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

Five Ways to More Sustainable Fashion

Until the pandemic, fast fashion had become the social norm for most of us.  With cheaply made clothes being so widely available and high street trends changing so rapidly, it is no surprise that many wore them a handful of times before throwing them away.

On average, clothing and textiles will make up roughly 2 per cent of your annual footprint. However, the footprint of fast fashion buyers is thought to be five or ten times that. The good news is that we can still get our shopping fix and look fabulous without destroying the planet. Here is some ideas to slower living

BUY SECOND-HAND

Right in our little village we have Edit Secondhand. The best thing about shopping second hand is that you are not directly supporting things like animal cruelty, child labour and you are saving beautiful garments from going to landfill. Another practical aspect with this store is that it specialises in quality, luxury brands so the items should all be built to last: the definition of sustainable!

If the items are out of your price range, there are plenty of great online second-hand shops including Brighton based Beyond Retro and Oxfam.

REPAIR AND REWEAR

If your clothes need repair, don’t throw them away. You have options. There are quite a few repair cafes not too far from Cuckfield. For example, Horsham Repair Café offers a free monthly repair service and – with the help of their textile volunteers – you can even learn how to do some creative upcycling for yourself. Even closer we have Hassocks Repair Café every fourth Saturday of the month, and one in Burgess Hill due to open once restrictions allow.

CLOTHES SWAP

Although unlikely you will see any clothes swap events in the flesh until the coronavirus pandemic is over there are new digital options available. Swopped.co.uk offers a point system whereby you can gain points for items you send in and spend them

BUY ETHICALLY SOURCED

New online shop Cuckfield-based Blossom & Roar focuses on offering brands that are sustainable and practice ethical retail. These are beautiful designs from small and independent companies. Your wallet will a lot lighter after shopping here but as fashion queen, Vivienne Westwood, famously said, “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”

GET SOME ADVICE

If you are planning on a spring clean and a complete wardrobe overhaul, there is a local service called Finely Tuned Wardrobe that offers styling advice and a reselling service with sustainability in mind. For the latest advice and news on ethical fashion, it is always worth checking out Ethical Consumer. This magazine covers more detailed insights broad range of topics from the slow movement to how current consumer trends affect our planet.

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These are just some ideas to get started with slower movement in fashion. There are too many to mention in one post just as there are too many shops and organisations moving away from fast fashion. Perhaps the above suggestions seem a bit overwhelming but even if you just made one change, you would be reducing waste in landfill and subsequently carbon emissions.

If sustainable fashion is something you are passionate about, we would love to hear from you or do feel free to comment below.   

By Vicky Koch

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels


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

Starting Sustainability at Home

According to an Independent article detailing the average middle-class family of four’s carbon emissions, the biggest source of carbon emissions (16 tons per year) comes from our general consumerism, whilst a meat based diet produces all of 12 tons of carbon per year. Though these numbers don’t account for the pandemic and are a rough estimate that will vary family to family it does give you some idea of our own impact.

So what can we do differently? The good news is that it does not take much to live more sustainably. There are lots of things that can be done and most of them are very easy to do when you consider how much time we spend at home these days. So here are three ideas that we hope will inspire you.

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Cleaning Products

Did you know that lemon and vinegar both make for excellent cleaning agents? Using these means less waste from packaging, less harmful chemicals being put into the water system and you get to save a little money too.

Some easy recipes to start you off can be found on Ecotricity’s Post: Sanitise Your Home the Natural Way

However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own products there is always ethical shops like The Good Club and refilleries like Scrapless and Cloughs.

Composting

Did you know that the food scraps that you throw into the bin does not get the opportunity to decompose? This is because they get buried under the ground with the rest of the landfill and compressed with no oxygen. The solution to this is to compost at home.

According to BBC Good Food’s How to Compost Food at Home, two popular systems are the Boyakashi Composting System and Worm Composting. You do not need a big garden for this – in fact Boyakashi composting is done indoors – and you won’t need much more than a few small bins with lids. 

Reusables

I am sure you already have a reusable water bottle, it is an accessory that most people have these days. The metal ones double up as a flask which has been great for hot drinks on winter walks, hasn’t it? Have you been finding other ways to reuse and repurpose things though?

As recommended above, refilleries are a great way to step closer to zero waste. You just need to save your jars, bottles and tubs and fill them with your grains, cleaning products, coffee beans and even sweeties. Not only are you then drastically reducing your single plastic use but it is an opportunity to support local shops as well.

How Do You Do It?

Reusing plastic bags has become increasingly popular as has buying reusable tote bags. However, another popular option is to use trolley bags for big shops. It is especially good for those that like to organise their shopping. Also great for those that like to scan as they go.

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There are so many things that we can do that make such a huge impact. We would love you to share with us the little things you have been doing. Anything that has worked or perhaps something you thought would work that hasn’t!

In the meantime, here is a carbon footprint calculator that helps measure your impact on the planet. It is pretty eye opening and thought provoking. There is also a chance to offset your carbon emissions if you wish.

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator1.html

Looking to the future…

It’s New Year’s Eve! A classic time for creating new resolutions. A wonderful time to think of the changes you would like to see occur in the year ahead.

So what can we do differently in Cuckfield in 2021? If you are following our Facebook page, you will already know that we’re in the process of sorting out terracycling bins. These bins will give us the chance to recycle a lot more than is accepted in the blue bins. However this is only the beginning. There are so many possibilities!

Once the vaccinations are rolled out in the village and life begins to return to normal, we will be looking to facilitate many more community activities and events to help keep up our motivation and introduce new ways of being greener.

GROUP TRIPS

Wouldn’t it be great to find out more about the local recycling sites, or where our terracycling goes after we have dropped it off? A visit to the two West Sussex based solar farms or large energy storage facility (due to be built in Sompting in 2021) would be fascinating. Another great field trip could be to go to Rampion Wind Farm that runs along the south coast and is now in its last stage of development.

TALKS AT THE QUEEN’S HALL

There are so many topics that we can cover around being greener. Ideally, we want to host talks next year on subjects such as circular economy, how to waste less and climate change. We could organise talks with nearby zero waste companies about how and why they have set up these shops. Or reach out to the Cuckfield residents involved in sustainability, conservation or studying ethical issues. Having these sorts of events is also going to be a great opportunity to bring together local businesses and find out what actions they are taking to do their bit for our planet. I know there are many out there!

REPAIR CAFE

A repair cafe is somewhere you can take your broken items to get them fixed by skilled volunteers rather than throw them away. Cuckfield is actually surrounded by them. To name a few, there are cafes in Burgess Hill, Chailey, Hassocks and Horsham.

Different cafes repair different things depending on their skills. For instance, at the cafe in Hassocks they specialise in repairing tools, household appliances, furniture and textiles. Burgess Hill offers all of the aforementioned repairs but also attempts to fix computers, phones and sound equipment. Could we gear towards having something similar here by the end of 2021? Do we have budding or brilliant DIY experts who would be willing to get together? Time will tell.

LIBRARY OF THINGS

Have you ever wanted to just use something once but you did not want to buy it nor could you find anyone to borrow it from? An item you seldom need like a tent or hedge-cutters for which you can’t justify the environment impact or cost of purchasing outright? Well, the library of things is made especially for these sorts of issues. Sadly, none are nearby – the nearest one is in Crystal Palace – but wouldn’t it be wonderful to start a site in Cuckfield, and be able to lend and borrow when and where we want? Just a little thing but the impact would be great.

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There are plenty of other things that we could do as a community, especially in one as lovely as ours. Let’s see what 2021 brings. We plan to have a stall at Cuckfield Local in the near future so that we can find out what you, the residents of Cuckfield, would like.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!! 🌎🌈🎉

Sussex Social Eco-Groups – Facebook

Using Digital as an advantage

One thing that has been happening during the pandemic – while we have all had time on our hands – is the growth of some really interesting groups on Facebook. Informative and friendly these all offer a place to find solutions and suggestions for the eco-conscious and eco-curious.

Cuckfield Selling Page – this facebook page has been needed for a long time. Great if you are doing a clear out and great if you are looking for bargains! No business ads are allowed which leaves room to scroll through all the bits & bobs on offer. Obviously with us being in a beautiful, tasteful, lovely middle-class village full of beautiful, tasteful, lovely people this is filled with great stuff to have as your own. From an eco point of view another great reason to keep an eye on this is that you’re saving something from land-fill.

Journey to Zero Waste – has over 2000 members and is “A group for people who live in glorious Sussex and want to live more sustainably.” They have a list of zero waste places to go in Sussex which is worth a look. Also if you use the tag #AskAnAdmin on your post, the administrators will do their best to use their knowledge from past posts to answer your question.

Sussex Handmade UK – if you count the whole county to be local then this is a great one. It is filled with tons of unique, unusual handmade products from both West and East Sussex. Ranging from children’s stretchy soaps in Uckfield to personalised biscuits from Hassocks, there is something here for everyone.

There are many more that we could mention and I am sure we will in due course but for now, these are our top three. Let us know what you think of them and which is your favourite!

Also we would love to know what is your go-to local Facebook group? If you don’t want to comment below, just private message us as it could be helping the whole community.

The Bigger Picture

Before we begin with Cuckfield, let’s look at the bigger picture. We are living in the ‘critical
decade’ for climate change. With temperatures increasing and weather patterns changing,
we must act now to help our planet. In this first blog, I will focus on what governments are
doing. The best starting point is with net zero carbon emissions… but what exactly does this
mean and how will it help?


You might have read or heard people talking about net zero carbon. This is all about
achieving a net zero balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere and the
carbon removed – either naturally, by plants for example, or through technology. 2050 is the
net zero deadline that many governments are working towards. In the UK it is a legal
commitment, and many cities, businesses and organisations are being encouraged to sign
up to net zero through the global Race to Zero Campaign.


Global momentum is building and expectations are high following the US Presidential
election of Joe Biden. In December, the UK will co-host a United Nations (UN) world leaders’
meeting to look at progress on emissions since 2015’s landmark Paris Agreement on climate
change. And in November next year, the UK will co-host the next UN climate summit – the
so-called COP26 – postponed from this year due to COVID-19. The world is looking to the UK
for leadership: my next blog will look at how this is going, and what we in Cuckfield can do
to help.

by Jo Notaras

Cuckfield Local

Volunteer led, Cuckfield Local runs a market on the second Tuesday of every month for local businesses selling local produce. From delicious fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs from the nearby farms to wax wraps made with the help of the sellers bees, there is something for everyone.

Their aims and endeavours are on their website with a list of successful projects that include promoting a plastic bag free Cuckfield, developing a community garden and building and populating a bee hive at that Community garden.

A lovely selection of soaps from Weatherseeds Soaps.

Cuckfield Local are always looking for new volunteers and ideas for projects and solutions that we can implement in the village to help the planet. Email cuckfieldlocal@gmail.com for more details or go to https://cuckfieldlocal.wordpress.com/