer and presenter specializing in environmental law and policy, created and leads a two-hour walk from Mudchute on the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich on the theme of rubbish and how it has influenced the landscape. Woven into her commentary are stories about the people who collected the rubbish and how the rubbish has been treated and transformed over the centuries.
One example is Mudchute Park, the site of the former mud chute that spurted silt dredged from Millwall Docks into “settling ponds”, a type of landfill for waste mud. Also, the Victorian homes we passed and structures like the railway viaduct were likely built using materials that included rubbish: the dust and ash from people’s fireplaces from burning coal and domestic rubbish, which was collected by dustmen and taken to brick factories in Kent where it was mixed with clay, fired and brought back to London to be used for building.
In the 21st century, the need to reuse, recycle and reduce the rubbish we generate is greater than ever, Rosie says.
The walk includes a visit to the Mudchute city farm, where we saw one of nature’s recyclers in action – a magnificent pig – and we finished on the banks of the Thames at Greenwich, a veritable treasure trove of historical rubbish.
Rosie’s company is called Dotmaker Tours, and she offers the rubbish walk to the public once a month, and at other times to private groups: http://dotmakertours.co.uk/page10.htm.