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

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