Mingling with Bristol’s green minds

On Thursday 7th August we headed down to Bordeaux Quay to the Green Mingle to meet some of the people who are making Bristol European Green Capital happen. The event is on the first Thursday of every month and gives like minded eco-concerned individuals the chance to mingle and find out what is going on in our green city. The atmosphere was great and after grabbing a beer at the bar we delved into the crowd to try and do our best mingling. We were fortunate enough to meet some lovely people, including Demian, a surveyor from Gleeds, who is trying to encourage more sustainable practices in his firm. We also met the lovely Anna from Pukka Herbs who spoke to us about the possibilities of reducing waste from drinks companies by returning glass containers to be refilled and the potential issues with chemicals and bacteria that make this very difficult. Anna also discussed some of the important changes bigger supermarkets are making to the way they treat waste and plastics and why it is important to recognise this as well as promoting local businesses. This is something we will be looking into further very shortly.

We were then introduced to the couple in the photo below. Edward works at Nextek- sustainable solutions for polymers and recycling, and his wife is part of the Earth Champions Foundation. Edward talked to us about a new type of plastic that is currently being trialled in Kent. Apparently the reason that black plastics can’t be recycled is because the infra-red systems used in mechanical recycling can’t respond to black plastic effectively to sort it. This new type of black plastic which is actually a dark shade of red, will provide a solution to this conundrum. He also told us about the possibilities of certain types of plastics being glow in the dark to make sorting plastics even simpler.

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Overall the evening was good fun and we met some very interesting and approachable people. We will definitely be making an effort to attend as many of the mingles as possible and would recommend that anyone who has an interest in European Green Capital and wants to find out more should attend one of these evenings too!

 

Express yourself: Friends of the Earth in Bristol

So last night we spent the evening at Friends of the Earth’s Express Yourself Event – hosted by the lovely Melanie Rideout. From 7.30pm Bristol Folk House filled with people wanting to hear good music, listen to ideas and solutions whilst eating free cake. Hidden away down an alley off Park Street, the venue’s flower covered decking shone in the candlelight. The turnout was marvellous -in the event room there were more people than seats! It was great to meet people from all avenues, some directly involved in activism others just curious about the environment and have the opportunity to explain some of the things me and Terri have been up to… Continue reading

Plastic nibbles?!

Not so long ago we posted about the negative impact using microplastics in the personal care industry has on us and the environment, but particularly on the planet’s oceans. Whilst microbeads in toothpaste and scrubs is largely to blame for microplastics presence in the habitats of fish, that presence can also be attributed to the way bottles and other plastic break down in the conditions of sun and sea. This short 2 minute video by MinuteEarth explains it all very nicely so take a look! Back to beauty – the Cosmetics Compliance Summit in October is the perfect opportunity to raise the issues surrounding microbeads and plastic in Cosmetics, so don’t forget to send a letter to your MP asking for their use to banned like many states in the U.S. have done!

Legs, lungs and the heart of Bristol: Green Capital 2015

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Source: http://www.lowcarbonsouthwest.co.uk/

What is the anatomy of a green capital? 
Arnolfini: Wednesday 9th July

You can’t have healthy people on a sick planet. Thomas Berry

Cities with their polluting cars, litter dropping humans, and resource draining habitats are good for our environment. Confining people to densely populated areas allows more space for wildlife and natural environment to grow in the spaces outside of the city, free(er) from the trample of humanity. 80% of the UK’s population now lives in urban areas but as Marcas Grant, chair for the evening at the Arnolfini, points out cities have built high risk factors into the lifestyle choices they present. As the city that has won European Green Capital 2015, Bristol has brought together a room of people concerned with turning the environment that killed more people with its air pollution than it did with its car collisions into a sustainable thriving city.

The focus of the evening is on Bristol as a human body, and each body part having its own important function in creating a healthy city and a healthy population along with it. First up, Bristol’s mouth in the form of Angela Raffle (Public Health Consultant / Bristol Food Policy Council) talking about our food in Bristol and how this is an integral part of us all being healthy citizens. Angela talks of the work that The Bristol Good Food Charter do in order to ensure everyone is ‘able to enjoy good food.’

Next up; Bristol’s nose, Alex Minshall (Bristol City Council) on air quality. He believes the way forward is reducing the amount of vehicles we rely on and moving onto electric power. Bevis Watts (Avon Wildlife Trust) becomes the lungs, talking about the abundant ecosystems in our city. In Bristol we have 19 of the 24 habitat types that exist in the UK, something we need to do our best to preserve through partnerships in schools and communities. He also touched on the importance of nature for our mental health and the benefits of spending time outside of our concrete worlds. Continue reading

Clean face? Dead fish.

So two of the reasons we’re making our own beauty and hygiene products are to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we throw away or put into recycling and to reduce the impact of harmful chemicals such as BPA which leach into the products and onto our skin but there’s a third. Inside the bottles of lotion and toothpaste lurks plastic in the form of microbeads and polyethylene. I was pretty surprised when I found this out and immediately stopped buying my favorite Soap & Glory ™ body scrub – a very sad day. The tiny polyethylene and polypropylene microbeads that make my arms and legs so silky smooth can’t be filtered out by water systems so stay in lakes and oceans poisoning fish and whatnot.

It’s not just  sea life these beads are harmful to. The beads act as magnets for other toxins and chemicals which if eaten by fish enter into the food chain, ending up in humans. Thankfully they shouldn’t be around for much longer! In June 2014, Illinois became the first U.S state to introduce a phasing out of products containing the beads. Off the back of campaigning by 5Gyres major players in the hygiene and cosmetics industry have committed to removing microbeads from all their products – cos who wants to wash their face with plastic? Karin Ross of the Personal Care Products Council who helped draft the legislation in Illinois says ‘it’s a positive first step’. She’s certainly right on both counts; the move is positive and it’s only a first step.

The L’Oreal group, which includes brands The Body Shop, Garnier, Diesel and Redken as well as others, is set to have the microbeads phased out by 2017. Johnson & Johnson, aka Neutrogena and Piz Buin, have set the same date. Unilever which includes consumer brands Dove, Simple, Radox and St Ives, is aiming for 2015. A full list of companies following suit can be found here.

Alternatives which are being researched include cocoa beans, Continue reading

Thirsty business at Big Green Week 2014

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We thought it was going to be a launch of a refillable stainless steel bottle, something new Frank Water had come up with to encourage multiple use bottles rather than going for disposable items. But as it turns out that’s not the event we sat through.

Annabelle Hunt, volunteer turned FreeFill coordinator, informed us that a lack of stainless steel bottle factories in Britain meant the idea to develop a reusable bottle from this material is currently only an idea. The other option was to import bottles from China but as they arrived in bubble wrap and plastic packaging this seemed to defeat the purpose. So instead Frank Water advocates their BPA free, reusable water bottles, made in the UK. Combined with their Free Fill initiative at festivals, Frank Water has reduced costs and waste for festivals across Britain.

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The organization aims to educate people about hygiene and water sanitation, whilst providing infrastructure and initiatives that address water related issues particular to the area they are set up in. So far over 200,000 people have benefited from their education programme and successful projects can be seen through partnerships as far away as Andhra Pradesh, India. Funding comes from a whole bunch of sources including H&M, The Adventurists, Santander as well as others.

But back to plastic- It was surprising to find that there aren’t any UK based producers of stainless steel bottles so I sent some e-mails round to the some UK based companies that sell stainless steel bottles on a eco-friendly basis to find whether theirs where made and what packaging they arrive in. I’ll post an update with their responses, hopefully by the end of the week.

Reducing the embarrassing amount of rubbish that is strewn across the fields at the end of a festival is definitely a job that needs to be done, and if it keeps people hydrated at the same time then all the better!

This very pleasant monster sat just outside the boat that the presentation was given on.

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