Category Archives: Latest News

Fairtrade Fortnight 2017: It’s Time To Put Fairtrade In Your Break!


There will be lots of events and activities in Swansea helping to raise awareness about Fairtrade this Fairtrade Fortnight, from 27th Feb to 12th March 2017. Fairtrade gives better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade to farmers and workers – you can help transform lives every day. Find out more at the Fairtrade Foundation website.

This year the theme is to put Fairtrade in your break, using certified products such as tea, coffee, chocolate, fruit and cakes.


Photographer: Theo Hessing/OBR Studios

Leonidas is a banana farmer. Before Fairtrade, he struggled to attract a price for his bananas that even covered his costs.

 ‘Before Fairtrade we were losing money… now we are getting a better price when selling our boxes of bananas. We used to sell our boxes and see no profit out of it; we were not calculating the exportation costs. Fairtrade has trained us, now we know the real price of a box and that allows us to negotiate.’

‘We feel valued, respected. Even the traders see that we are stronger in that sense.’

‘If it weren’t for Fairtrade we would have sold our land.’

You can find out more about Leonidas’ co-operative BANAFRUCOOP here and in this video featuring fellow BANAFRUCOOP member, Julio Mercado Cantillo.

Swansea Fair Trade Forum have put together a list of events and activities happening in Swansea – see the pdf poster below. Also here at the Environment Centre’s Exchange Cafe we will be holding a Fairtrade Cake Break on 1st March 2017 between 10am and 4pm. There will be freshly made vegan cakes on sale created with Fairtrade ingredients (only available while stock lasts!) alongside a selection of Fairtrade teas and coffees. Info about fair trade and the Swansea Fair Trade Forum will also be on display – everybody welcome!


Wising up to waste this Autumn

Eeya plastic free living


Green Shop During September we have been talking to customers in our Green Shop about helping to reduce the 100 billion disposable plastic coffee cups which go to landfill each year. 2.5 billion disposed of in the UK alone.

We were asking people to chose to reuse and buy one of our great new bamboo Ecoffee cups. We were also asking people to switch to reusing and refilling their Ecover, BioD and Suma household cleaning and toiletries instead. Last year our Green Shop customers saved 840 litre plastic bottles by using our refill station. This year we want to double this!

In the Exchange Café here at the centre we screened the Clean Bin Project during Zero Waste Week, an annual awareness raising week trying to reduce landfill.

September clothes swapWe also held a clothes swap to encourage local fashionista’s to swap instead of shop. Thanks to those who came! You saved 58 kg of clothes which otherwise may have gone to landfill.

Waste is a big issue for all of us. At the Environment Centre we often talk to people who want help in changing their lifestyles so they can lighten their impact on the planet. Recently we met Eeya who has been trying to reduce the amount she throws out since 2003. We feel inspired by Eeya every time she comes into the centre and we wanted to share how she feels and some of the things she’s done to reduce, reuse and recycle more. Over to Eeya…

I moved to the UK from the US with hardly anything, just 2 suitcases. Settling in Swansea in 2003 I was amazed that there wasn’t many recycling facilities. That was a surprise because ever since I was young we had been recycling plastic bags, tins, paper and many other things in America.

I’ve moved a lot since 2003, I’m on my 10th move. Every time I found myself taking things which I never used with me. I would always be thinking… but what if I need it? I was keeping clothes which were 4 sizes too small for me. I found myself getting annoyed and thinking I can’t believe I am wasting my time packing all this stuff! I started changing my thinking. I don’t enjoy shopping but when I do go, I spend more money on things so they tend to last longer. I tried the 10 item wardrobe and now I’m doing the 333 wardrobe which has helped me reduce my clothes.

Eeya plastic free livingNow I’m really trying to limit the plastic in my life. Plastic is everywhere and I’m always thinking, why are we just throwing it out? We talk about running out of oil but plastic is made out of oil and we just keep on making things with plastic.

Coming to the centre’s Exchange Café Big Problems Small Action programme of events has made me think about plastic more. In particular watching the Clean Bin Project. Seeing the bottle tops in the birds in the remotest places really made me think. I always thought that birds living near us had plastic inside them but to see these birds so far away that had swallowed it too was really shocking.

I’ve found some good alternatives which have helped me reduce plastic in my life. I’ve got a great deodorant recipe which has just 4 ingredients including potato starch, bicarb, coconut oil and an essential oil for fragrance. I’ve found that a good way to avoid all that wrapping is to find a good farmers market and take your own bags off course. My favourite find is my stainless steel Bento Box and Abeegoo wraps which has helped me avoid so much. Oh and of course, I use the Green Shop’s refill station, that was great to discover. I’ve changed my toothbrush to one of the bamboo Humblebrush from the shop because just think off all those toothbrushes out there, we use so many. The first toothbrush I used is going to still be out there when my grandchildren are around and even their grandchildren!

We’d like to thank Eeya and everyone who have come along to the centre and shared how they feel about waste. We are always interested in your thoughts and views on the issues facing the planet. We hope that if you haven’t visited our Green Shop in a while that you will come some time soon. We are open weekdays 10am – 4pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm. Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages for updates on other events coming soon. 

Our Green Shop is now open every Saturday from 10am – 2pm

shop saturday opening

We’ve been listening to feedback from our Green Shop customers and from the 6th of August we trialed opening on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm and we would like to thank everyone who came in and supported the Saturday trial.

We’re pleased to announce that we will now be open perminantly on Saturdays!

We’ve got a great range of refillable and plastic packaging-free goods which is expanding throughout this year. New in we have E-Coffee Cups, a reusable bamboo cup that will last for years and it will biodegrade. Our cafe will also be open so it’s a great opportunity to have a quiet cuppa, and for the Pokemon players we have a Poke Stop right outside!

Come down and make a stand against single use plastics and support a good cause, we’d love to see you.



Discover your community with a Green Map

green map

Have you picked up one of Sustainable Swansea’s Green Maps yet? The team based at the centre have produced a number of Green Maps for the community.

We asked Delyth Higgins, member of Sustainable Swansea Team, to tell us more about this unique mapping system in which Swansea is leading the way. Here’s what she told us…

Locally-led green map projects create perspective-changing community experiences which can act as a means for decision-making and action.

Mapmakers use universal icons  teamed with local knowledge to enter sites which show green living, ecological, social and cultural resources. For example, sites where you can recycle, green spaces and wildlife sites, places to buy local or organic food or fair trade products and also community centres, libraries and so on.

Sustainable Swansea has been at the forefront of green mapping in Wales and has published 13 maps.  These range from themed maps, such as the Faith map and Alternative Transport map, to community maps for areas such as Penlan, Gower, Pontarddulais, St. Thomas and Port Tennant, Morriston, and now, the latest one is for Central Swansea.

The team engages with local people and groups to see what entries they think should be on the map for their community as they have the local knowledge.  The purpose is;

  • To map the resources in the area
  • To increase community awareness
  • To inspire collective action and help people to be more active in their community
  • To help with regeneration and increase pride
  • To highlight good and recognise not so good sites

As a result, the Sustainable Swansea Team hopes that both the mapmaking process and the resulting printed map helps raise awareness of local resources and motivates people to become more involved in their local community.

The Green Map® System has been promoting sustainable community development since 1995 and promotes inclusive participation worldwide, using mapmaking as the medium.  The movement has spread to over 845 cities, towns and villages in 65 countries.

Copies of the Central Swansea green map are available from many places around the city centre including musuems, cafes, shops, YMCA, SCVS, Community Centres and of course at the Environment Centre.


Swansea’s first ever Restart Party!


We were very excited to host Swansea’s first ever Restart Party back in March in partnership with Sustainable Swansea. People turned up with their sick electronic gadgets and learnt how to diagnose,  troubleshoot and fix their electrical items which would have otherwise ended up in the bin. It was lots of fun and a really social way to help people learn or to share their skills. And so satisfying to know we can save those precious metals which live inside our electronic goods.

Delyth learning to solderAt the party Restarter Adrian, gave a quick demo on how to use a multimetre when diagnosing what was wrong with an unwell stereo speaker. Delyth learnt how to fix a broken connection in a mini desktop fan with a soldering iron from Restarters Bill and Peter.  Photoulla got advice on what spare part she needed to order to make her kettle boil again and said she’d come back to the next Restart Party to learn how to fit it. The simplest fix of the evening was replacing a fuse which made Ingrid’s lamp shine again.


Dai speaker fix (2)

Restart Party brings together people who have broken electronics and who would like to learn how to fix them, with people that know how to repair and who want to share their skills. It really is as simple as that. Restart community repair events, have been taking place internationally as a way to empower people to fix rather than bin their broken electronics. The Restart Party concept was developed by The Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics longer, by sharing repair and maintenance skills.

We’rIngrid fixed lampe pleased to have joined a list of global Restart Party hosts and we now want to build a community of Restarters here in Swansea so we can hold a regular Swansea Restart Party and help people learn repair skills and reduce electronic waste going to landfill.



If you can fix electronics and would like to share your skills or if you have a broken gadget that you’d like to learn how to repair, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Sarah on 01792 480200 or email

Want to know more about The Restart Project check out this video…


New Rainforest Mural Brightens Up Environment Centre Main Hall

m&s volunteers

Thanks to Neighbourly and Marks & Spencers #‎SparkSomethingGood‬, we have a brand new rainforest mural in our Main Hall. We hope you agree, it really brightens up the space and brings some vibrant colour to the traditionally “magnolia” walls. We’d like to say a big thank you the artists and M&S volunteers for all their hard work, come down and see how the space has been transformed!

m&s volunteers2 m&s volunteers3

Fairtrade Fortnight In Swansea: 29th February – 13th March 2016

fairtrade 2016

This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight theme is ‘Sit down for breakfast, stand up for farmers!’

As Martin Luther King famously said, ‘before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world’. Despite our dependence on farmers and workers for the foods, drinks and products that we love, about 795 million people are undernourished globally.

The people who grow the food we take for granted can’t always feed their own families. We can support farmers and workers to put food on the table for their families by harnessing the power of a Fairtrade breakfast.

When people are paid a fairer price, they can have more control over their lives when times are hard, and worry less about how they will feed their families. Whether it’s the extra cash in their pockets or being able to expand their farms to grow more food to eat, Fairtrade means many farmers and workers are able to fulfil a basic human need – to put enough food on the table for the people they care about, all year round.

Join Swansea Fair Trade Forum from 29th February to 13th March and support Fairtrade with a varied programme of local events:

Monday 29th February – Fairtrade Coffee Morning at Oxfam

Kick off Fairtrade Fortnight with a visit to the Oxfam shop on Union Street for a FREE cup of Fairtrade coffee or tea, from 10am to 12.30pm. For details, call Clare on 01792 654287.

Wednesday 2nd March – Traidcraft Stall at St. Mary’s Church

Pick up some Fairtrade goodies after the morning communion service. Everyone welcome. Stall open from 11.15am to 11.45am. For more information, call Pam on 01792 845942.

Thursday 3rd March – Fairtrade Breakfast at the Mansion House

‘SIT DOWN FOR BREAKFAST, STAND UP FOR FARMERS’ with the Lord Mayor and members of Swansea Fair Trade Forum from 10am. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast with a range of Fairtrade produce in the beautiful surroundings of the Mansion House. Then put your knowledge to the test with a fun Fairtrade quiz. Tickets are £3.50, including the breakfast. For more details and to book places, call The Environment Centre on 01792 480200.

Saturday 5th March – Fair Trade Walk to View the City

Stroll up Kilvey Hill to look down with pride on Swansea – a Fair Trade City and a City of Sanctuary. Meet in the Oxfam Books and Music Shop on Castle Street at 11.30am. Bring a picnic to enjoy at the top of the hill before walking back down for further refreshments with the Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group. FREE Fairtrade bananas for all walkers and Oxfam will fill flasks with Fairtrade tea or coffee. For details, call Phil on 01792 654710.

Monday 7th March – Traidcraft Stand at Killay Library

Find out more about fair trade and try FREE samples at Killay Library from 10am to 1.30pm.

Thursday 10th March – Fairtrade Wine Tasting Evening

A fun-filled evening at Red Café, Mumbles, starting 7.30pm. Sample some fantastic Fairtrade wines, kindly donated the Co-operative. Tickets are £2.50 with proceeds donated to Swansea Fair Trade Forum. For more information and to book places, call Red Café on 362122.

Sunday 13th March – Fairtrade Fair and Un Fair

Everyone’s welcome to round off the annual Fairtrade Fortnight celebrations with some fun and games at the National Waterfront Museum from 12noon to 4pm. Lots of family fun featuring live music, Fairtrade stalls, FREE samples and games with a hidden fair trade twist! The event has been organised through a partnership between the Museum, Oxfam Cymru and Swansea Fair Trade Forum. Admission is FREE. For more details, contact the National Waterfront Museum on 02920 573600.

Find out more about Swansea Fair Trade Forum here 

Environmental Events Leaflet 2016 Out Now!

environmental events 2015

The 2016 Environmental Events Swansea leaflet has now been published with around 250 events and activities taking place in and around Swansea from March to December. We have lots of copies here at the Centre so drop in and pick one up, and why not stop for a cuppa? You can also pick them up from libraries, the Civic Centre, venues and local tourist attractions.

Not only does the leaflet contain a list of environmental events, it also includes local produce market dates and a useful contact list for all of the organisations who have contributed to the listing in the leaflet.

It’s great to see so many environmental groups active in Swansea, from cycling a walking to wildlife and heritage, there really is something for everyone to get involved and engaged in our local environment.

A PDF of the leaflet can also be viewed and downloaded here