Tag Archives: Swansea
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!
We 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.
Now 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.
Swansea Vegan Festival 2016 will take place at The Brangwyn Hall this summer. To be held on Saturday 16th July, this will be the third festival held by local organisation Swansea Vegfest. After the unprecedented success of last year’s festival, it is set to be their biggest and best event yet. Doors open at 11am with the festival running into the night. Entry is £1, with under 12s free.
There will be around 70 different businesses and organisations exhibiting on the day, covering everything from delicious hot and cold food; sweet treats; ethical fashion; health and beauty and animal welfare. There will also be various talks, cooking demonstrations and discussion groups taking place throughout the day, as well as a kids’ zone with activities. Attendees can then party into the night with live music, films and a bar from 6pm.
Swansea Vegfest is a not for profit organisation. It consists of a handful of passionate volunteers who are on a mission to educate and support those interested in a vegan lifestyle and raise awareness of animal welfare issues. Organiser and local business owner Karen McCloy says: “The vegan scene in Swansea and South Wales is very much part of a growing trend, and we are confident that this is going to be our most successful event yet. We are thrilled to have so many local, independent businesses involved in the festival and we will be showcasing the wide range of products they have to offer – particularly when it comes to food! We’ve got all sorts, including Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, pizza, raw foods and cakes. There will be something for everyone on the day, whether you are a vegetarian or vegan, a foodie or just looking for a fun day out. You won’t be disappointed!”
For more information please search ‘Swansea Vegfest’ to find the Vegfest page on Facebook. Alternatively, visit swanseavegfest.co.uk or follow @SwanseaVegfest on Twitter.
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.
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