We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, which could get a new lease of life after a simple repair. The trouble is, we have forgotten how to repair things ourselves.
A Repair Café can change this! It helps to grow a community by bringing people with special skills together and pass on valuable practical knowledge. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions because manufacturing new products and even recycling old ones uses energy that releases CO2.
There are repair cafés all over Devon – find your nearest one here on the Recycle Devon website.
Home composting is the most environmentally-friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste, plus it produces compost that can be used as an excellent soil improver. Although most local councils offer green waste & food waste collections home composting is even better because it does not involve transporting the waste
, with its associated environmental costs. Running a workshop is a great way to educate others and share tips!
Educate yourself on how to compost and the different types of composting methods – some handy advice can be found here:
- How to set up a compost bin guide.
- How to set up a wormery (for those without a large garden or lots of garden waste) guide here.
Alternatively, request support from a local garden centre or community garden to see if they will help facilitate the workshop.
Encourage attendees to register for their reduced- price composter from their local council here.
Litter pick / beach clean / river clean
Beach cleaning and river cleans are one way that you can help reduce the plastic pollution problem – and have some fun at the same time. Ocean currents often bring plastic pollution onto the shore. Does it make a difference? In the grand scheme of things we are unlikely to pick up the 8 million tonnes of plastic waste that gets into the ocean, but it is a fantastic way to engage local communities, make your local area more appealing and safer for wildlife. Plus, often the act of participating in a beach clean, can make people more conscious of their plastic consumption (and disposal!) in everyday life.
Check out what is going on in the South West with local beach cleans nearby or consider setting up your own and get in touch with Surfers Against Sewage to sort out the logistics and order a beach clean kit here.
Plastic Free Communities are springing up all over Devon, many of which organise regular beach cleans. The complete list can be viewed on the Surfers Against Sewage website. Some of the most active groups near the coast are listed below. Visit their websites to find out when the next organised beach cleans are scheduled:
- Plastic Free North Devon
- Plastic Free Torridge
- Sidmouth Plastic Warriors
- Plastic Free Lyme Regis
- Torbay Cleaner Coasts Initiative
- Plastic Free Dawlish
- South Hams Beach Clean Series
If you’re based in North Devon, see all the forthcoming beach cleans in North Devon and Torridge.
Devon County Council also provides a community litter pick pack that includes contact details for many of the private beaches in Devon and provides information on what to do with the waste you have collected.
Clothes / item swap event
Clothes swap events help take items you have finished with and puts them back into circulation. By passing your clothes, accessories or equipment on to others, you are conserving resources and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Reusing a product, rather than buying a new one, reduces the demands for water, energy and raw materials. This reduces the impact on the environment.
Clothes swaps are also great community events which can be fun and sociable whilst raising awareness of an important issue.
Check out this Recycle Devon guide on how to organise a clothes swap.
Run a Tuesday Tables event. Tuesday Tables encourages people to pass on items they no longer use so they can be given another life! Residents who take part simply put items outside on their front door, in the front garden or driveway each Tuesday and let neighbours know that they are taking part. This is a great way to reduce waste and encourage a sharing economy.
Set up a Community Fridge
Today, an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. Community Fridges are a public space where organisations and households can make perishable food that would have been wasted available to the local community. They are social spaces which help to reduce food waste, build trust locally and normalise the sharing of foods and other household items.
Have a look at this 5 step guide which provides an overview of how to set up a community fridge, or this resource from ChangeX that provides a valuable insight into the commitment involved and some tips on how to ensure success.
Not sure if a fridge will work for your community? Consider running a Food Surplus café which can be run as frequently (or infrequently) as required. Check out this handy guide here.
Set up a Library of Things
Why buy when you could borrow? Think how many tools you have lying in the garage that have been used just a handful of times. In fact it’s estimated that a drill is used for just 10 minutes over its lifespan yet most households own them!
Community Libraries of Things are a great way to reduce waste, encourage community sharing and inspire people to engage in social change.
ShareShed is world’s the first library of things and lucky for us, they’re based in Devon! They have 350 items available, such as tools, suitcases, household & gardening equipment, to borrow and since 2017 members have saved £52,000. You can find the library in Totnes, Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and South Brent one day a week. Find out more here.
If you can’t access the ShareShed why not set up your own? Take a look at this guide to setting up a library of things.