Tag Archives: green

Glastonbury – A tent is for life not just for a festival

So that’s it from Glastonbury for another year. With the controversy of Kanye West headlining Saturday night and stating that he is “the greatest living rock star on the planet”, to the debut of Lee-zus (aka Lee Nelson) gate crashing Kanye’s set and the roaring reception of Lionel Richie we can definitely say this one will be remembered for a while.

Glastonbury Festival, Britain - 27 Jun 2015  

With 177,550 attendees at Worthy Farm each year there will be a significant level of litter generated at the festival. So we decided to investigate HOW GREEN IS GLASTONBURY?

In 2014 the festival recycled; 114 tonnes of composted organise waste, 400 tonnes of chipped wood, 23 tonnes of glass, 85 tonnes of cans and plastic bottles, 41 tonnes of cardboard,11.2 tonnes of clothing, tents and sleeping bags. Overall 983 tonnes of waste was collected with 54% of it being recycled.

With the images of what has been left from Glastonbury this year is it possible they can do the same or even better than the previous year?

Glastonbury is trying to highlight the importance of recycling by promoting the phrases “Love the farm, leave no trace” as well as “Reduce, reuse and recycle”. Even with the introduction of these mottos it is still costing the festival around £780,000 to dispose of all the rubbish that is left at the festival. They have 15,000 bins and have 1,300 recycling crew volunteers as well as Small Steps Project who are a team of volunteers who do their bit to clean the site.

On a more cheerful note Glastonbury has managed to do things to improve and help the festival to become more environmentally sustainable. All of the tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate sold on site are all Fairtrade; they also run a Green Traveller Scheme to encourage travel by public transport, offering prizes and free food vouchers for those who participate. Reducing the Festival’s CO2 emissions is a top priority for the organisers of the festival.

Personal items such as tents and wellington boots are often left behind. Since 2011 Festival Reboot has worked with Glastonbury recycling any wellies that have been left, in their first year they collected 4000. Using the top half of the welly they are able to make and sell bracelets, drinks holders and notepads. From the money raised they then can send the lower section of the welly over to Kenya where they will be used for general footwear. They are also looking into making bean bag chairs filled with the off cuts of wellington boots which will result in nearly 100% recycling achievement. http://www.festivalreboot.co.uk/

If you are attending a festival this year and still haven’t bought a tent yet have a look at Green Tent Company; they are the first company in the world to design and manufacture tents that are solely made of polyester which means they can be recycled. They also offer a ‘Purchase and Collect’ service at festivals as well as a drop off point when you are finished. http://www.thegreententcompany.co.uk/

ReTent is another service which provides an incentive for campers for to repeatedly reuse their tents. The company believe that there is a lack of connection between festival-goers and their tent. To improve this ReTent will spray a stamp onto the tent to recognise that they have been to that festival; the more festivals people go to with the same tent the more stamps they will get. This will hopefully give people the motivation to reuse their tents as it will become memorabilia of their time at the festivals.  http://www.thegreententcompany.co.uk/

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Glastonbury has been a huge contributor to the local environment around the farm and charities. Since 2000, 10,000 native trees and hedge plants have been planted near to the site and £1 million has been donated to international and local charities each year. It is the single biggest donor to Greenpeace and also supports its official partners WaterAid and Oxfam.

Next up for us T in the Park 2015!

Spring Forward, Cycle Back: Find out why you should get back in the saddle this Spring

Are you tired of having to drive everywhere in your car, or having to wait for what feels like an eternity on the bus that always seems to be running late when you’re in a hurry? Got a bike rusting away in the shed that you bought years ago as part of a bungled new year’s resolution to keep fit and/or get in shape?

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Well it’s never too late to act on that resolution, and while we’re at it there’s a solution to your travel problems. That solution is of course cycling (why else would I mention a bike). In the following piece I’m going to list four reasons why, if you are cycling, to keep it up, and if you don’t why you really should do as the benefits are rewarding to yourself and to the rest of the world.

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  1. It’s good for your physical health

Let’s start with an easy reason; cycling is good for you. Are you after that summer beach body? Perhaps just wanting to get a little fitter? Cycling exercises all the important muscles and joints in your body, but it is less strenuous than running and allows for the body to have a pleasant experience while loosening up your body and making it much stronger. Cycling can in the long term prevent the future suffering of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure or heart attack, so it will ultimately help you to live a healthy long lasting life, and isn’t what we all strive for.

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  1. It’s good for your mental health

Asides from being good for the body, cycling is also a great way of maintaining the strength of the mind. Had a stressful week and feel that the world is falling in on you? Well get on your bike. Cycling can be a useful way of reducing stress and alleviating feelings associated with anxiety and depression, this can be due in part to the exercise our body is experiencing and allowing for our mind to focus on the task at hand. Let us not forget also, the act of cycling is generally an enjoyable experience so it allows us to feel a sense of pleasure free from pesky stressful feelings.

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  1. It’s good for your wallet and the economy

Let’s start this by saying that while buying a bike may be a costly purchase, the long term benefits to your wallet will be most beneficial. Aren’t we all tired of spending a small fortune on the costs of petrol for our cars and fares for public transport? Well if we took up cycling then you would save hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds a year.

Not only is cycling kind towards your bank balance, it’s been found to be helpful for the economy.  Cycling and the sales of cycling related goods made around  £3 billion for the British economy in 2010 alone, and cycling ultimately saves the UK economy almost £83 Million a year owing to the fewer sick days that cyclists take than their car driving colleges .  So as we can see, cycling is good for the wallet and ultimately it helps the country’s economy grow and save money at the same time. Isn’t it about time we heard some economic news that was positive for a change?

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  1. It’s good for the environment

Of course it is common knowledge that petrol powered cars and public transport have contributed to the gradual environmental decline that the world has been going through for decades. So why not ditch the car and take up the bike? If we take up cycling we are saving the planet and our own money! We can preserve the environment that we still have and prevent any further erosion. What’s the point in cycling if we didn’t have some nice scenery to enjoy while we did it, so let’s cycle to preserve the world’ natural beauty.

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  1. It’s good fun

Last but certainly not least, this point really shouldn’t need an explanation. Cycling is good for many things, the economy, the environment and the health of people both physically and mentally. While all this is amazing there is a far cleaner cut reason for doing it. It is downright good fun! Whether you are cutting down a mountain trail at 30 mph or making your way across the city to meet friends, getting out in that fresh air is an awesome experience. If you are not doing it for any of the reasons above, just do it for the fun of it. You won’t be disappointed!

We hope that this week’s blog post has inspired some of you to get yourselves back in the saddle this spring, as you can see there are plenty of reason why you should certainly think about it at least. A major part in SAUWS Environment’s newly funded project will focus on active travel over the coming year and there will be a load of opportunities for students and staff to get involved. Amongst the planned activities are group bike runs and Maintenance workshops providing in depth training on how you can maintain your own bike.

If this sounds like it may be up your street contact us at sustainability@sauws.org.uk to be added to our mailing list. Also you can catch us on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas: 5 tips for a Merry Christmas and a Sustainable New Year

In the past few years,Christmas has come under fire. What should be a joyful, domestic celebration has turned, according to many critics, into a self-indulgent, materialistic festival. One of the main criticisms from Christmas grumps is the amount of waste it generates. It is common now to see house bins on Boxing Day overflowing with discarded wrapping paper, empty boxes, food left overs, and other snowflake-patterned reminders of the holiday just passed, all lumped together, not sorted for recycling.

Prague Christmas Market

So, the pressing question is: what can we do to reduce waste while still partaking in the Christmas cheer?

 

Y_Christmas_Tree_21. Choose your Christmas tree wisely. Christmas trees are an integral part of Christmas, and can a house without one really celebrate Christmas? Not really. Buying a Christmas tree opens a big quandary for those of us who like to be mindful of our consumption habits: live trees or fake trees? Live trees will die, and it is sad to have a tree chopped off just for a few days. As for fake Christmas trees, they are reusable, yes, but most were made in China (around 90%) with PVC plastic (created through an incredibly polluting process). Their creation process and long transport increases their carbon footprint exponentially, even if they can be reused year after year. A live tree can be bought from a local, sustainable farm, which reduces its transport footprint to zero. In addition, once the holidays are over, you can recycle it – the tree will probably become biomass. Caringchristmastrees.com sells locally grown trees in Glasgow and Pasley. As for the recycling process, Glasgow City Council tells us this:

For households with a brown bin, real Christmas trees can be placed in your bin for kerbside collection on the date previously indicated in your managed weekly recycling calendar. Please cut the tree into manageable pieces and ensure that the lid will close and the tree is not wedged into the bin. Real trees can also be taken to the household waste recycling centres at Queenslie, Polmadie, Shieldhall and Dawsholm or can be taken to the following locations from Saturday 3 January until Sunday 18 January:

  • Pollok Park, Burrell Car Park
  • Alexandra Park, off Alexandra Parade, car park next to the golf course
  • Kelvingrove Park, Kelvin Way, grass area opposite adjacent to bandstand (as per signage)

If you still don’t want to throw your tree away, you can buy a potted tree that you can plant in your garden and reuse year after year. Alternatively, and as you can see on our photo, you could get creative!

 

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2.Ditch the physical gifts. Children favour physical, tangible presents, but adults are more accommodating. Instead of buying a set of soaps that come in a plastic bottle inside of a cumbersome plastic packaging, why not gift experiences? Sites like Groupon, Virginexperiencedays or lastminute.com Experience Days offer all sorts of experiences, heavily reduced: tattoos, minigolf, a comedy club night plus curry and a drink, a massage session, or dancing lessons are all offers you can find on the Internet and which won’t break the bank. A few years ago, my best friend gifted me a whole year of Spotify premium and that really was the gift that kept on giving! I also bought my Dad his own star – there is now a little corner in space with his name, and he couldn’t be any prouder.

 

53.Go battery-free. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of all battery sales happen during the holiday season. Plenty of toys today need batteries to function, which is a waste of resources. An old-fashioned (oh my) toy with no batteries will be a lot more sustainable in the long run, and will have the parents be eternally grateful to you – nobody wants to hear little Charlie’s Furby sing for the fifth time.

 

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4.Buy antiques.
The benefit is obvious: no new resources have gone into creating antiques, so whatever it was used has already regenerated. Value and beauty are not tied to new and shiny, and a beautiful pair of 1920s art deco earrings or a 19th century vase prove it. Visit your local antique shop for incredible items of a bygone era that could make the most unique, gorgeous gift, or visit Etsy.com and ebay.co.uk for a worldwide range of antiques from Asia to America. 

 

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 5.Wrapping paper. How much wrapping paper is used every holiday season in the UK? Well, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimates that last year’s wasted paper would be enough to wrap up the Channel island of Guernsey. That is a lot of something that will be discarded. There is so much you can do to minimise the impact of this: you can recycle it, you can re-use it (put it under a heavy book to straighten it out), or you can recycled wrapping paper. WWF is having a sale of their recycled gift wraps right now!! You can also use old newspapers, maps or calendars. Reusable gift bags are also very much an option, and a fantastic one at that!

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Oh, and of course, remember to buy your food locally and to avoid produce that has already been packaged – loose produce will be cheaper and there will be less packaging.

What other steps have you taken to turn your white Christmas green?

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Green your Halloween: 7 sustainable ways to celebrate this Halloween.

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It’s Hallowe’en. You’re thinking of hot drinks (pumpkin spice latte!), hot food (pumpkin pie!), and cool costumes to show everyone how hip you are (Charlie Brown waiting for the Great Pumpkin!).

Indeed, pumpkins are everywhere these days, left, right, and centre. They are the true stars of autumn and Hallowe’en.

One of the most popular activities these days is pumpkin carving, a fun exercise where you can unleash your imagination and sculpt the wildest shapes on a pumpkin (if you have the skills). But there is a small problem with all this carving – what do we do with the pumpkin leftovers? Well friends, instead of just wasting away perfectly good food, you can do so much stuff!

Let’s see…

  1. Roast pumpkin seeds. Once you gut the pumpkin, you can roast the seeds to make a healthy, tasty snack. Just put them in a strainer under water and rub them until the flesh and stringy bits are gone. Soak the clean seeds in salt water for up to 48 hours (otherwise they could give you an upset stomach). Dry them out, then put them on a baking sheet and bake them at 220C for 45 minutes, or fry them on a pan with some olive oil. Go nuts and add some seasoning! Curry, peri-peri salt, rock salt, garlic oil, the world is your pumpkin seed.

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  1. Plant pumpkin seeds. Air dry the seeds for several days, then put them in a jar and plant them in the spring. BOOM. A pumpkin that is all yours, and you grew it! Few things are more satisfying than growing your own food.

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This could be you next autumn!

 

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   3.  Make Pumpkin Soup. The days and nights just keep getting colder and colder around this team of year, what better use to put your left over pumpkin to than soup! This makes for a great dinner, leftovers can make a fantastic lunch. Don’t feel like it the next day? Don’t throw it away. Soup will store in a Tupperware box in the freezer for weeks, ready to be defrosted and enjoyed anytime. Here are some recipes to get you started!

 

Pumpkin-Pie

4. Make Pumpkin Pie. Still got Pumpkin left from making the soup? Perhaps you have a sweeter tooth. Then there is a good chance you will enjoy pumpkin pie. This is a big favourite with our friends on the other side of the Atlantic. So, for an Americanised treat or Sunday desert, why not try making your very own Pumpkin pie?? Check out this recipe here.

 

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  1. Make your own DIY pumpkin beauty products. Cook some of the flesh (like two cups), then mash it. Add one teaspoon of coconut oil and one of honey to the pumpkin puree and mix it all well. Voila, your very own pumpkin facial! Or, if your hair is dry and brittle, mix some pumpkin puree with unsweetened yoghurt and lather it on for 15 minutes. The vitamin A in pumpkin may help hair grow and increases production of sebum, the natural oil that moisturizes your hair.

But it’s not just about pumpkins. A greener Hallowe’en is also possible in many other ways!!!

 

46. Make your own costume: Try not to buy a Hallowe’en costume, recycle your own clothes, get sewing! You will be more original than anyone else and you will not be using new resources.

 

 

  1. Throw a green party.

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If you want to decorate your house, consider re-using things you have lying around. An old
sheet wrapped around blown-up balloons makes for a good ghost, old milk bottles with fairy lights behind will glow like ghosts, and of course orange, crunchy leaves are everywhere.

These are our ideas to enjoy a green Hallowe’en, what will you be doing to? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Hollywood to Manchester, 5 celebs flying the flag for a sustainable future

Celebrity culture is without doubt a public obsession in the age we live in. Where people become celebrities by making a fool of themselves on the streets of Newcastle or New Jersey, while we shove a selection of fame hungry adults in a house for a few months, watching their every move. On one hand this provides popular entertainment for many; on the other it makes some people want to pull their own eyes out.

This aside we are here to talk positive celeb chat, or phrased better, activism. While some people use their fame to fall over outside nightclubs and drive Rolls Royce into swimming pools, others try to give a little back to the planet that they call home. It seems that in the past ten years, American celebrities in particular, have been going eco mad. Within this post we will introduce you to four of our environment loving Americans and one token Brit, a favourite of ours here at the SAUWS Environment.

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  1. Leonardo Di Caprio

Leo has made his name as perhaps one of the greatest actors of a generation, starring in blockbusters such as Titanic and The Wolf of Wall Street. Leo also produced and narrated “The 11th Hour” a film documenting the grave problems the planet is facing through issues such as global warming and deforestation. Clearly living a busy lifestyle, he also found time to set up his own foundation in 1998. The foundation works with other organisations to provide grants for conservation projects, and campaigns to stop overfishing the seas. To top this all off Leo lives in one of the most eco-friendly homes in New York City, driving a $100,000 Fisker Karma Hybrid car.

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  1. Edward Norton

The fight club actor is another Hollywood a-lister with a passion for our environment. A renewable energy expert, Edward has worked to set up a scheme dedicated to provide opportunities for poorer families to “go green”. Every time a celebrity buys a solar panel, BP will donate towards helping a Los Angeles family. Through his hard work and vocal, activist nature he was rewarded in 2010, being named as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity.

Brad Pitt

  1. Brad Pitt

Edward Norton’s co-star in Fight Club now takes on the same roll supporting Edward’s solar panel initiative. Brad started his Make it Right foundation in 2007, creating eco-friendly architecture at affordable prices. This played a large part in the re-building in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Brad insisted this was a man-made disaster and it was up to humans to put it right again. Keen to pass on the importance of a sustainable attitude to his kids, Brad built an eco-friendly theme park to educate them on the importance of eco-values through activities.

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  1. Jessica Alba

Fantastic Four star Jessica transformed her home after the birth of her first child, making it as eco friendly as possible. This included organic paint and recycled furniture. Her sustainable living interest does not end here; she is the co-founder of The Honest co. The company sells eco-friendly baby products as well as detergents and soap, a percentage of the profits is donated to help families in need. Jessica has also recently written a book called The Honest Life, about how to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle, based on her own experiences.

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  1. Gary Neville

While doing some research on green celebs, I noticed a lack of publicity surrounding British engagement. Half of Hollywood seems to be pitching in at present. Back home, former footballer come pundit Gary Neville is flying the flag. A Vauxhall hybrid car owner, Gary founded the sustainability in sport initiative, helping clubs and fans become more eco-friendly, even donating the profits from his Manchester United testimonial to the cause. In 2011 Gary received planning permission for an 8000 square feet underground home. Powered by solar panels and wind turbines, this is a massively ambitious eco-friendly design. During the recent World Cup, Sky TV have organised the Rainforest rescue initiative with the ambition of saving one billion trees. Gary Neville has undertaken an ambassadorial role in the project featuring in the advertising campaign.

 

Some people may still remain dubious of celebs promoting this topic, with the idea that it may benefit their own career, their own PR. This may be a cynical view because without doubt their involvement is making an impact on the issue. All the initiatives, organisations and projects discussed above are real and are functioning to take things in the right direction. Whether we like it or not, we live in a culture where attaching a celeb’s face to a cause makes the public sit up and listen that bit more. If this can help to better our chances of a healthier, more sustainable future then we must embrace it.

By Liam Cassidy