Join us for a fun evening at the REconomy Centre, connecting, laughing, imbibing - a good ole office party. Speed dating? Yes, of course. Everyone is welcome. Bring a little something to share and your business cards. Followed by Totnes Late Night Shopping madness. Good times. 🙂
Tips for Reducing Waste at Christmas from Ben Bryant, coordinator of our Waste into Resources group and Devon Community Recycling Network (DCRN)
Christmas is a wonderful time and a special opportunity to get together with friends and family to relax, offering some quality time and vital respite from the pace of modern life. Buying into a traditional Christmas with all the trimmings can easily lead us astray; we can easily forget what really matters. It’s not presents but your presence that counts; human kindness and the sharing out of love in big helpings. By just being thoughtful to others, you’re almost guaranteed a lovely Christmas. Speak with a kind heart and bring the love, laughs and good local food.
Christmas is such a great opportunity to encourage sharing and there are many ways to reduce your impact on Earth’s resources too … here are my tips for reducing waste over Christmas, a time when the average UK household generates at least 25% more rubbish.
The pleasure is in the giving, but what to give…???
I get mixed emotions seeing super excited children emerging from underneath a heap of presents, so overwhelmed that they do not even realise who they came from. Well perhaps less is more folks … so go for quality over quantity every time, things that will last and be cherished rather than presents for present’s sake. Just say no to tatt!
According to www.recyclenow.com more than 8,000 tonnes worth of wrapping paper is used in the UK each year, stretching out for 364,700km; that’s enough paper to reach to the moon if laid flat, and equivalent to 55,000 trees.
- Buy wrapping paper made with 100% recycled material
- Stick to tradition and put presents inside a Christmas stocking that can be personalised and reused year after year
- Avoid shiny foil wrapping or plasticized paper with glitter unless you can reuse it as otherwise it’s only fit for disposal. If paper tears easily and the paper fibres are visible it’s generally good for recycling
- Plain brown paper makes nice traditional wrapping that you can beautify, just adding a nice piece of ribbon. Brown paper can reused as a liner for your food waste caddy or put into your home composter
- Don’t feel like a miser for saving decent pieces of wrapping paper for next year or Christmas cards which can be cut up and used as gift labels, it makes good sense. By using ribbon or string rather than tape it’s easier to salvage materials for reuse
- Remember to remove tape, tags, bows and ribbons from wrapping paper when putting it out for recycling, as these can contaminate the material
- Try Furoshiki: traditional Japanese wrapping cloth for bundling or gift-wrapping all sorts of presents in a fun and easy manner. Imagine origami using fabrics. You can use simple or multifunctional pieces of cloth, the more beautiful the better to be passed on and reused again and again ideally for more furoshiki. Online demonstrations of the many different folds can be found on youtube or check it out on Wikipedia
It’s estimated that up to 1 billion Christmas cards are exchanged across the UK each festive season. So try to buy Christmas cards and other paper based products with high recycled content or better still try sending ecards.
Think small with Christmas cards as you’ll be saving big on cardboard.
A nice idea is to save and send the same card to the same person each year with previous messages included as reminders of years gone by, things personalised are all the better.
Reuse images and salvage what you can for Christmas tags the next year and the written half for shopping lists.
Recycle any Christmas cards that have been repurposed or reused already (see above) via the kerbside scheme, or check to see if a local retailer accepts cards for recycling.
Can you make your own Christmas decorations, Christmas cards out of scrap resources, or even your own Christmas crackers? For more info and inspiration contact your local Scrapstore; Plymouth, Torbay, Holsworthy and Exeter all have one; they often run Christmas decoration making workshops to get you into the spirit. Visit www.dcrn.org.uk/projects or email email@example.com to locate local community recycling projects close to you.
Plan food menus in advance and stick to your shopping list (listen up men). It’s so tempting to over buy food but around a third of food both in UK is wasted.
Remember to store products carefully to keep food fresh and freeze what you can.
Love Food Hate Waste campaign provides great recipes for using Christmas leftovers and gives excellent guidance on planning Christmas shopping, freezing and reusing leftovers plus saving energy.
Birds love Christmas leftovers too; any scraps of fruit cake and mince pies will go down a treat, providing energy and nutrients to help them through the cold winter months.
Be sure to home compost all those vegetable peelings and all uncooked food (except meat). For tips on home composting visit Devon Community Composting Network.
Planning shopping is an essential, make a list of what you need and what you’ve bought. Modern life is fast-paced, hectic and sometimes we don’t have the time to carry out the lifestyle choices we would like to make. A little early planning really can save the day.
Very often the joy is in the giving not the receiving so it’s easy to over buy if you don’t make a list, especially when it comes to spoiling the little ones.
Support your local town market and independent stores and help keep your money within the local economy.
Shopping with independents e.g. greengrocers allows you to buy loose, reduce packaging and adds to the community spirit at Christmas. Buy seasonal and locally sourced goods to reduce food miles and carbon footprint.
Hunt down your reusable shopping bags in advance and make sure there are some in your car boot or in your main carry bag before you head out to town or to the shops.
Consumer research estimated that last Christmas people spent an average of £425 on Christmas gifts of which £92 was spent on unwanted gifts.
Look out for presents made from recycled/sustainable materials or things with recycled content.
For upcycled and repurposed goods visit The ReSTORE Dartington (nr. Cider Press); a treasure trove of trinkets, jewellery, useful household items with original artist designs and numerous quirky gift ideas at affordable prices.
Consider calling a present pact between friends or family e.g. have a maximum value, say locally sourced only or only buy second-hand items. Instead focus on spending quality time together.
Experiences make brilliant Christmas presents as alternatives to consumables or ‘more stuff’. Arrange activities and get-togethers for loved ones, purchase event tickets, vouchers for therapies, adopt a cause, buy memberships to not for profit or charitable organisations such as DWT, National Trust or English Heritage. Support a crowd fund campaign or buy annual subscriptions to favourite magazines or contribute to season tickets to favourite places.
Choose to Reuse, don’t feel that it’s wrong to pass on an item you no longer use as a present to someone else who will like it and use it.
Take the charity challenge - buy all of your present form charity shops for proper retail therapy. You don’t have to buy new stuff for people.
Consider making presents for your friends and loved ones, that personal touch is far more meaningful.
Items you do have left over after Christmas can be donated to charity shops or given to someone in need. Try using www.trashnothing.com (aka Freecycle), website for local people offering and requesting items for free or fair price.
The key to your Christmas tree is to try to reuse what you have if possible. Natural trees rule OK, especially if they can be replanted outside (minimise sudden temp changes) or grown into a large pot which can be loved all year around. Farmed trees without roots can be sawn down to fit into your council garden waste collection (branches <10cm thick) or taken to a local recycling centre. Plastic trees are fine if you already have one and plan to reuse it every Christmas but try not to buy new.
Broken Christmas lights can be taken to local council recycling centres and recycled with small electrical items (WEEE). The same goes for any unrepairable electricals items that have been upgraded or replaced this Christmas.
Of course many of the older generation already do these things having been brought up in a more resource efficient era. So spare a thought for your elderly neighbours and help those less fortunate than yourselves.
Cracking the stress-free Christmas puzzle often comes down to time so perhaps block out a few hours in late Nov/ early December and plan your build up to Christmas carefully.
Remember the best option is to simply not to create the extra waste and to REDUCE; think less is more, as preventing waste from the outset is champion. Think Zero Waste and consider a New Year’s resolution to join the UK's Journey to Zero Waste Facebook group or take part in the plastic free initiative. You’ll becoming part of a rapidly growing movement of people who want to do more than just recycle.
Visit www.recycledevon.org for details of Christmas waste services offered by your local council, including revised collection dates and recycling centre opening times. The list of recycling bank locations may help you keep on top of the extra recycling produced over Christmas. Remember that local authorities can be overstretched with staff holidays over Christmas and especially around New Year; perhaps store your dry recycling for a few weeks after Christmas if you have room, to ease the pressure on council collection services.
Contact DCRN for recycling advice and information on how best to reduce-reuse-recycle across and please find / like / share Devon Community Recycling and Composting Networks on Facebook. If you are interested in recycling and resource related projects to help your community save Earth’s precious resources and reduce waste then please email firstname.lastname@example.org for info and support.
November 28 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm, Bogan House, Totnes
TTT's Inner Transition group supports another collaboration between Beyond Borders Totnes & District and Playback Theatre. Join us for these powerful improvised performances, exploring our common human experience of connection and disconnection with the land.
Tuesday November 28th, 8pm at Bogan House with Tarte Noire (women only cast but men welcome in the audience)
Suggested donation £8/10, all amounts welcome with proceeds going to Playback's work with refugee children in Plymouth. Arrive at 7.45pm for 8pm start.
After nearly a year of well-attended and lively monthly meetings to talk about projects and the need for community action to save wasted resources and encourage more local recycling for ‘resource circularity,’ the TTT Rethinking Waste into Resources group is poised to break out of the meeting room. The plan is to jump into action with bi-monthly public engagement ‘doing’ events to get out there and build upon ideas and to consolidate existing projects. This will give group members and the local community a chance to share skills and support the projects they care most about. The December meeting will do just that, with group members gathering outside the Mansion at the first Christmas a market Tuesday Dec 5th to offer up Boomerang Bags (reusable shopping bags) to shoppers, and engage townsfolk with the group's various projects, including urging people to make a pledge to the Refill Totnes campaign (and also complete a short survey on community composting). Please check the webpage or email Ben at email@example.com for more info, or call 07510 916384
These ‘out there’ meetings will be interspersed with bimonthly ideas meeting held on the first Thursday of each month at REconomy Centre as per normal mode of operation. The next meeting at REconomy centre will therefore take place on Thursday 4th January at 6:30pm.
Projects to date at their various stages of development include:
- Boomerang Bags (reusable bags in shops) - check us out on Facebook
- Refill Devon (reusable water bottle fill up scheme) 13 shops signed up already
- Community Composting for Totnes – we will be asking people to complete a short survey to give their support. After canvassing public opinion at the Forking Local Food Festival and the Transition Eco Fair it is clear there is considerable public support for Totnes Composting
- Film Night to screen ‘A Plastic Ocean’ in late March to engage local schools and families with the issue of marine ocean plastics and what we can do as a local community to help speed the journey to zero waste (thanks to Amy Allen for bringing this idea and voluntary capacity). We are currently seeking funded to enhance projects for 2018
The TTT Eco Fair on Saturday October 21st was a great opportunity to engage folk and spread the word and there was a good deal of positive feedback about the projects we presented. Ben Bryant from TTT Rethinking Waste shared a table with Jan O’Highway of the newly formed arts groups, and displayed an art installation from recycled plastic named the Four Seasons with the Autumn head featuring.
Furthermore there was considerable support for a community composting project in Totnes to help keep fertility in the soil locally and produce a high quality growing medium for local people, a Totnes Compost. So far nearly 100 surveys have been submitted which demonstrate the need for local solutions to deal with out resources. Proximity Principle is a cornerstone of good resource management. Why take our precious resource out of the district and see nothing coming back. The group is exploring various ways of closing the recycling loop and helping develop a circular economy locally. Watch this space.
Recycling Tip – Did you know? Residents in the South Hams can now recycle beverage cartons (aka tetrapaks) via the councils fortnightly recycling collection? Many people in the Rethinking Waste group were unaware of this service improvement but having checked the updated South Hams Recycling Guide we can confirm it is true and what good news it is too. The ACE Group of carton manufacturers (inc. Tetrapak) have invested a huge amount into trying to stimulate more carton recycling across the UK and recenelty built a reprocessing facility or mill for recycling cartons near Halifax.
Please see the image below taken from, from SHAMS Recycling Guide 2017 which clarifies what can go into your blue recycling sack, including cartons. More info at https://www.southhams.gov.uk/article/454/Your-Waste-Service
Location: Transition Town Totnes office, The Mansion, Fore Street, Totnes
Contract type: Employed
Work pattern: 1.5 days per week
Reporting to: TTT Coordinator
Rate of pay: £20.000 pro rata
Holiday: 25 (pro-rata for part-time staff) working days holiday in each holiday year (being the period from 1st September to 31st August). You are also entitled to receive your normal remuneration for a pro rata of all Bank and Public Holidays normally observed in England and Wales
We are looking for a part time Communications Officer to join our small vibrant team at the Transition Town Office in Totnes. The Communications Officer plays a key role in planning and delivering communications to key groups, such as supporters, volunteers or staff. The post holder will write, edit, co-ordinate and publish content across various channels, including the website, social media, print and online engagement materials.
Please see the role description for more information.
Closing Date: Wednesday 29th November, 5pm
Interview Date: December 5th
Application process: To apply, please email us your CV including contact information for 2 referees and a covering letter outlining how your skills and experience would enable you to fulfil the main responsibilities, skills and attributes in the job description. Please keep your letter to two sides of A4.
Email your CV and covering letter to: firstname.lastname@example.org