Tag Archives: environment

Wising up to waste this Autumn


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. 

Hip hip hooray for volunteers

The centre joined Volunteers’ Week (1st to 12th of June) celebrations by hosting a Thank You BBQ to recognise our volunteers’ contribution. We really value their hard work. Some of whom have been with us for 20 years!

This year we are doubling our efforts to involve volunteers in every aspect of our work. We’re recruiting a team of young people to advise our trustee board, we’re developing new ways people can get involved including creating micro and virtual volunteering roles and we are going to be championing to our members good practice in volunteer recruitment and management.

We know that the majority of Swansea’s environmental community groups are volunteer-led and we want to say a huge Volunteers’ Week thank you to everyone out there who helps protect, conserve and enhance our local environment and make our communities more sustainable.

We also want to say a big thank you to Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS who are supporting us in developing our new volunteering programme. If you are running a group and need help and advice on anything to do with volunteering we recommend their service.

For this month’s edition of Green Light we wanted to highlight volunteering so we invited Julia Manser, Volunteer Development Officer at SCVS to tell us more about the its value. Here’s what she had to say….

Volunteering is the backbone of a civil society, it underpins every community, our community.

Volunteering provides people with experiences useful to developing work skills, provides opportunity to use skills developed through life and to become involved with causes that affect us all and offers a way we can be involved in actions to make differences and achieve positive change.

The variety of volunteering opportunities is as diverse as the people who undertake volunteering. It is a misconception to think that volunteers are older retired people. Recent research reported in Guardian last November suggested that the most prevalent volunteering age is 25 to 34 year olds. A report from the voluntary sector consultancy nfpSynergy, called The New Alchemy: How Volunteering Turns Donations of Time and Talent into Human Gold, says the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who have volunteered in the previous three months has increased from 15 per cent in October 2004 to 33 per cent in July this year.

We must not forget that large sections of our volunteers are in all age groups, from all backgrounds and are motivated by a range of reasons. Volunteering roles should be designed that will attract people for differing reasons, helping our charities and projects be sustained by the variety of people that will also be looking to benefit from these projects. Volunteering provides an opportunity to increase wellbeing of the population at large, those who are volunteering themselves and for the benefit of the environment as a whole. Figures from 2014 suggest there are 931,000 volunteers across Wales. Volunteers provide a range of services and enjoy an array of experiences within their volunteering

Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS provides a service to people looking to find the right volunteering opportunity for them and to organisations looking for volunteers. For those who are interested in finding our more about the range of 300 + volunteering roles in the local area and for people who wish to talk through the series of options with a trained advice and guidance worker, Swansea Volunteers Centre offers face to face and telephone appointments you can pre-book by calling 01792 544000.  We upload local volunteering opportunities on the Volunteering Wales website www.volunteering-wales.net

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of volunteers that began in 1984 and takes place every June. Up and down the country there have been events aiming to recruit, reward and recognise volunteers. This year the week was extended in order to mark celebrations associated with the Queen’s 90th birthday. The Queen has been patron to more than 600 charities and organisations and so the week has been extended to a fortnight to encompass a Patrons lunch on 12th June.

Charities across the country are hoping that Volunteers Week 2016 provides an opportunity for people thinking about volunteering to make contact and add their voice to the collective value, that is voluntarism. Does that include you?

Julia Manser SCVS Volunteering Services Team

Further reading:






What’s new at The Environment Centre

From July we will be hosting a series of discussions and activities for you to exchange ideas and take collective action. These will all take place in our café which we are renaming The Exchange Café.

The centre is going to be focusing on some of the biggest issues the planet faces today and encouraging people to take small actions which can make a big difference.

Plastic, is it so fantastic?

We think reducing it is one of those big issues. Throughout July this will be our focus. We hope that you will follow us on twitter and share on facebook to help us raise awareness of our need to reduce our plastic habit.

We hope you will join us for our first Exchange Café event on the 10th of July from 3-6pm when we will be hosting a community discussion on how we can reduce plastic in Swansea.

Want to see what other events we have planned at the cafe, take a look at the programme:

Exchange Cafe Programme

Our shop is also going to re-launch in July too. This year we’re going to be taking sustainable shopping to another level and we hope that you will like our new packaging free ethos. More will be revealed in our July newsletter. Right now you can refill household cleaning products at our Ecover Refill Station, which is unique to Swansea, so come and fill your boots….ooops, we mean bottles!