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

Zero Waste – wrong or right?

These days, the term zero waste has become a thriving buzz term. It’s as prolific as the term ‘size zero’ was in the 90s, and for most of us, it’s just as unobtainable. Unlike size zero waists, it would be ideal for zero waste to happen. After all, the movement’s fundamental goal – to stop rubbish going into landfills, incinerators and/or the ocean – is a brilliant one. However, it can put you off when you still have to throw a lot away, or still find yourself in that endless queue for the tip.

I think it is important to take the phrase zero waste and its connotations with a pinch of salt, and give yourself a pat on the back for every small sustainable step you make. Just waste less, focus on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and if it goes wrong, don’t worry about it – tomorrow is a new day.

There are often many obstacles in the way for all of us. Some of us struggling with money, others restrained by time, but something is better than nothing. For instance, would you set aside your jam jars and go to a refilling store once a month? Or could you buy something reusable once a month? Reusable items span from shopping bags to cloth napkins to menstrual cups and safety razors.

It is important to note that Zero Waste is still a very good, searchable phrase on search engines like Ecosia or Google. It is a good way to find tips, ideas and hacks to help your sustainability efforts. It is also undeniably used by lots of excellent green companies such as zero waste shops or organisations like zero waste life.

For instance, there are some great Instagram accounts that produce lots of helpful, easy-to-read tips as shown below.

Alternatively, if the thought of zero waste makes you shudder, try following Sustainable(ish). Led by Jen Gale, she describes sustainable(ish) as “doing what you can, one baby step at a time. No preaching, no judgement, no expectations of ‘eco-perfection'”. She offers resources, books, services as well as a newsletter to promote suggestions that (as she says quite hilariously) make a difference without living “off grid in a yurt and learn to knit our own yoghurt”. Thus she provides us with ideas that we all can maintain.

When it comes to reducing waste, there are so many things you can choose from and so many ways to find information. Aiming for zero waste is a great philosophy to keep but perhaps – when it comes to every day terminology – taking sustainable steps is a more realistic attitude to have.

The important thing is not to overwhelm yourself. Keep things bite-sized and know that any effort you make is a contribution to an important cause.

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By Vicky Koch

We would love to hear from you and what you think on this matter or anything to do with environmental issues. Please feel free to comment below or email us at hello@greenercuckfield.org

Image from Cotton Bro at Pexels

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

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!! 🌎🌈🎉

Small Sustainable Steps

If you want to do something to help the environment but can’t budget for those expensive ethical brands, solar panels or electric cars, there are still LOADS of things you can do that don’t cost anything at all. It is the little things that make a difference, after all, isn’t it?

Turn off the Lights 💡

A flick of a switch sounds simple doesn’t it but actually it can be quite a challenge especially if you have kids in the house! Yet even if you are becoming more mindful, that is a good thing. It doesn’t have to be a success/fail operation. By becoming a bit more aware and switching them off even a little bit more, you will be saving on your electricity bill and reducing carbon emissions in the process. Other small ways you can save on energy at home would be to dry your clothes on the radiators instead of the tumble dryers; to turn down the heating a little bit then use blankets, slippers and hot drinks to keep warm; and/or to turn off taps whilst you brush your teeth. These are all just small, easy ways that won’t cost you much. Obviously they won’t work for everyone. Of course, there are sometimes you need to turn up those radiators or use the dryer for times sake. However, just a little tweak in our behaviours can make such a big difference.

Reusable

Treat yourself to a reusable cups, there are some gorgeous ones on the market for any taste. Take them to your local coffee shops for your hot drinks so they don’t have to use disposable ones. I have heard that Sussex Coffee Trucks are selling some but if you hear of anywhere else, let us know!

Perhaps you don’t like hot drinks, in which case you could make sure you carry a water bottle on you. There is a theory that if you pair new habits with old ones it will be easier to do. One idea would be to attach a water bottle/reusable cup to your lists of musts whenever you go to get your wallet, keys and phone.

There are refill stations across the country where you can fill up your water bottle free of charge. To find out where these are you will need to install the app via https://www.refill.org.uk/. The first place to offer refills was Tom’s Food back in 2018. Though I am sure if you asked in any shop in Cuckfield, they would refill for you.

Refill Mid Sussex Facebook Page

If you are rolling your eyes because you already have both of these containers and never leave the house without them, why not buy some for your nearest and dearest? If you do, please comment below as to where you got it. Got to love a recommendation!

Drive Less

Another great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you only need milk, bread and eggs, there are plenty of places in the village that stock these. Perhaps there will be more in the future. Recently, places across the world are doing their best to create 15 minute cities. In short, this is the idea that all our necessities will be within a 15 minute walking distance (or a brief bike ride away).

I recently posted a poll on the facebook group, Cuckfield Gossip (image below) to find out what people wanted and was not only surprised by the amount of responses but also by the speed they came. The most wanted establishment being a bakery followed by a butchers and a delicatessen. Of course there were those that did not think it would work as it has been tried before. However, there is an argument for a local bakery or produce shop working if enough people carry on working from home post pandemic. There are also more people than ever clued up on why it is important to drive less.

To Conclude..

There are so many ways to take little steps towards sustainability that you can end up getting a little overwhelmed when you look into it. The three ideas above are just that: ideas. They may not fit in with your lifestyle. For more ideas, check out some of the references below:

Ten Ways to Live Sustainably

14 Ways to a More Sustainable Life

Let us know your thoughts or if there is anything you would add.

By Vicky Koch