Tracey Smith on Newsnight Tonight?

JP: Unchallengingly, the thinking woman's crumpet

I might well have been, had I lived closer to the centre of the universe (London that is).

Late this afternoon, I received an invitation to appear on tonight’s Newsnight on the BBC; it seems they’re going to be talking a load of old rubbish…

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(Rubbish) Free Easter egg hunts on organic farms: reserve a place now!

The Soil Association
Great food for Great Britain (and anywhere else that wants it!)

What better way to spend Easter than on a family-friendly egg hunt on an organic farm?

Choco experts Green & Blacks are giving away 5,000 dark and milk chocolate eggs to smooth the way for the Soil Association-organised events, most of which are completely free – that’s my kinda afternoon out….

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WRAP Help Local Authorities Through the Economic Downturn

The Lichfield Family. (Photo pinched from the WRAP website)
The Lichfield Family. (Photo pinched from the WRAP website)

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent Rubbish Q&A Day here on the blog and thank you again for all of your thought provoking questions.

One particular question left me with strong concerns about the stockpiling of recyclable materials, in light of the blip on our economic landscape.

My research uncovered the plummet in the trading price of steel to £0.00 per tonne.  The knock on effects of this hiccup could be disastrous for the public and manufacturers alike, but I’m delighted to counteract that story with more promising news.

WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the Government’s waste advisor, is set to launch a new advice forum for local authorities to help them deal with lower prices and weaker demand for recyclable materials.

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Rubbish News: A Sign of ‘The Times’ Ahead

Fruit trees in the high streets
Might we have fruit trees lining our streets?

I was interviewed recently by esteemed journalist Laurel Ives on the subject of downshifting and the piece popped up today in the ‘Body and Soul’ section of ‘The Times‘.

The article was about another of my favourite subjects; downshifting. It’s entitled, ‘How to cope with life in overcrowded cities’ with the subtitle, ‘Daily life on our cramped little island is stressing us out, but there are plenty of ways to beat the crush’.

The story threw up some very interesting statistics that I immediately thought of in terms of the problems we face today with landfill sites and the ultimate disposal of our rubbish.

The article stated, ‘Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that population density in England is already almost double that of Germany and four times the figure for France. By 2056 our population will have grown from 60 million to 68 million – 1,349 people stuffed into every square mile.’

That’s quite some hike!

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Rubbish News – Market Traders Clean Up their Act

More cheese please Louise
More cheese please Louise

A simple recycling initiative has been introduced at the historic market site of Whitechapel in London.

Tower Hamlets council have provided the bustling market with designated bins that take organic, cardboard and other packaging waste and they are emptied twice a day.

It is hoped this will reduce rubbish in the area by up to 88% and the results are good, following the initial trial period of 3 months.

The scheme will allow for 9 tonnes of organic waste and 9.5 tonnes of dry recycling to be diverted to recycling facilities each week, which is a tremendous achievement.

Local councillor, Abdal Ullah gave his blessing to the recycling plan and told the BBC, “Markets by their very nature can create a lot of waste, when you take into account things like packaging and food products with a relatively short shelf life. We have introduced a number of new ways that all this can be recycled and we are very excited that none of the market waste will be sent to landfill.”

Read the full story.

Rubbish News – Southampton City Council Throw in the (Dirty) Towel

Don't overstuff bins with any of these tins - recycle!
Don't overstuff bins with any of these tins - recycle!

A rebellious Hampshire council has made a stand and rejected government guidelines to impose fines of between £75.00 and £110.00 to residents who overfill their bins.

The statement came from Councillor Gavin Dick, who told the BBC, “It’s incredible that law-abiding residents can get fined more than shoplifters”.

He added, “I can reassure residents that these measures will not be introduced. Southampton is a great example of what can be done to help residents dispose of their waste while making huge strides in helping the environment – all without the threat of whopping fines.”

Read the full story

Read Councillor Gavin Dick’s blog

NB: I have dropped Councillor Dick a line myself and will report back with more information on this story soon!

The Rubbish Solution’s in Transition

So what is a Transition Town (village, city, forest or island for that matter)?

In their own words, it is: – “A community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question: “For all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

It sounds like a bit of a mouthful at first I know, but once you get your head around the concept it’s pretty straightforward and by heeding it’s recommendations, you can make an immediate and considerable difference to reducing your rubbish too!

Be a shining green light in your community - make it a Transition Town!

Last night, I attended the inaugural meeting for my village to become a Transition Town (or should I say, a Transition Village, but the movement’s called Transition Town, oh you get the idea, don’t be picky)…

The Transition Town initiative was set up by a guy called Rob Hopkins, who is now in hot demand by feature writers up and down the country, all queuing to explore his concept of ‘everyday life, post-oil’; me included. His book, ‘The Transition Handbook’ sets out his vision of a solution.

So what is a Transition Town (village, city, forest or island for that matter)?

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A Bit About the Book

So I went right through the house, room by room. I went inside and outside too, giving the garden, shed and garage a thorough prodding in the process, but it needed more. I had to explain why I felt we’d all arrived at ‘peak landfill point’ and despite many great, green initiatives, why there was still so much apparent apathy surrounding the issue of recycling and rubbish reduction in general.

The concepts I explored rolled over so many other topics and I suddenly found myself inadvertently writing a guide to solving credit crunch problems, combating addictions to shopaholism and even how to have better nookie by reducing ones levels of stress!

My original manuscript from 'The Book of Rubbish Ideas' - coloured in by my daughter!
Some of my original manuscript from 'The Book of Rubbish Ideas' - coloured in by my daughter!

I was asked to write ’The Book of Rubbish Ideas’ at the beginning of 2008 and I foolishly thought it was going to be a doddle. I write and talk about sustainable living issues for a living, I’m never short of a simple, green idea and I lean towards those that save me money and favour the environment.

By the very definition of its title, penning pages about cutting down the amount of personal and household rubbish we produce, should be an easy extension of what I witter on about everyday!

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