Sustainabl(ish) Talk Hosted by Fairer World Lindfield

During The Great Big Green Week 2021, Fairer World Lindfield put on a very commendable selection of talks and events to help raise awareness for sustainability and fairer trade. One of the talks was with non other than Jen Gale, founder of Sustainable(ish) and The Knackered Mums Eco Club, author of two best-selling books on sustainable living and to top it off a mother of two.

So please find below the whole talk kindly hosted and recorded by Fairer World Lindfield. I realise not everyone has a spare hour and twenty minutes to watch its entirety. So to save time, please find below the video a description of where to skip to, depending on what you are most curious about.

However, if you do have time to watch it, it is definitely worth it. Jen Gale has many easy-to-do ideas, tips and information relating to sustainability. She is also very down-to-earth and relatable.

skip to 2m 00s for MY STORY…
An introduction of the talk called, Sustainable(ish) in Sixty Minutes and a little bit about the speaker Jen Gale including her accomplishments such as setting up an online community of over 60,000 taking part in imperfect eco action.

skip to 10m51s for THE PROBLEM
Jen explains why there is such a great need for sustainability. Mostly explaining what is happening to our planet because of greenhouse gases. She summarises this into five key points relating to current climate change issues.

skip to 16m06s for THE SOLUTION
Leading with the quote from Dr. Jane Goodall, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” Jen talks about how you can make a difference just by making better decisions more of the time. You do not need to bust a gut changing everything in your life for the good of the planet. You just need to take small sustainable steps that work with your life.

skip to 17m 0sec for THE POWER OF YOU
This is where you can learn what the point is of taking those small steps even though others may not be. Jen elaborates on how and why you have power as a consumer, a citizen, an influencer and a change agent. Thus proving how your efforts to live more sustainably can have such a huge impact on those around you. She gives an example of her workplace when she used to be a vet. It really wound Jen up that there was no recycling and at first she didn’t say anything because she didn’t think she had agency to. However when she eventually did raise the issue, she was met positively by her bosses saying they were happy to do so if she could do some initial research. Point being: you can but ask if you want to make a difference.

skip to 26m49s for DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE(ISH)
A term coined by Jen herself. It is the idea that we can be sustainable and live our lives. We just all need to realise that we are going to start from a different point and therefore will each make different changes.

skip to 29m45s for CONSCIOUS CONSUMPTION
A plethora of relatively easy tips and good ideas for things you can do at home and in your life to cut down your carbon emissions.

skip to 40m32s for ZERO WASTE(ISH)
Jen illustrates why we need to prevent waste with some important and interesting facts. Such as the fact that the average person in the UK will throw away their bodyweight in rubbish every 7 weeks. The feature of this segment is the waste hierarchy that shows how to make putting waste in landfill bins a last resort. For example, she points out you can ask yourself how to refuse buying balloons for celebrations or how to reduce your consumption of fashion.

skip to 48m20s for PLASTIC-FREE(ISH)
Ridding yourself of single-use plastic is a tough one for many. Yet so important for the good of our oceans and our wildlife as well as the carbon emissions. Jen puts forward the ‘BIG FOUR’ items that you can swap for reusable versions. She breaks down the issues of plastic production into four main points.

skip to 51m58s for FOOD
Another hot topic, food waste is responsible for a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions. One great highlight of this slide is Jen’s suggestion to have an ‘Eat Me First’ Box in the larder or fridge (or both) to help prevent food waste.

skip to 54m22s for AT HOME
Top tips here for changes you can make at home. One of her easiest tips is for you to delete and unsubscribe from emails. When you consider that our emails are all saved on servers, those servers are usually powered by fossil fuels and regardless of how they are powered, they consume a lot of energy – it is a no brainer. You can do this simple task while you watch the television or while waiting for the kettle to boil.

skip to 1h0m52s for DO ONE THING
The conclusion and the question: what one thing can you do today?

skip to 1h02m21s for QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Take advantage of Jen’s expert advice and information coming from her experiences and research. Questions include:

What media and methods has Jen found best to capture peoples imagination and inspire them to start an eco-journey?
What do your children think of your sustainable activities?
What tips do you have on moving your pensions?
Where do you shop? How do you avoid the plastics?

If you liked this talk and would like to watch more of the talks from The Great Big Green Week with Fairer World Cuckfield, please go to their YouTube page where you can find talks on:

Green Energy for Your Home with Nick Owen, Director of HKD Energy and much more

Climate Justice and the Global South with Tearfund

Veggie and Vegan Demo – Food for Thought

Veggie and Vegan Cooking Demo – Sushi!

Peter and Chris from Fairer World Lindfield also run a monthly climate cafe that is worth following. Each talk is online and varies widely in content from sustainable living to how to compost to circular economy. We would love to put on some talks of our own in Cuckfield, so if there is something you would like to know more about, please do let us know via email: hello@greenercuckfield.org

Until we meet again, thanks for your time, Cuckfielders and Mid Sussexonians.

Why Recycling Earns and How to Help

In May 2020, Greener Cuckfield hosted its first talk thanks to guests Colin McFarlin and Joanne Clayton. Unfortunately, we did not record it so here is a summary for your perusal.

Did you know that recycling is actually all about reselling? Selling your recycling brings in funds for our council and other councils around the country. On the other hand, sending recycling to Landfill is expensive and heavily taxed by our government.  All topics of which we explored during our talk with Colin.

All our recycling goes to the recycling plant (the MRF) at Ford, Nr Arundel. 69,800 tonnes of recycling are sold on to markets from all of your West Sussex recycling. Of that amount, last year’s numbers show that 46.05 per cent was paper and card and 30.6 per cent was glass bottles and jars. All recyclable and reused over and over again. However, 9.18% was contaminated and had a further journey to the MBT.

MBT is the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) plant in Horsham where all of our black bin waste goes. It is shredded and then mechanically separated into paper, plastic and metals. The plastics and paper will be turned into refuse derived fuel, fuel pellets for industry, and the metals will be sent for recycling. Any biodegradable waste will be sent to the anaerobic digestion tanks.  The rest of the waste which is usually around a quarter of the total amount cannot be recycled and goes on to landfill. The good news is that this has gone down by nearly 3 per cent last year so we are on the right track.

Landfill Tax means that £96.70 per tonne goes straight to the government. If you are anything like me and a bit rubbish with visualising big volumes remember that one bin lorry can hold roughly 10 tonnes of waste. With gate fees and costs that means one bin lorry of landfill costs around £1,500 if going to landfill. Reducing landfill by 1 per cent would save WSCC  £200,000. You can imagine the good we could all do with that money. Recycling in West Sussex saved our county council £5.8 million last year in avoiding Landfill Tax.

WSCC has many initiatives in the pipeline including facilitating clothing, food waste and absorbent hygiene products to be recycled. Post lockdown education is an important part of their plans. The team are hoping to offer educational talks to schools, colleges and groups as well as site visits to Ford MRF and Horsham MBT.

One project that has already come to fruition is that you can now recycle small electrical items with your rubbish bin. WSCC are offering discounted compost bins on their website.  

Whether West Sussex recycling can get the amount of contaminated recycling down from 9 per cent to 6 per cent is largely up to individual households. It is in everyone’s interests to do so because recycling earns. The West Sussex County Council can actually profit from our recycling bins whereas it costs to recycle from rubbish bins.

Although West Sussex is currently doing well with a recycling rate of 53% (national figure 44.7%) we could still be doing better. From all that is disposed of in the black bins around 40 per cent of the total is food waste and 19 per cent is ending up in the wrong bin. So you can see by collecting food waste separately our households will greatly reduce the volume and smells in your black top rubbish bin.

Apart from knowing what to put in the right bins, we can help prevent waste by using other options. Wraps and packaging are a pest for most waste conscious people. One solution is Terracycling which means you can get rid of a lot of things that can’t be recycled at the kerbside For instance, crisp packets, cheese packets, plastic soap dispenser pumps, toothpaste tubes etc.

At the moment Greener Cuckfield only collects the crisp packets for the village. We are working on creating more convenient ways for residents to get rid of these items but until then you will need to drop to Joanne at Haywards Heath Recyclers. You do not need to sort these into separate bags for each product or material but do make sure that the waste you are bringing to Joanne are the right materials. Find Joanne on Facebook ‘Haywards heath Recyclers’ for full list and her address.

Did you know that plastic bags, bread bags are all the things you can now take to any major supermarket?  Or that milk bottle tops can go to Cuckfield Local Market? The Tip is always good for getting rid of larger items or for a good spring clean but don’t forget you also have kerbside charity collection bags, Facebook, charity shops, eBay and repair cafes.

If you have any questions or you want to find out more about what to recycle have a look at  Colin’s Facebook Group, ‘Colin Waste Prevention Advisor’ For those not on Facebook, you could also keep an eye on Cuckfield Life as Colin regularly writes articles with lots of facts that can increase awareness.

Recycling in West Sussex also has a new, comprehensive website that is worth looking at: Recycling and Waste Prevention in West Sussex

For a full overview of how to prepare your recycling check out this WSCC Recycling Page

Greener Cuckfield would love to hear from people who have recycling hacks and tips for their kitchen. Especially if it is a kitchen with small space. How do you sort and get rid of yours? Email hello@greenercuckfield.org and let us know.

by Vicky Koch

Mid Sussex Community Garden

Mid Sussex Community Garden has lots of exciting goals so if you love the great outdoors and want to help your community thrive please join us at our site in Cuckfield.  Things have been developing rapidly since spring 2020. We are a partnership between the community, Warden Park secondary school (the site) and the Sussex Learning Trust. We have fantastic support from UK Tree Action and the Woodland Trust who donated 350 diverse native saplings which were planted in last November by lots of enthusiastic volunteers.   The project is self funded and we recently had a very successful crowdfunder.

So far we have levelled off the site, created raised beds ready for the school children to start growing plants, cleared masses of brambles and debris and built an additional shed.  A poly tunnel and pond liner will arrive shortly, and a new greenhouse is in situ.   By the end of April, 120 hedging plants from the Woodland Trust will be delivered.   Water is piped in from large water butts.

A native species woodland and wildlife pond are planned, and one third of the site will be a fruit orchard with a wildflower meadow growing through it.  Being   passionate about enabling nature to thrive we intend to install hedgehog houses, bat boxes, bird boxes and large bug hotels, and hope to connect with re-wilding projects.

Pauline Sutherland who is training with the RHS says the project is “an ideal way to give back to the community, create inspiring learning spaces as well as to prioritise nature which is so important”.  

Our mission is to ensure the space is easily accessible, safe and welcoming for all ages and abilities. We want people to simply come and enjoy, grow food and plants and to volunteer their time and energy.   A large wooden cabin will also be built as an additional learning space for the school to use in the day, as well as offer the community another space for wellbeing, gardening and environmental learning. We are off grid and energy will be supplied by solar, toilets will be compostable.    

If you would like to join us please see our FB page Mid Sussex Community Garden https://www.facebook.com/groups/355617022278239/?ref=share

Or mscommunitygarden@yahoo.com

by Catherine Edminson

What’s Cool with Washing Machines

***REPOST FROM FACEBOOK GROUP: SUSTAINABLE STEPS***

It is well known that cooler temperatures are more environmentally friendly. This is a post about the pros and cons of various washing temperatures.

HERE ARE THE SUMMARY POINTS:

– Since 2013 washing machines have had a 20 degrees wash function- Washing at 30°C instead of 40°C saves around ~38% of the energy required and at 20°C instead of 40°C saves ~62%.- It is estimated that if the UK changed from 40°C to 30°C for their washes this would reduce the CO2 footprint the same as taking 400,000 cars off the road.- Many new detergents are formulated to work at low temperatures and you may get just as good a clean- Higher temperatures may be required for stains and soiled clothes- Higher temperatures can be damaging to clothes and reduce their lifespan- always check the care labels!

THE DETAIL:

Firstly it is important to note that the cleaning ability of you washing machine is related to more than the temperature. It is also dependant on the laundry detergent, length of cycle and cycle speed (agitating clothes helps remove stains). Newer washing machines are able to clean clothes at lower temperatures due to improvements in technology alone.To help remove spot stains you may consider treating them before the wash with undiluted detergent on the location of the stain. Vinegar can also be used in washing to help brighten colours and remove stains (search the group for more info on this). The sun is also a great stain remover- leaving clothes on a sunny window or out on the line is great (and free). 🌞😎

WASHING AT 20°C

Which found that stain removal was worse at 20°C compared to 40°C, but that switching to a liquid detergent helped with this. There is a large energy saving to be had when washing with this temperature and for everyday clothes it may offer adequate cleaning and save you money. It is not advisable to only wash at this temperature, as it may promote mould growth in the washing machine. So having a mixture of wash temperatures and regularly cleaning your machine (seals and drawer included) is advisable.

WASHING AT 30°C

30°C is recommended for all delicate clothes. It also has a role in preserving the colours of coloured clothes. This temperature may not be adequate to remove blood staining. 30°C is a good consideration if you have clothes which are lightly soiled and just need a freshen up. It is also worth considering for your regular clothes washes. If your clothes have had light use then hanging them up rather than leaving them on the side or leaving them outside may freshen them up and reduce the requirement to wash them.

WASHING AT 40°C

Although washing at 40 degrees is better for heavy soiling, it does take its toll on your clothes. It can cause colour fading, shrinkage and damage certain fabrics. Therefore for bright and dark colours considering 30 degrees may make your clothes last longer.I would also like to add here that I contacted Ariel and asked them about the enzymes in their biological washing powders (I’m not advocating Ariel here, they just have a responsive customer service). Enzymes are proteins and each is specific to a certain molecule (e. enzymes for fats will not work on starches). Above certain temperatures enzymes are damaged and no longer work (denaturing). They told me that above 30 degrees their enzymes are denatured, so washing at higher temperatures will not improve your washing powder. Enzyme activity breaking down stains will not happen above 30 degrees (any activity that occurred will be at the cold filling temperatures or washes under this temperature).

WASHING AT 60°C

60°C was found to deliver “slightly better cleaning” than 40°C, especially relating to greasy stains. Caution is advised as heat can actually ‘set’ stains. It is generally recommended to wash bedding and towels at higher temperatures such as 40°C or 60°C, although it should be noted that this temperature is not going to kill all bacteria.

by Grace May

Image by Cotton Bro at Pexels