It’s been heartening to see so much media coverage on plastics, and the big reveal yesterday of Theresa May’s 25 year plan to a Greener Future – 151 pages of it. Plastic is an incredibly versatile material that is used to create many products we use today. As a packaging material, it is safe, secure, hygienic and cheap. It’s also tough and long-lasting, which of course is why it’s a disaster for the environment. It’s estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s which could rise to 34 billion tonnes in the next 30 years without urgent action.
Re-using and recycling plastics
This is critical, and in West Sussex – unlike other parts of the world – we are really lucky that we can recycle all of our plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays. Recycling reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and stems the damaging flow of plastics into the environment.
In West Sussex we are blessed with a large stretch of coastline and beautiful beaches. But in the UK, the Marine Conservation Society found 718 pieces of litter for every 100m stretch of beach surveyed. We can help by educating our children, family and friends, talking about the problem, the effects littering has, and why disposing of waste responsibly is so important.
Next time you head to the beach, make it your mission to pick up a piece of plastic and take it to a bin; or if you buy something made of plastic, take it home and recycle it.
What changes can we expect to see?
Some of the proposals include rolling out the 5p plastic bag charge to all small retailers; more water refill points to be made available in every major city and town, and an app created so you can look up where your nearest water refill point is, reducing the need to buy bottled water; and the introduction of plastic free aisles in our supermarkets. This will give consumers the choice to choose goods without plastic packaging. We will keep you posted with any developments!
Don’t let gadgets cause a blaze
We love our tech, and many of us received gadget gifts at Christmas. But just because your old hair straighteners, smoothie makers, and cameras can fit inside your bin, doesn’t mean they should. All electrical gadgets pose a fire risk if not disposed of correctly – take them to a Household Waste Recycling Site. Inside a bin bag, they will be thrown in a refuse truck and the metal parts and wires can easily rub against each other, or the floor of the truck, and spark.
Fire caused by a battery
Fires need fuel, and what better than lots of dry recycling, leading to a substantial blaze, putting lives at risk. The fire here, at Burgess Hill’s Household Waste Recycling Site two years ago (photo credit: Eddie Hoyland) was believed to have been started by a battery in someone’s rubbish. The good thing is there are tonnes of battery collection points – every supermarket, DIY shop, loads of high street stores and we have containers at each of our Household Waste Recycling Sites.
Do you give a cluck?
Every year in the UK, 86 million chickens are thrown away uneaten! So this year we are asking you to make sure you know the best ways to make your poultry last longer! The place to go for the best tips on how not to run around like a headless chicken is the Give A Cluck website or follow #giveacluck.
In West Sussex, figures from 2015 show 12.5% of what we throw away is food that’s been cooked or is still in a packet, and never made it into our mouths. Our advice? Find out what you can freeze – even milk and eggs can be frozen – look at portion sizes, download the Olio app and share things, and all sorts of things can be thrown in soup, even salad that’s past its best (rocket adds a nice peppery kick).
Horsham Repair Cafe
Open once a month, this cafe has been going from strength to strength, helping dozens of people since it started last year, with repairs to clothes, small household electrical items, general household goods, iPhones, iPads, tablets, computers and laptops.
Last week volunteers fixed a broken lawnmower, a Yamaha keyboard, a hi-viz riding vest with flashing lights that no longer flashed, and three toasters. All of them are PAT tested before leaving the cafe.
Next cafe date: 3 Feb, 10am-1pm.
Venue: Quaker Meeting House, Worthing Road, Horsham, RH12 1SL
If you’ve got something that needs fixing, its advisable to book. Just drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates for your diary
Wed 24 Jan – Live in Shoreham? Come and see us and our information stand at the Shoreham Centre between 9am-3pm and find out how to recycle more in 2018.
Sun 28 Jan – Live in Worthing? Grab your wellies and join in with a beach clean at Goring. Dogs welcome too. Meet at 12pm, Sea Lane Cafe. More info here.