April 2020

It’s time the bell tolled for ‘not currently recycled’

Locally, Clap for Carers has replaced bell practice at St John’s Church as the reminder that it is put the bins out night – Thursday evening. 

This time of the week is the culmination of a weekly battle to decide what sort of plastic can go in the mixed recycling wheelie bin. 

Most of us are well past needing to check the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council for what can be recycled and there is an annual four-page A5 sheet delivered, to give us a handy guide each week if we want to keep it on our fridge or other noticeboard place.

Read More »It’s time the bell tolled for ‘not currently recycled’

National Gardening Week: Is gardening like parenting?

The thought occurs that gardening is much like parenting – and that perhaps I should quit before expanding on that notion!

The similarities are easy to see: gardeners and parents want to: nurture, encourage and watch as growth occurs; create an environment where that can happen; eradicate the bad stuff; and bring the fruits of their endeavours to maturity without too many major dramas!

However, while there are many people who can profess to be experts in gardening (which I don’t, it’s just a hobby), you can merely be experienced parents. There’s no such thing as an expert parent: it’s an imperfect exercise.

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Recycling’s up in Surrey: now for further behavioural change

A graphic which popped up from Surrey County Council on social media caught my attention for several reasons, not least for the huge aid to the vulnerable right now during the Covid-19 crisis, but naturally on the recycling statistics.

The couple that stuck out were:

  • 92% of household waste and recycling collection services in Surrey are still running
  • 23% more waste and mixed recycling is being collected than normal

I am going to use these statistics as a platform entirely to speculate and to shape an optimistic argument about how we might reshape our thinking and change our behaviours to help the environment, in normal times. The statistics might even be incidental to thinking about changing habits.

Read More »Recycling’s up in Surrey: now for further behavioural change

Ditch the tea bag for fully blended compost

Every time I see that advert asking “Coffee in a bag? Why didn’t we think of this before?” I scream back at the television: “Because it can’t be good for the environment!”

The company responsible says on its website that it is using PLA (Polylactic acid) made from natural materials instead of plastics, which is becoming popular among brands and which scientists say biodegrades but still slowly.

Manufacturers have made huge strides in recent years – possibly decades – to make their packaging more environmentally friendly.

Read More »Ditch the tea bag for fully blended compost

Food wrapper litter

Return to offender and tackling repeat litter offenders

Yesterday was Earth Day, the 50th such annual day when we are encouraged to think of our planet.

The official website of the movement says that “on April 22 we flooded the world with hope, optimism and action” about improving the earth’s future, environmentally.

Plenty of organisations took up the theme, including Surfers Against Sewage, based in Cornwall, which campaigns to improve the plight of oceans, particularly in relation to beaches.Read More »Return to offender and tackling repeat litter offenders

A pollution-free window into the future?

The “silly season” stories – as some on newspapers call them – usually start in June, when the studies that “state the bleedin’ orbvious” clog up the inbox. The studies reveal what we already knew – had we been bothered to stop and think about it.

The phenomenon came to mind via a Guardian headline this week: “Disbelief in big cities as pollution falls”, caused by coronavirus lockdown.

In fairness, the national news outlet which actively seeks out the environmental angle, was merely quoting residents in Delhi, remarking in their WhatsApp group how clean the air was (positively Alpine), without all that pesky polluting traffic.

Read More »A pollution-free window into the future?

Growing need for garden centres to reopen

Incessant questions to the daily Government press conference about coming out of coronavirus lockdown are helping nobody.

It’s pretty obvious that the Covid-19 cases and death tolls are not sufficient to let us all back out to some sense of normality: into cafes, our social clubs and to congregate.

But there seems to be a sensible surge towards re-opening garden centres as an essential need for our well-being (it is noted that, in France, anywhere that sells wine, cheese or croissants is seen as an essential service provider, so they can stay open. Wine eh? Who would have thought that would be an essential service in a crisis?). 

Read More »Growing need for garden centres to reopen

Don’t make bonfires the bane of summer – or before

For some reason, the anti-social brigade seem to think it is poignant to set fire to their garden or household waste on the hottest days of the year, when their neighbourhoods are desperate to open every crevice that passes for a window so as to let in some refreshing air.

These miscreants do not do us any favours by waiting until evening, either, when the heat and humidity just hang around, when it lasts longer at a low level. And when the smoke is going we have to close the windows and sweat ourselves to sleep.

Read More »Don’t make bonfires the bane of summer – or before