News September 2020

STS projects
Plastics recycling initiative
Julie and Sue met with the manager at the Berry factory in Plenmeller to discuss the possibility of a local recycling project.
The company are keen to work with us because future taxes will incentivise increased use of post-consumer plastic recycling and involvement in the project will benefit the company's image. The manager offered to take any Number 2 plastic we can collect locally and deliver to the factory. The requirements are:

  • Sorted - no. 2 only
  • Clean - to standard required by Council recycling, rinsed but no need to remove labels
  • Squashed - by hand or feet! Practical requirement simply to reduce volume

In return we will receive goods made from recycled plastic - benches, planters etc were mentioned - for community use/benefit.
Berry global will be able to help with signage for the scheme and large tote bags to transport plastic.

How to do it?
It is important that volunteer effort and use of vehicles to collect and deliver is proportionate to the benefits
- environmentally and locally - of the scheme.

Education is needed. If we simply put collection containers in, for example, supermarket car parks in the town and invited people to put plastic in we fear we would get too much dirty and 'wrong sort' of plastic. It would also be difficult to gauge required frequency of emptying.

We came up with the idea of asking people to register with our scheme and then giving them plastic boxes or bags (made from recycled plastic!) to collect up No. 2 plastic at home and then we could do monthly (?) collections. There are concerns that people would not easily be able to store a month's worth of plastic bottles, but would we want to collect and quality control more often? Drop off points? Could we ask Berry employees to take our collections to the factory when going to work? Rewards? - like loyalty card/stickers - for each full box/bag collected.

We concluded that we need to do some kind of pilot to get an idea of volumes and interest.

Suggested Pilot - Feb 2021?
For four weeks on successive Saturdays we have a stall in Market square (or Sainsbury's car park, or outside Methodist Hall if coffee mornings have restarted) with educational material and boxes/bags to give to people who want to join scheme and we ask them to return with what they've collected the following week. Social media will be important in generating interest and enthusiasm for the project. By the end of this pilot we have to have a plan for collection/drop-off points and quality control going forward. Presentations/education sessions with groups can follow once we have a long term plan for the scheme - difficult to do this effectively until we have some idea of the scale.

Given Covid restrictions and the need to launch a coherent project we are planning on the pilot taking place in Feb 2021. In the meantime we will hold further discussions with Berry, prepare educational and promotional material, and social media contacts. Do get in touch if you have any suggestions as to how we might design and manage the project, are able to help with preparations for the launch, or can volunteer once we get going.

Please start saving No.2 plastic (HDPE, high density polyethylene) now! Look for the triangle symbol present on all plastic containers and lids. No.2 plastic is generally opaque or coloured and used for milk, cosmetics, detergents and household cleaner containers. I can help with storage and/or provide used large tote bags until the project launch...

Refill champions needed!
Last year, along with Sustainable Brampton and Sustainable Carlisle we launched Refill Hadrian's Wall and together recruited dozens of cafes and other business to the campaign to provide free tap water refills for people's water bottles. Covid-19 has caused a hiccup in proceedings but it is perfectly simple to provide the service safely and in compliance with current restrictions. From October 1st a refreshed Refill app and an extended campaign will be launched.
The new app will include places to eat, drink and shop with minimal plastic.
From a coffee on your commute, to drinking water on the go, or even shopping with less packaging, Refill puts the power to reduce plastic at your fingertips. The vision is for a world where everyone has the power to choose to reuse and refill wherever they shop, eat or drink.
Please get in touch if you are able to help with the campaign in our area.

Updates on other projects
Verge walks
have finished for this year but the extra visit to a lovely patch of ground in Bardon Mill, although not strictly a verge, yielded 64 species of wild flowers and grasses on a balmy August evening.

The feasibility study for the heat from mine water project at the Swimming Pool and Leisure centre is proceeding and so far things are looking possible... Work is on schedule for the final report to be produced in February of next year.

Hexham Fresh Food Bank
This great project started in Hexham by Ginnie O'Farrell as a response to the pandemic now has a network of nearly 200 growers contributing fresh produce to the 280 families who rely on the West Northumberland food bank. Here they are on national BBC news!

Tynedale Transformed

Tynedale Transformed is about re-imagining a fairer and sustainable future and making it happen.

It's about imagining radical change and planning how to make it happen. And it's about doing it together. We want local, regional, national and international voices, tackling topics that affect us all here in Tynedale.
Tynedale Transformed is about pushing the boundaries of what political participation looks like. Strategy games, treasure hunts, reading groups, and theatre workshops, talks, events, walks, lectures…. anything is possible. TT will be based on inclusivity and a shared wish to examine the issues facing our communities and our world, encouraging a politics based on creativity, open mindedness and comradeship. We want to transform the way we live together. We want to start the conversation.
Our aim is to draw on existing networks and connections, locally, regionally and nationally as well as providing a platform for new ideas new groups and individuals.
The theme of Tynedale Transformed's launch event, 2nd to 4th October, is: Post Covid19, What do we want our world to look like?

Tynedale transformed is a local initiative affiliated to a global network, 'The World Transformed', which is celebrating it's fifth anniversary with an online festival of workshops, games and presentations running throughout September

Have you got Will you have space to plant a tree?
I was going to suggest you apply to Northumberland for a free tree (individuals) or a free tree pack (schools and community groups) but the scheme has closed early due to demand, however you can register an interest in next year's scheme...

Localism for nature
Defra recently announced that Northumberland is to be one of five local authorities chosen to pilot a new nature recovery initiative. The pilots will enable local authorities to set out their own priorities for restoring and linking up habitats so species can thrive, and agree the best places to help nature recover, plant trees, restore peatland,, mitigate flood and fire risk and create green spaces for local people to enjoy. The new idea is to bring a broad range of groups together as previous schemes aimed at improving biodiversity tended to ghettoise different groups - farmers were rewarded for following stewardship schemes with nationally applied prescriptions whilst the county wildlife trusts often took a different, locally nuanced approach.

Zero Carbon Cumbria
A Cumbrian network of some 70 organisations across the county was successful in its application for a £2.5M Climate Change lottery fund. Zero Carbon Cumbria aims to make Cumbria the first carbon neutral county in the country.

A VONNE led group which applied to the same fund for a NE wide project was unfortunately not successful but hopes to source other funding and continue with some aspects of their project.

Climate Change Stories
Local poet Linda France has a residency throughout 2020 as the 'Climate Writer' for Newcastle University and New Writing North. She is writing, consulting with scientists and environmentalists, talking to readers, and considering the way the stories we tell ourselves shape our actions and ultimately our futures. Linda is running a book club which meets online every six weeks to consider the work of a writer tackling the subject of climate change. To sign up, or read Linda's blog on the books that have already been discussed:

Hats Off to the state of Sikim in India
The Times of India recently reported the encouraging news that United Nations has recognised Sikim as the first 100% organically farmed state in the world.

The Northern Real Farming Conference kicks off on 28th September.

Get in touch
Any questions, comments or contributions to this monthly e-newsletter?
Please contact 016977 47359

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359