Category Archives: Latest News

Eastside Food Waste Project Up And Running

el-evans

The newest part-time member of the Environment Centre team, El Evans, has been working on a brand new project for the Eastside area of Swansea tackling food waste and recycling.

It has been reported that UK households waste around a staggering £12.5 billion worth of good food and drink each year, costing the average family with children around £700 a year. Wasting food and drink is not only a waste of money, it is also a waste of energy and natural resources which went into the production, storage, preparation, packaging and transport of that food!

El is working with the community specifically in St Thomas and Port Tennant areas, providing information about how to make the most of your food, use leftovers, recycle food waste and save money. She is visiting schools, community groups, churches and libraries providing help and advice. If you live in this area and would like to get involved, please contact El on (01792) 480200 el@environmentcentre.org.uk

New 2017 Environmental Events Leaflet Out Now!

env-events-2017

Hot off the press we have the new 2017 Environmental Events leaflet, jam packed with events in Swansea covering April – December. This year the booklet is in a slightly bigger A5 format to include the information in both Welsh and English. Paper copies of the booklet can be picked up from the Environment Centre 10 – 4 Mon – Fri, or 10 – 2 Saturdays, or at other tourist locations across the county, or you can visit this link to view the online version.

The booklet provides well over 200 events taking place in and around Swansea including guided walks, cycle rides, workshops, training courses, childrens activities, festivals and events such as our annual Green Fayre.  There really is something for everyone!

The Environmental Events booklet is produced by the City and County of Swansea’s Nature Conservation Team with funding from the Welsh Government Single Revenue Grant.

 

Volunteering Opportunities At The Environment Centre – Do You Have Some Spare Time?!

shop-volunteers

The Environment Centre has a fantastic team of volunteers who help run the Green Shop and cafe, we currently have vacancies on Fridays and Saturdays. Do you have spare time to volunteer?

This is a great opportunity to learn customer service skills, learn hygiene and service skills, find out about different eco-friendly products and local groups, and meet and greet different people every day in a friendly local charity. We offer volunteer opportunities to a wide range of people including people looking for a job, people on a work break, part-time workers, students, or retired people. We provide training and regular meet-ups with the other volunteers.

If you’re interested please contact Anita Houten T. (01792) 480200 or email education@environmentcentre.org.uk

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

ftf-17

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.

fairtrade-farmer

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!

swansea-ft-fortnight-2017

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.

20160621_104720

Swansea’s first ever Restart Party!

restart

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 sarah@environmentcentre.org.uk

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