Eco Blog

7 Amazing Sustainability Projects in Brighton You Never Knew About

7 Amazing Sustainability Projects in Brighton You Never Knew About

Brighton. The most hipster city in the world. We’re also pretty environmentally conscious. Following the success of the Climate Strike march in February 2019, slowly but surely ideas are changing about how to keep our planet healthy and happy. Here’s a list of seven eco-projects going on in our town you probably had no idea were happening...

1. Hubbub Foundation | City Centre

Hubbub have teamed up with the B&H council for their project #streetsahead, hitting our seaside city in full force. After finding out 80% of plastic found in oceans comes from land, they took a creative approach to educate citizens about appropriate disposal of litter. Through bold bright colours and catchy tagline’s like “For fishes sake — Don’t drop litter!”, this project has littered the streets of Brighton with positive environmental messages that stick in your head! They also carried out an enlightening social experiment, testing if passers-by would pick up dropped litter and produced a short video which can be viewed here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcTJsX2lRug — Just goes to show educating others doesn’t have to be boring, and a little creativity goes a long way!

2. The Brighton Waste House | 58-67 Grand Parade

This award-winning project started out in 2012 involving over 700 students, builders, carpenters and ecologists. Now completed, this ‘living laboratory’ for ecological design is Europe’s first permanent public building made up of over 85% discarded materials. It is also an EPC ‘A’ rated low energy building and is a model used for investigating strategies for constructing contemporary and low-energy permanent structures in the future. Situated on Grand Parade, it's a monument that's worth the visit and exemplifies Brighton’s eco-friendly ethos!

3. Fareshare Sussex | 7 Westergate Road

Next on our earth-happy hot-spot list is Fareshare, a charitable project run by city gate community projects. Their work has two main objectives; tackling food poverty and tackling food waste — two aims that encapsulate the phrase ‘two birds one stone’. Fareshare receives surplus food from food companies that would otherwise go to waste, delivers it to local charities in refrigerated vans by a team of dedicated volunteers, and transforms it into thousands of meals or food parcels every week. In the last year, they’ve worked with the food industry to redistribute 468 tonnes of food, which has contributed towards more than 1 million meals and helped to reduce CO2 emissions by 223 tonnes. Simple and ethical ideas like this are an amazing way to help the hungry and save the planet from excess waste!

Additionally Fareshare Sussex work supporting people into employment, and they
re-distributed 564 tonnes to 122 charities last financial year! 

4. Freegle | Online

Freegle, Brighton’s very own freecycling platform, is an online community that encourages the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle — by giving away unwanted items for free! They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and this is certainly endorsed by Freegle, whose main aims are to reduce demand for the new, and appreciate the used for all it has left to offer. Thinking about that old microwave sitting in your garage? Get online to Freegle to give it another chance at life!

5. Earthship | Stanmer Park

Earthship Brighton was the first ever self-sustainable building to be built in the UK. This off-grid building project started in 2002, and now boasts the capacity to heat, cool, power itself through solar energy, collect its own rainwater and treat waste using plants instead of chemicals. Earthship Brighton is not only a monument of sustainability in our city but has also focused on educating others in reducing their carbon footprint and modifying individual behaviours for the better of our planet... It also looks incredible!

6. Brighton Pride | 2nd-4th August 2019

The UK’s biggest pride festival lands on our stoney shores every year, and plans have been put in place to ensure that us humans won’t be the only ones celebrating. Pride organisers have announced they have created a long-term strategy encouraging all businesses across the city to support their green agenda. They will also be encouraging attendees to make use of the many recycling points available across the festival and working to reduce as much single-use plastic as possible.

7. Butterfly Bank | Brighthelm Gardens

Brighton & Hove city council have teamed up with Brighthelm’s trust gardening group and youth ranger volunteers from Sussex Wildlife Trust to plant over 1,000 downland plants in the heart of Brighton. The chalk bank is 17m long and is made of 60 tonnes of chalk, attracting a huge variety of butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. At a time where bee populations are at serious lows and posing serious risks to the future of our planet, projects like this are one way that we humans can help out the little guys.

An Eco-Friendly Guide To Brighton

Brighton is leading the way with its eco-friendly conscience, something that is reflected in its huge range of ethical shops. Our city is filled to the brim with second hand goodies, handmade treasures and multitudes of cafes boasting their eco-friendly morals. At times it can be overwhelming, so where should you start?

Here’s a breakdown starter-kit for eco-friendly shopping in Brighton:

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Small Batch Coffee: Brighton , 17 Jubilee St, BN1 1GE

They started off as a small family run business, and despite their growth they still treat their workers like family! Their coffee comes from 20 countries, that fit into their Farm to Cup philosophy. They aim to develop long term relationships with their coffee producers by buying from them year after year, visiting them to understand the challenges they face and paying sustainable prices significantly higher than the Fair Trade minimum.

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Brighton Repair Cafe: 33 Southover Street, Hanover Centre,BN2 9UD

Giving things a new lease of life; repairing and reusing is the motto of The Brighton Repair Cafe. They are open on the last Saturday of the month (apart from December) and with help from craftsmen and volunteers; they can fix everything from clothing to electronics. Plus you can have a cuppa, while you learn some new skills on how to extend the life of your beloved items!

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Wolf and Gypsy Vintage: 30 Sydney Street, North Laine, Wolf & Gypsy Vintage, , BN1 4EP

Shopping secondhand is one of the best ways to ensure your spending habits are eco-friendly. The crew at Wolf and Gypsy Vintage not only repair worn items and source incredible vintage bits but they also sell beautiful new pieces of clothing.  They love to collaborate with local artists and specialists, so keep your eyes peeled for unique campaigns.

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Dowse Design: 27 Gloucester Rd, BN1 4AQ

At Dowse Design they believe in collaborating with people they know are fairly paid for their work. Their Brighton shop showcases their range of jewellery, homewares and more alongside other pieces of work from great independent small businesses & designers. So you can rest easy, knowing you are supporting the incredible talent that Brighton has to offer.

Need more tips for eco-friendly shopping?

Check out ‘The Pebble Guide to Brighton’ ; a simple way to check what great eco shops and community projects are happening around Brighton.

Have you heard about ‘The Brighton Elephant’?

The Brighton Elephant

You know the scene… you get off the bus in Brighton, ready for a great Friday night on the seafront. You get to the bar, order your drink and maybe think about getting something to line your stomach for the impending night ahead...

A great big plastic cup comes flying towards you. It feels flimsy in your hand. It looks and feels cheap. You know you won’t be allowed to use it again, and you can’t see a recycling bin in the surrounding area.

Or you decide to go for a walk along the seafront. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in your beloved town, and you feel like being a tourist. You start off with a coffee to walk along the beach with. You receive your plastic lined cup and wonder if the vendor uses biodegradable cups. They don’t. Now what? You go get a selection of lovely local sea food – some lovely prawns, some jellied eel and maybe some pickled whelks! Why not! It’s the weekend! Oh, but that’s in some nasty polystyrene too. And again, you can’t see any recycling bins nearby.

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So you sit on the beach… with your plastic cup full of beer, or your polystyrene container full of seafood. And as you finish up, you pop it next to you, and continue to look out to sea. A gust of wind blows your container towards the sea. You jump up, conscious not to let it go in. You wouldn’t want some poor sea creature to suffer because of your single use plastic, so you chase after it and catch it. As you straighten yourself up, you look around for a recycling bin. You can’t see any, so you resign to carrying it until you find one.

 

You don’t find one, so you prop it on top the overflowing bin you can find, and hope it gets picked up soon, before it gets blown into the sea.

You carry this plastic container with you all night, thinking about it, heavy on your mind. You wonder if the next bar will serve your drink or meal in plastic too.

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“What’s the solution?” you ponder. Bring a container with you? Maybe a reusable coffee cup! Or you could keep cutlery in your handbag! And one of those modern new steel straws you saw at the Open Market the other day!

That’s it, you think. I’m going to change this mess, even if it’s just me.

You feel empowered. You’re making a change.

Because you love your town, and you want to care for it.

One reusable item at a time.

 

We suggest a few of the following as a starter kit to getting you on the way to being plastic free whilst out and about.

Four Brighton Charities We Love And Think You Will Too!

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We want to share some amazing charities we work with and a few that we think are doing great things in Brighton and the surrounding areas. We get so much pleasure in partnering with charities that are doing good and we really want you to see what they are up to!

  • ONCA Gallery supports the wellbeing of people and places by increasing awareness of, and engagement with, environmental and social challenges. They partner with local and international artists to embrace a diverse perspective and try to foster more inclusive creative practices. They are a space for meeting, thinking, learning and celebrating art!

    Contact the ONCA Gallery: 01273 607101

  • Sussex Prisoners’ Families is a community interest company which supports local families to cope emotionally and practically with the imprisonment of a loved-one. They offer support and advice to families as well as training and awareness-raising for professionals so that they can better meet families’ needs.

    Contact Sussex Prisoners’ Families: 01273 499843

  • The Railway Land Wildlife Trust consists of a beautiful nature reserve and The Linklater Pavilion. They inspire environmental sustainability by bringing nature to the heart of Lewes. They aim to achieve this goal by running the Linklater building as a community- based hub for the understanding of a sustainable environment, providing inclusive outdoor learning using innovative approaches and supporting the local authority in managing the Railway Land nature reserve for the whole community.

    Contact the Railway Land Wildlife Trust: 01273 477101

  • Sussex Oakleaf provides a range of support services to people with mental health needs, those with a personality disorder and individuals at risk of homelessness. They empower people and promote independence by providing recovery focused community wellbeing services, residential care, peer mentoring, housing support and volunteering opportunities.

    If you need to speak to someone about your mental health out of hours then please use the following numbers.

    • Sussex Mental Health Line – 0300 5000 101

    • Samaritans – 116 123 or jo@samaritans.org

    • NHS, non emergency number – 111

    • SANEline – 0300 304 7400

Tips For A Sustainable Halloween In 2018

Tips On How To Have A Sustainable Halloween In 2018!

Create A Reuse-able Costume!

Why not tailor your halloween costume to your everyday outfit tastes? A Halloween costume can be for life, not just Halloween. Or better yet, why not use second hand clothes to bring your spooky idea to life?

Use Eco-Friendly Halloween Treats

Cheap Halloween sweets are usually covered in plastic and won’t biodegrade any time soon. Consider throwing your own ingredients into a cauldron and making toffee apples instead! 

Say Boo To The Plastic Candy Bucket

Those plastic candy buckets will end up hanging around long after Halloween. Try going trick-or-treating with a different kind of container, get imaginative with a pillow case, laundry basket or even just use a normal handbag. 

Local Pumpkin Pie

Consider researching your local pumpkin patch this year or your nearest farmers market that sell pumpkins! Not only will you be cutting carbon emissions from transportation significantly, but often you’ll find all different shapes and sizes of pumpkins which will only add to the creepy factor once it’s been carved!

Check out a few places in Sussex that you could pick your own pumpkin! Here.

Meaning Conference Fringe Event: Lunchtime Brighton Beach Clean

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 from 12:00-14:30

From the Palace Pier, Brighton (in front of the Sea Life Centre)

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Plastic is a man made invention and it won’t simply deteriorate while we’re not looking - plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. While everyday plastic bags can take 10-1000 years to decompose, the vast majority of plastic used on packaging ends up floating in our oceans and polluting our land, instead of being reused or recycled. Single use plastic is without question, killing our planet and our oceans.

Right now an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic, everything from plastic bottles and bags to micro-beads, end up in our oceans each year. That’s approximately a truck load of rubbish a minute. Not only does this amount of plastic waste hurt our planet, but it hurts other living creatures; many marine organisms can’t distinguish common plastic items from food. Animals who eat plastic, often starve as they can’t digest it and it fills their stomachs, preventing them from eating real food.

Want to make a difference? Join Creative Bloom and Brighton’s Surfers Against Sewage in cleaning up Brighton Beach on the 13th November from 12-2:30 - an event which is part of the Meaning Fringe. We are taking direct action against plastic pollution and will prove that anyone can make a difference when they work together. There will also be a short talk at 2pm which will further discuss marine plastic pollution and what you personally can do to stop it.


And if you needed any more reason to fight for the end of plastic pollution- a recent study by Sarah-Jeanne Royer et al, has discovered that plastic wastage, when exposed to sunlight, will emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.  

So come help us fight against plastic waste and do your bit to make a difference.



How to Reduce Plastic Waste at Festivals and Events

The hot British Summer is in full swing and we're well into the festival season now. If you're anything like me, you'll love soaking up the summer whilst enjoying a bit of music and culture outdoors. I recently joined a 40,000 strong crowd for a music festival in London. By the end of the evening and a couple of beers down, I was so swept up in the excitement of the headliner's encore, that I thought I would be going home with a lingering sense of contentment (and perhaps some ringing in my ears). As the crowds descended into the evening, the feeling quickly disappeared as I was followed by an overwhelming sound of crunching. As I looked back, I was shocked to see a dense carpet of plastic pint glasses strewn on the ground, and being crushed underfoot. Sadly, this scene is all too familiar during the festival season.

At Creative Bloom, we wanted to challenge the issue that has become a norm amongst festival-goers and organisers. There are many actions that we can take to have some fun in the sun in a more environmentally responsible way. We partnered up with 'Surfers Against Sewage' and the 'Paddle Round the Pier' event and some other fabulous local activists to try to tackle the issue.

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Our project began last year, when members of Creative Bloom along with SAS volunteers, conducted a waste audit at the 2017 Paddle Round the Pier event. This included a review of food and drinks packaging and promotional material that was being supplied by stallholders, availability of segregated recycling bins and guidelines of how and where waste should be deposited. After conducting this audit, guidelines were created to help to inform stallholders of ways to help reduce the production of plastic waste at the 2018 Paddle Round the Pier event.

Although some stallholders found this task a little too tall, many were up for the challenge. Alongside Surfers Against Sewage we helped to arrange two beach cleans after the event and our very own Stuart Davies and local designer Claire Potter held talks throughout the weekend about how to reduce plastic waste as the Hove Local SAS Representatives. During this year's event, Jimmy from Bloom also held a second waste audit to see ways in which the festival had improved since last year, chatting to some attendees & stall holders and discussing their thoughts on the issue.

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These are only small steps that have been taken, but already we have seen a great reduction in the amount of plastic waste created at the Paddle Round the Pier Event. The festival's organisers, stallholders and attendees have shown that with the right attitude, events both large and small are are able to achieve this reduction in plastic waste. We are aware that this is part of a process to try to tackle the issue, but small actions and conversations are a great starting point to help resolve the current plastic problem within Brighton and Hove.

It’s very simple to do - start your own conversation and watch change start to happen.

We GLITTERALLY can't believe it! Nursery cuts microplastics

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We've been hearing all about the recent ban of plastic microbeads in UK cosmetics due to the damage it can cause to marine life, but did you know that glitter can be just as responsible for aquatic pollution?

So when, Brighton residents, you last shook your beard/bed/coffee in the months after Pride, just consider that these microparticles turn up just as easily in our oceans, leading to growth problems in sea life, amongst other issues.

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We are, however, beginning to see some very welcome changes. Tops Day Nurseries group have recently called out for a glitter ban in their classrooms in the run-up to Christmas, now using environmentally friendly alternatives such as lentils and rice. It won't make any difference in the development of a child's learning, but it could make a difference in our oceans if we all follow suit!

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Don't worry, we don't expect everyone to turn up to Pride 2018 covered in lentils and rice, but there are some environmentally friendly glitter alternatives that you can choose from. There is an increasing number of companies creating bio-degradable glitter from compostables and renewable resources such as Eco Glitter Fun, Eco Stardust & Glitterlution

 

 

Although we're well aware that cutting out conventional glitter will not solve the issue of plastic pollution, it will hopefully set a goal for others to follow and create a conversation about more hidden pollutants in our homes. 

Rubbish at Recycling? The Truth About Brighton & Hove

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If you live in Brighton & Hove, I’m sure that you would make the same assumption as most when it comes to the city’s recycling. We are the only city in Britain that is home to a Green Party Constituency so Brightonians must be green?

Surely we would have some of the best recycling statistics of the nation?

You may be surprised to hear that in 2014/15 Brighton & Hove was ranked 337th out of 351 English authorities for the performance of household recycling, composting and reusing - with only 24.6% of household waste being sent to council waste management. Top of the list was South Oxfordshire District Council, managing to send 66.6% of their household waste to council organised recycling, composting and re-use management.

However, if you walk from one end of Brighton’s city centre to the other, you will come across an abundance of environmentally driven restaurants, activists, and pub conversations. This could lead you to the conclusion that Brighton has one of the most green-conscious communities in Britain. So why isn’t this reflected in the statistics?

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If you take a look at the list above and compare the recycling capability of South Oxfordshire and Brighton & Hove, you can see that the number of materials that can be recycled in each city varies greatly. So if the only plastics that can be picked up from your home to be recycled are bottles, where do you turn to when it comes to drinks cartons, tin foil, and other recyclables?
 

OUR RECYCLING SOLUTIONS

One answer lies in Brighton & Hove’s well known make-do and mend mentality which stretches as far as the resident’s approach to recycling. In the true community spirit of Brighton and Hove, 3 volunteers from Hanover Community Centre began to collect recyclable waste around residential and business areas in 1990 and are still running 27 years later under the name of Magpie Recycling Co-operative Ltd. Magpie Recycling Co-operative has a far more extensive list of items that can be recycled and offer weekly home collection services under the name of 'Green Box' from as little as £1.39 a week. They have also set up 'Shabitat' - a warehouse of bric-a-brac that gives truth to the phrase ‘one man’s trash is another’s treasure’.

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There are several other recycling organisations that provide similar services, for example, The Wood Store who collect unwanted wooden items.

Freegle is a homegrown Brighton and Hove  online freecycling community, a site similar to Gumtree, but where everything’s free! It encourages the community to help each other to reduce the demand for buying new products and cut down on waste. Freecycle is another great resource that works similarly, so if you’ve got a spare microwave or child’s buggy, you know where to go. 

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Katie, a current Brighton resident who used to live in Oxford, commented on how she felt both cities council recycling compared,

“I was surprised that as a green seat, Brighton doesn’t do much about food waste but in Oxford, they communicated information at least 4 times a year about what we could and couldn’t put in bins and gave us loads of resources for food waste.”

Although there is currently no food waste collection by Brighton and Hove City Council, they are aiming to help reduce food waste by working with The Brighton and Hove food Partnership organisation to set up community composting around the city. They have already set up 16 community composting sites, as listed below. In addition to this, The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership alongside the council are on track to set up a community fridge, funded by Sainsburys. This will allow local residents to leave any spare food for hungry people and again help reduce food waste around the city.

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Having reviewed these areas of recycling around Brighton and Hove, you could argue that although the statistics for household recycling may not seem very high, there is without a doubt a sense of community ownership of recycling which is not quantified in these statistics. The council decided, only a few days ago, to phase out the use of single-use plastics in the city. This motion was supported by a public petition, proving that the people of Brighton & Hove take it upon themselves, with the help of private and public organisations, to find creative ways of cutting down, re-using and recycling waste in the city.

So perhaps the fact that we have a lack of recycling resources available on our doorstep doesn't matter as much when there are efforts in place to cut down on the production of waste in the first place.

There is that old saying that 'prevention is better than cure' after all.

We are going to start talking a lot more about designing out waste.