It was a hot, sunny evening, and I wondered how many people would make the effort to wend their way down the lane to the Wiltshire Scout centre for the evening. We're a little bit obsessed with recycling and reusing here but our enthusiasm is not always matched elsewhere, and given the choice between a sunny Monday evening in the garden at home or a thrilling talk by Wiltshire eco bloggers and Wildlife Trust staff, even I might have faltered.
But this is Potterne Springs WI we're talking about. Sue Groffman had put a huge amount of effort into promoting the evening further afield and opening it up to the local community as well as WI members, so the turnout was impressive. Over 40 people came along (double the usual attendance figure).
|Jen showing people how to make a bag from an old t shirt, |
and recommending ways to reuse your old jeans!
Jen from My Make Do and Mend Year gave an impassioned speech on reducing waste and fighting consumerism (which she is doing very successfully in her 'buy nothing new' year), Emma from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust gave her top waste-watching tips, and I waffled on about some of the things we have been doing to reduce waste since the blog was born last year and since we took part in the Slim Your Bin project. As someone in the audience pointed out, there is nothing new to this way of thinking - for many of our mothers and grandmothers it would have been second nature.
I'm sure that to some extent we were preaching to the converted in Potterne. But as my family found from taking part in the Slim Your Bin project, there's always one more little thing we could all be doing when it comes to saving the planet. My 'one more little things' for the evening were learning that you can recycle butter packets by soaking them in water to separate the paper from the foil, and that rubber bands and latex rubber gloves can be composted.
|Emma demonstrated how to turn a plastic bottle into a planter.|
Speaking was a little nerve wracking, but the real fun started when we got going with the workshops. Jen was busy with her sewing machine. Emma transormed a milk container into a planter (and if there had been time would have decorated it with sweet wrappers to give a mosaicy effect).
I took along green cleaning ingredients like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to show how you can knock up your own washing powder, tooth paste, vinegar cleaner and bath bombs. There were two strands to my thinking: a) once you learn a little about eco cleaning, you realise that if you've got vinegar and bicarb in the cupboard under the sink, you can tackle many cleaning tasks easily, and without generating lots of waste. It also empowers you to have a go at other things made with similar ingredients, like whipping up bath bombs, and b) even if you never make washing powder or toothpaste again, the simplicity of the ingredients and the ease with which it can be made will make you wary of the advertisers' claims for their fancy laundry wares or oral care products. There is a choice - we don't have to buy into their products in fancy packaging with a list of ingredients as long as your arm, and the alternatives don't have to be expensive.
|Sarah from Devizes Freegle poses |
at the eco cleaning table.
|Washing up scourers made from|
"Never underestimate the power of a small group to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead