Category: Portsmouth Green Party (page 1 of 2)

An Open Letter to Councillor Linda Symes

This is a response from Portsmouth Green Party representative, Tamara Groen, on the racist social media posts by Councillor Linda Symes, the Conservative councillor for Eastney and Craneswater, as reported in The News, Portsmouth on June 3rd 2020.

Though Cllr Symes has been suspended from the national Conservative Party; to date, the councillor has not apologized for her actions, while the local Portsmouth Conservative party and their Leader Cllr Donna Jones have remained silent. After waiting a week for a local acknowledgement, Tamara writes directly to Cllr Symes.


Dear Cllr Symes,

I am sure you feel under attack right now. I’m sure you feel abandoned by your party, as your local conservative peers fall silent, wondering why there is such a furore about a few shared Facebook posts. After all, this was to your private Facebook profile and you did nothing wrong. You are not a racist.

Racists are bad people who bay for the blood of people with darker skin than theirs. That is not you. You care about British soldiers, British children, and British values. After all, that is why you are a councillor. Because you care enough to stand up and represent your community. How is it racist to say, ‘All Lives Matter’? Because surely, all lives do matter. And anyway, racism is an American problem, it’s not even relevant to us in the UK.

When I composed this letter to you in my mind, I was going to school you about institutional and systemic racism. I was going to explain to you that this is a massive issue here in the UK and it permeates all aspects of our society. Protesters are not just demonstrating in solidarity with their American counterparts against the US police force. They are protesting against the racial injustices black people experience every day, right here, in Britain. In the UK, black people are 9.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, more likely to receive custodial sentences on conviction and be given longer sentences than their white counterparts for the same offence

I was going to explain to you that having white privilege does not mean that your life is not hard, but it does mean that the colour of your skin is one less obstacle you experience. I was going to talk about the problematic nature of the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ and how it misses the point entirely – how you are missing the point entirely. I was going to share resources that will help you educate yourself on the systemic racism in British society* and hopefully teach you how to be actively anti-racist because it is no longer enough to be just ‘not racist’, if it ever was.

But Cllr Symes, I am tired. I am so so tired of white people shouting us down, of refusing to see how slavery and colonisation directly impact how society is formed and how we live today. I am so tired of explaining when it is not my job to teach people why they should see value in the lives of others who are different from them.

Oh, and by the way, I am a brown woman (Indo-Caribbean to be precise) – I am not black. Most of the time, I am the only person of colour in the room but the Black Lives Matter story is not my story. I try to be an ally – I am flawed but I try – and even I am tired. I cannot imagine how it feels for black people right now.

I do feel sorry for you Cllr Symes. You must be feeling bewildered and upset and probably angry. It is uncomfortable to come face to face with your privilege and prejudices in such a public way. You have a lot of unlearning to do.

Unfortunately, when corrected about your behaviour, you were defensive and unapologetic. You had an opportunity to stop and really listen. And you chose not to.

Sure, do diversity training or social media training. But that is only useful if you open your mind and heart to experiences that are not your own. 

I want you to listen.

I want you to learn.

I want you to apologise for your actions and demonstrate that you understand why what you shared was wrong.

I also want you to stand down as a councillor because this is learning that will take time and dedication. It would not be appropriate for you to continue to represent all the people of Portsmouth until you have learned this. Or rather, unlearned the systemic nature of white supremacy that benefits all white people, no matter how not-racist (or even anti-racist) they are. Words become actions.

Show the black people of Portsmouth that you are not just another privileged white person in power throwing untruths into the ether. I hope you are better than you appear.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Groen

Portsmouth Green Party

Portsmouth Green Party
* I particularly recommend Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’, which you can order from local independent booksellers Pigeon Books for £8.99 or can borrow from the library in e-book form for free.

For enquiries, contact press@portsmouth.greenparty.org.uk


Written by Tamara, a Green Hairy Feminist

Diary of a Green Activist

TUESDAY: A Hustings We Will Go

This evening, I am going to the Portsmouth South election hustings event hosted by The News and the University of Portsmouth, where the candidates who want to be MP speak directly to potential voters and answer their questions. As the Greens have stepped aside in Portsmouth South as part of the Unite to Remain agreement, I am trying desperately to figure out who to vote for. (I live in Portsmouth South.) It is between Labour (Stephen Morgan) and the Lib Dems (Gerald Vernon-Jackson)

Whilst getting ready to go, I realise it’s a ticketed event. I don’t have a ticket. Of course, I don’t.

Dammit!

I’m so cross with myself but figure I might as well still go. 

The husting is rammed, which is fantastic to see, but no seat for me. (Hey, that rhymes! What a wordsmith I am.) I watch some of it from the back of the room but struggle to hear and concentrate, so head to the overflow space where luckily it is set up with a live stream on the TV. I try and make a pros and cons list but end up getting distracted and heckling at the TV screen. Probably a good thing I didn’t get a seat in the main area!!! 

I leave just as confused and I need to figure out which party’s policies, apart from the Greens, comes close to my values. Ergh. homework. 

WEDNESDAY: Ask A Green

John Colman, our Green Candidate for Havant chats with Emma

I wake up with the black dog keeping me company. Not great timing as later today, Emma and I are filming a Q+A session with the Green Party candidates for Portsmouth North, Lloyd Day, and Havant, John Colman. It was my idea and I was really pleased that both Lloyd and John were up for it. I also roped a few other Green Party activists into helping. We are a small, but mighty, band of greens in Pompey. 

But before that, I have some time to read the Green Party manifesto, the first political party to release their manifesto for this general election. I start with the Easy Read version as my depression makes it difficult to concentrate. I am trying really hard to get out and about and to be as involved as I can in the upcoming election but my depression makes it harder. 

It is a radical manifesto putting the climate emergency at its heart. Feeling buoyed, I peruse the full version of the manifesto and spend some time googling interesting policies like the Universal Basic Income, where everyone would receive a regular income of £89 a week. This would have been so useful for me both when I was working for a pittance in the performing arts and when I was not able to work because of my depression.

I fall into the google rabbit hole – doing quizzes to figure out who to vote for. My results keep coming back as Green. Good to know, but not useful!

Ping! I get further distracted by an email from a member (I am the co-membership officer for the Portsmouth and Havant Green Party). A friend of hers is moving to Pompey and is interested in joining the Green Party. We organise to meet next week at Hunter Gather, on Albert Road and I feel really chuffed that she reached out. 

I realise my brain is starting to hurt and I have 25 tabs open. I need to revive for tonight’s filming session, so I have a nap. Bad idea as I wake up feeling even more low. But I head to the member’s house who has lent us her kitchen for filming. We talk through policy and start filming. Everything is done by volunteers and we are fortunate that John has a decent camera and microphone to film with.

I am so impressed by Lloyd and John’s thoughtful answers to our questions as they speak passionately and from the heart. By the end of the evening, I am tired but feeling positive. I’m glad I didn’t let my depression win and feel very proud of myself. 

On my way home, I realise I have no food in the house. Where is the grown-up who adults and preps food in advance of feeling hungry? Not here! I feel very smug when I remember that I have an UberEats voucher and I buy lots of paneer dishes from Kadirs. It is bloody delicious but then I remember UberEats is probably not at all ethical. I need to look into that. Sigh. But I enjoy my curry anyway.

Before bed, I head back online to arrange to go to the Isle of Wight on this coming weekend to help leaflet and canvass for our Green candidate, Vix Lowthian. I let the other local Greenies know so they can join me if they are free. I must remember to take some gloves as I went last weekend and by 3 pm it was getting dark and I was so cold! The joys of a winter election! But whether it’s winter or summer, it needs to be done.

If not me, then who? If not now, then when?

Vote Green!

With love from a Green Hairy Feminist with the Black Dog in a Winter Election

(It’s me…Tamara)

How to Recycle in Portsmouth in 2019

Welcome to The Updated Ultimate Guide to Recycling in Portsmouth!

 It is no secret that we (Emma and Tamara) love recycling; we’ve certainly written enough posts about it. Back in 2017, our first post here on Shades of Green was about how to recycle in Portsmouth. But in the two years since then, much has changed and the time for updating is here!

As there is currently no national standardized recycling system in the UK, access to recycling facilities varies widely depending on where you live. It’s basically a geographical luck-of-the-draw. Emma’s best friend lives in Bolton and whenever Emma visits, she’s amazed and rather jealous about what Bolton council will divert from the rubbish bin compared to Portsmouth city council. She literally lusts over Bolton’s kerbside recycling where food and drink cartons, foil and foil trays (to name but a few) are all collected, together with the usual suspects of tins, paper and card and plastic bottles.

Shades of Green Mantra
Image by Tracey McCulloch

With countries such as China and Malaysia turning away the UK’s low-quality recycling, dumping our recycling waste on other countries is no longer such an easy option. So, though important, recycling must come after reusing, repairing, and reducing. With this in mind, donating to charity and repairing is included as a recycling option on our list.

For your convenience and our sanity, we’ve structured this list of items by which room in your house they’re most likely to be found. (We’ve included office as well for those of you looking to recycle at work.) We’ve also listed it according to the most convenient place for you to recycle items, i.e. if it can be recycled at home at the kerbside, we’ve stated that. 

Prepare yourself, this is one epic post!

Tip: Please ensure items are clean and free of food residue on them. Give items quick rinse and let air dry before recycling.
Terracycle Tip: Public drop-off locations for Terracycle recycling schemes do change and some schemes are time-limited, so check the maps we have included or the Terracycle website for updated locations and information.

The Updated Ultimate Guide to Recycling in Portsmouth

Room by room


Living Room

Extract of living room items that can be recycled

Living Room: Recycle Kerbside

  • Paper and Cardboard, such as
    • Newspapers and magazines 
    • Junk mail 
    • Greetings cards and gift wrapping paper (no glitter or embellishments or foils or plastics) 
    • Telephone directories and Yellow Pages
  • Small Electrical and Electronic Items (WEEE)
    • If definitely dead as a dodo, recycle at the kerbside. (Leave in a standard-sized supermarket carrier bag on top of your green wheelie bin/ box.)
    • Broken Sat Navs, Games Consoles, Laptops, Tablets, Cameras, including video cameras, Mobile Phones, and Portable Music Devices can also be donated to Portsmouth Green Party who through Recycling for Good Causes recycle these unwanted items and raise funds.

Living Room: Leave The House

  • Batteries
    • Where: Collection Points are located inside the store of most large supermarkets, including Lidl, Tesco, Currys PC World, and Sainsbury’s. (Take a look in your supermarket next time you shop)
    • What:
      • All household batteries including ‘button’ batteries from watches.
      • Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote control units.
  • Cigarette Waste
    • Where: Freepost to Terracycle.
    • What:
      • Extinguished cigarettes
      • Filters
      • Tobacco pouches
      • Rolling paper
      • Inner foil packaging
      • Outer plastic packaging, and ash.
  • Books
    • Pre-loved books can be donated to charity or put in the Books & CD/DVD Recycling Banks across the city. Click here to find your nearest one.
  • CDs and DVDs
    • Pre-loved CDs and DVDs can be donated to charity shops or to the CD/DVD & Books Recycling Banks across the city. Click here to find your nearest one.
    • For obsolete data CDs etc
      • Where: Post to Reproplastics. Contact them first for their separation specifications.
    • What:
      • CD and DVD cases (with the discs removed)
      • CDs and DVDs loose
  • Large Electricals
    • If in working order, donate and if broken, attempt to repair.
    • If definitely broken
      • Return to the store for disposal.
      • or take to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (aka the Tip in Port Solent)
      • or contact a scrap metal dealer, like this one. (Emma did no research apart from Googling ‘Free Scrap Metal Collection Portsmouth UK’)
  • Furniture
    • Donate, give away, or sell.
    • If not fit for use, try offering on Freecycle or Trash Nothing because some clever crafty people can turn your broken chest of drawers into a child’s toy storage.
    • Last resort is the tip.
  • Money

Kitchen

Extract of kitchen items that can be recycled

Kitchen: Recycle Kerbside

  • Paper and Card, such as:
    • Takeaway menus 
    • Cardboard egg boxes
    • Cardboard fruit and veg punnets (please break down larger boxes)
    • Cardboard sleeve
    • Cardboard sandwich packaging (remove plastic window)
    • Cereal boxes
    • Pizza boxes (any parts with food waste or lots of grease should be composted)
    • Corrugated cardboard
  • Plastic bottles (No lids), such as:
    • Home cleaning product bottles like Cleaner and detergent bottles
    • Drinks bottles
    • Milk bottles
    • See where you can recycle the plastic bottle lids further down this list.
  • Drink Cans and Food tins (please wash), such as:
    • Drink cans e.g. fizzy drinks cans, beer cans
    • Food tins e.g. baked beans, fish, soup tins
    • Pet food tins e.g. dog and cat food tins
    • Metal sweet and biscuit tins
  • Food Waste Trial 
    • Portsmouth City Council is launching a food waste kerbside collection trial starting this September 2019 for 6 months. Click here to see if you are one of the lucky households participating. 
    • Yes to all uneaten food and plate scrapings, plastic-free tea bags, shredded paper, coffee grounds, vegetable peelings, eggshells and cut flowers.  
    • No to liquids or packaging of any kind. That includes industrial ‘compostable’ packaging such as Vegware.
Tip: If your road is not part of the food waste trial, see ShareWaste further down this list. 

Kitchen: LEAVE THE HOUSE

Recycling Banks/ Supermarkets
  • Glass Bottles and Jars (including metal lids) 
    • Where: Recycle at Glass Recycling Banks located across the city. Find your nearest one here
    • What:
      • Glass bottles of any colour e.g. wine and beer bottles
      • Food jars e.g. jam jars, baby food jars
      • Non-food bottles, e.g. perfume, aftershave, face creams
Tip: Did you know you can leave the metal jar lids and the screwcap lids on!   
  • Rigid Mixed Plastics
    • Where: Rigid Mixed Plastic Recycling Banks at Sainsbury’s Farlington and Sainsbury’s Commercial Road. Sainsbury’s Superstores are the only stores we’ve spotted these mixed plastic recycling banks.
    • What:
      • Margarine and ice cream tubs
      • Confectionary tubs
      • Rigid plastic food packets
      • Yoghurt pots
      • Plastic lids (see below for alternatives to Sainsbury’s)
  • Drinks and Food Cartons
    • What:
      • Juice cartons
      • Paper cups
      • Milk cartons
      • Paper coffee cups (no lids)
      • Soup, tomatoes and other food cartons
      • Other beverage cartons
      • No to sandwich packaging, any other laminated fibre packaging, coffee cup lids.
 Tip:  Did you know you can leave the caps/lids of the cartons on!    
  • Stretchy Plastics
    • Where: Plastic Bag Recycling Collection Points found in (usually) larger supermarkets in-store, including Waitrose Southsea and Commercial Road Sainsbury’s Superstore and Tesco Superstore and North Habour Tesco Superstore Extra.
    • What: 
      • Plastic Carrier Bags (except biodegradable or compostable bags)
      • Plastic bread bags,
      • Plastic cereal bags and inner cereal bags, 
      • Plastic wrappers and ring joiners from multipacks of cans and plastic bottles
      • Plastic wrappers from toilet roll, nappy pack and kitchen towel packs,
      • Plastic freezer bags
      • Plastic magazine and newspaper wrap (type used for home delivery only) 
      • Polythene that covers things like dry cleaning, 
      • Thin bags used for fruit and veg at supermarkets, 
        Bubble wrap
      • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) – resin ID code
      • No: Do not include anything claiming to be biodegradable or compostable.
Tips: Tear off sticky labels where possible.
      Bread bags can also be dropped off at Eco Freaks Emporium, Gosport.
Out and ABout (Kitchen)
  • Plastic Bottle Lids (alternative to Sainsbury’s mixed plastics recycling banks)
    • Where: Lush Portsmouth.
    • What: Small plastic bottle tops made from any plastic compound such as Lush bottle caps, milk, soft drinks, sports cap drinks, fabric softener caps.
    • Where + What: Take milk bottle lids only to Coffee No. 1 in Southsea
  • Foils
    • Where: Drop it at St Mary’s Church, Fratton 9am-12pm, Monday to Friday. 
    • What:
      • Clean household foil and aluminium trays
      • Takeaway containers
      • Barbeque tray
Tip: Try the scrunch test - if you scrunch it up into a ball and it stays that way (like tin foil does), then it’s probably recyclable aluminium. If it bounces back open it isn't and needs to go in the rubbish bin.  
Tip: Take the plastic lids to Sainsbury’s Mixed Plastic Banks
  • Biscuit or Sweet Metal Tins
    • (alternative to kerbside recycling)
  • Organic, Compostable Waste
    • Sign up for Sharewaste, which links people with organic waste like veg peelings and no compost with people with home composters! Tamara has two compost bins and is very proud of her system and many ‘regulars’ who donate their fruit and veg peelings.
    • What: This depends on the person who accepts your stuff for compost but to give you any idea – Tamara accepts:
      • Raw, uncooked fruit and veg peelings (remove stickers from fruit etc)
      • Uncooked eggshells (please crush)
      • Used tea leaves and used coffee grounds. ( just the contents of the teabags as most teabag casings are made of plastic – unless states plastic-free/ biodegradable tea bags )
      • No cooked food of any kind
  • Plastic Takeaway Containers: If still fit-for-purpose, donate your clean reusable takeaway containers to The Lifehouse or Foodcycle or Portsmouth Foodbank.
  • Coffee Pods:
Tip: Did you know that Portsmouth Foodbank welcomes donations of toiletries, Tupperware, tin openers etc for people in need - not just food. 
Terracycle Drop Off Locations (Kitchen)
  • Ella’s Kitchen Baby Food Pouches and Snack Wrappers
    • Where: About four Terracycle public drop-off locations in Portsmouth and Eco Freaks Emporium in Gosport. See map for details. Alternatively, youcan sign up as a private collector and post the items for free.
    • What:
      • Ella’s Kitchen brand of baby food pouches
      • Ella’s Kitchen brand baby food pouch caps (remember these can also go into Sainsbury’s Mixed Plastics Recycling or be taken to Lush)
      • Ella’s Kitchen brand Snack packets
  • Pringles Tubes and Lids
    • Where: There are a few Terracycle Pringles public drop-off locations depending on where you live in Portsmouth, including Solent Infant School. Zoom in on the map for details. Or sign up as a private collector and post the items for free.
    • What:
      • Any size of Pringles brand tubes
      • Plastic lid and seal of Pringles brand can
  • Crisp Packets
    • Where: There are a handful of Terracycle Crisp Packet public drop-off locations both in the north and south of Portsmouth as well as Eco Freaks Emporium, Gosport. Zoom in on the map for details.
    • What:
      • Crisp packets
      • Crisp multipack outer packaging
Tips: Flatten the crisp packets and do not fold them into triangles. And try Two Farmers Crisps which come in home compostable bags! #notanad 
  • Popcorn, Nut and Pretzel Packets
    • Where: There is one Terracycle drop-off location in Pompey (Southsea) or then it’s Eco Freaks Emporium in Gosport or Horndean. See map for details.  
    • What:
      • Any brand nut packets
      • Any brand pretzel packets
      • Any brand popcorn packets
      • Any brand crisp packets
  • Biscuit and Snack Packaging
    • Where: There are a few Terracycle public drop-off locations in Portsmouth as well as Eco Freaks in Gosport. Zoom in on the map for details.
    • What:
      • Any brand of non-savoury biscuit wrappers
      • Any brand of cracker wrappers
      • Any brand of cake bar wrappers
  • Sweet Packets and Plastic Confectionery Packaging
    • Where: Solent Infant School in Drayton. Eco Freaks Emporium in Gosport. (Both SIS and EFE also take several other items if you just want to make one big trip with everything.)
    • What:
      • Plastic chocolate and sweets pouches and bags
      • Individual chocolate bar wrappers
      • Chocolate and sweets multipack outer plastic packaging
      • Plastic chocolate block wrappers
Tip: Breakfast, granola and energy bar wrappers are not accepted. See here for more details on what is/isn't accepted.  
  • Home Cleaning Products Packaging
    • Where: Several locations in North Portsmouth. See map for details.
    • What: all brands and sizes of –
      • Plastic bottle caps and plastic trigger heads for home cleaning products
      • Flexible wipe packaging (used for home cleaning products)
      • Pumps and caps for home cleaning products

And for the truly dedicated, here are some kitchen items that do not currently have drop-off locations in Portsmouth but can be taken further afield to Fareham, Gosport Denmead etc.

Further afield Terracycle drop off locations
  • L’OR and Kenco Coffee Packaging
    • Where: Drop off at these locations in Fareham or Gosport.
    • What:
      • Any size of Tassimo Flow Wrap packaging
      • Kenco Eco-Refill Coffee Packs
      • L’OR Coffee Capsules
      • Kenco Eco-Refill Coffee Packs
      • Kenco brand Coffee Jar Lids
Tip:  Alternatively, for an easy life, drop the coffee jar lids at Sainsbury’s Mixed Plastic Banks  
  • Cleaning Products Packaging
    • Where: Either in Eco Freaks Emporium, Gosport Fareham and Denmead. Zoom in on map for details.
    • What: any brand of –
      • Outer plastic sleeve for dishwasher cleaners:
      • Foil inside dishwasher protector
      • Flexible plastic dishwasher sale bags
      • Outer packaging for dishwasher cleaner and fresheners
      • Fragrance Twin Pack plastic sleeves
      • Flexible stain remover packaging
      • Flexible cleaning wipe packaging
      • Flexible cleaning product refill packaging
      • Flexible dishwasher tablet packaging
  • Pet Food Packaging
    • Where: Either in Gosport or Horndean. Zoom in on map for details.
    • What:
      • All wet pet food plastic pouches
      • All pet treat flexible plastic packaging and pouches
      • All dry pet food flexible plastic packaging

Bathroom

Extract of bathroom items that can be recycled

bathroom: Recycle Kerbside

  • Paper and Card, such as
    • Toilet roll tubes
    • Toothpaste cardboard cartons
  • Plastic Bottles, such as
    • Plastic shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc bottles
Tip: Rinse them out first- use leftover bathwater or do so in the shower.  

Bathroom: LEAVE THE HOUSE

Terracycle Drop Off Locations (BATHROOM)
  • Oral Care Items
    • Plastic toothbrushes (rinsed)
    • Electric or battery-operated toothbrush heads (rinsed)
    • Toothbrush outer packaging
    • Toothbrush tubes and caps (empty as far as possible)
  • Razors and Blades
    • Where: Sign up here for a Freepost envelope.
    • What: Gillette is running a recycling scheme until June 2020 via Terracycle for all brands of razors, blades and disposable razors and their packaging.
  • Plastic Air Fresheners
    • Where: A few locations north of Portsmouth. See map for details.
    • What: all brands and sizes of-
      • Plastic air fresheners and air freshener cartridges
      • Plastic air freshener packaging

BEDROOM

Extract of bedroom items that can be recycled

BEDROOM: Recycle Kerbside

  • Aerosols, such as
    • Deodorant aerosol containers 
    • No lids
Tip: Take the plastic aerosol lids to Sainsbury's mixed plastic banks. 
  • Metal Tins, such as
    • Shoe polish tins
    • Deodorant tins

Bedroom: Leave The House

Out and ABout (BEDROOM)
  • Glass
    • Where: Glass Recycling Banks can be found across the city. To find your nearest one, go to Portsmouth’s City Council Recycling Locator here.
    • What:
      • Glass jars and bottles such as body cream and face cream jars. Remember, you can leave the metal lids on.
  • Jewellery
    • What + Where: Donate jewellery including costume jewellery, odd earings, broken pieces, and watches to Portsmouth Green Party. Of course, other organisations and charities also collect for these types of recycling schemes.
  • Contact Lenses, including Packaging
    • Where: We have spotted contact lens recycling bins in-store at Boots in Commercial Road, Portsmouth and the Boots Meridian Centre, Havant. When you get your next eye-test, check if your local opticians in participating in this Terracycle scheme.
    • What: any brand of-
      • Soft, disposable contact lenses (daily, 2-weekly, monthly)
      • Contact lens blister packs & foils waste packaging
  • Spectacles
  • Inhalers
    • Where: A number of locations across the city, including Boots Southsea and Asda Fratton pharmacies. Search for the nearest one here.
    • What:
      • All brands of oral respiratory devices
      • Click here to check the list of acceptable items
  • L’Occitane Beauty, Hair and Skincare Packaging
    • What:
      • Refill pouches
      • Flexible Plastic Tubes
      • Rigid plastic tubes/tubs such as lip balm tubes and deodorant sticks
      • Caps and closures
      • Pumps, trigger heads and dispensers such as for soap, body lotion etc
      • Travel size packaging
      • Metal cases
      • Aluminium packaging
      • No: Aerosols Glass Bottles, Glass Tubs, Glass Moisturiser Jars
Tips: Recycle aerosols kerbside minus the lid, the aerosol lid can go to Sainsbury's Mixed Plastics Recycling Banks, the glass tubs and jars to the Glass Recycling Banks all around town. 
  • Clothing and Accessories
    • What:
      • Clothing
      • Shoes
      • Bags
      • Household Linens
      • Belts
      • Hats, scarves
    • Repair:
    • Donate:
      • New to Good Condition?
        • *Prioritise* donating to charity shops and shelters if items are in good, reuseable condition.
      • In Good to Bad Condition?
        • Textile Recycling Banks
          • Where: There are many across the city, check here for your nearest one.
          • What: Any materials (clothes, shoes & bags and household linen) no matter how old or worn (Please ensure items are clean and place them in a bag).
      • Not Fit for Use?
        • Where: Charity Shops and Textile Recycling Banks
        • What: Rags, materials and textiles not fit for use – including old towels, bedding, clothes, etc
        • Tip: Put in a separate bag and label it rags, so staff don’t waste time going through it.
    • Swap for Rewards:
      • Where: Most M&S stores, including M&S Outlets, and at Oxfam stores offer a ‘Shwop Drop’ box, usually by the tills. Nearest M&S Outlet is in Gunwharf and Oxfam Shop is in Southsea.
      • What: They accept any item of clothing (even if it’s damaged) from any retailer, including shoes, handbags, jewellery, belts, hats, scarves and bras. You can also Shwop soft furnishings (bed linen, towels, cushions, curtains, throws, aprons, tablecloths and napkins)
      • Where: +What: H&M accept unwanted clothes by any brand, in any condition, at any of their stores. Nearest H&M is in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.
      • Others reward schemes exist. Google is your friend.
  • Bras
    • As well as the options above, you can also donate your preloved bras to specific bra-focused organisations and charities that redistribute and recycle them.
    • Tamara particularly likes Against Breast Cancer and Bravissimo, having used both in the past. Freepost your bras to Bravissimo to this address: FREEPOST RLYT-YCYR-YGUH, Bravissimo, 1st Floor, Imperial Court, Holly Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV32 4YB.
  • Towels, Bedding, and Other Large Soft Materials
    • If it’s not good enough to be sold in a charity shop, but too good for rags, donate to your local animal shelter.
  • Mattresses
    • Donate to charity shops or homeless shelters, if in good condition and fit for use.
    • If not able to reuse, you could take some time stripping it down into individual parts, giving the material to rag bags and the metal to scrap metal collectors.
    • Or you can take it to the tip.
  • Sex Toys
    • Electric ones, i.e. vibrators, can be recycled with Love Honey. (Read more about socially conscious sex here.)
Tip: As electric/battery-operated sex toys are electrical items, they can be recycled kerbside. Leave in a standard-sized supermarket carrier bag on top of your green wheelie bin/ box. 
Terracycle Drop Off Locations (Bedroom)

Office/ study

Business vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Office and study: KERBSIDE

  • Paper, such as
    • Window envelopes
    • Envelopes
    • Greeting cards (no glitter or embellishments)

Office and study: Leave The House

Tip: Remember, shredded paper cannot go in the kerbside recycling but it can go in a home composter as well as the new kerbside food waste collection trial. 
  • Packaging from Packages
    • Where: Join Packshare and donate your packaging materials to small businesses. The closest location accepting materials (at the time of writing) is on Hayling Island.
    • What:
      • Cardboard boxes
      • Bubble wrap
      • Air pockets
      • Packing peanuts
      • Jiffy bags
      • Poster tubes
      • Brown paper
      • Tissue paper
      • Vinyl mailer 7″ and 12″
      • Corrugated cardboard
      • Shredded cardboard
      • Plastic bags

Garage / Shed

Extract of garage and shed items that can be recycled

gARAGE AND shed: Leave The House

  • Energy-efficient Light Bulbs:
    • Robert Dyas and Curry’s PC World stores should accept them for recycling. There is a Robert Dyas on Palmerston Road, Southsea and a Curry’s PC World at Ocean Retail Park, Copnor.
  • Bicycles
    • Community Cycle Hub will refurbish donated bikes or recycle them. They have three locations – two in Portsmouth and one in Gosport.
  • Wood
  • Paint
    • Reuse: Reuse it. Donate to friends/family/local community project if you won’t use it again.
Tip: Did you know paint can't be recycled or taken to landfill sites in a liquid state? 
  • Non-electrical Tools
    • Donate to charity shops, local community projects, or Workaid.
    • Unusable ones might be able to be collected by scrap metal collectors.

Garden/ Windowsill/ Balcony

Background vector created by vectorpouch – www.freepik.com

Garden/ Windowsill/ balcony: Leave The House

  • Plant Pots and Trays
    • Donate useable items to community gardens such as Southsea Green and Landport Community Garden.
    • A friend of Shades of Green, Emma, alerted us that plastic plant pots can be recycled at B&Q. Let us know if you try!
    • Further afield in Havant, you can take all shapes, sizes and colours of plastic plant post and trays to Dobbies Garden Centre. Give them a quick wash first and ensure it is plastic and not polystyrene.
  • Compostable Garden Waste
    • Where: As mentioned in the Kitchen section, Sharewaste links those with organic waste and no compost with neighbours with home composters.
    • What: This depends on the Sharewaste neighbour but they might accept –
      • Dry leaves,
      • Wood ashes
      • Withered flowers
      • Wood shavings
      • Grass clippings
    • Where: The Garden Waste Club, a paid kerbside collection is available in Portsmouth through Biffa.
    • What:
      • Leaves, grass cuttings, hedge and tree cuttings etc
      • Any woody material under 10cm (4 inches) in diameter
      • No vegetable peelings, animal waste such as droppings etc or animal bedding
  • Holiday Inflatables
    • Where: Isle of Wight based Wyatt & Jack turn inflatables, destined for the bin, into cool bags. Post smaller items and they refund your postage. They can collect large items from you using a courier service. See here for address details.
    • What: punctured and beyond repair –
      • Punctured paddling pools,
      • Bouncy castles,
      • Inflatable unicorns etc.
      • Water wings/ armbands
      • Beach balls
      • Old windbreaks
      • Trampolines
      • Rubber dinghies
      • All sorts of other beach paraphernalia, inflatables and water toys
      • Air beds

Well, that was a major read. Congrats if you made it to the end. Let us know any questions you have in the comments below or via email.

We’re especially interested to hear from people who want to share other recycling locations, other products to be recycled, and if you’re a local business able to take any products (i.e. paint, wood, etc) for reuse.


GREEN CHALLENGES

Following our Green Wins, join Emma and me as we bare our souls and reveal our Eco ‘Oopsies’. But as eco-shame is never the aim of our game, we also set our positive intentions with personal enviro challenges for the next 365 days of Shades of Green.

So, first, the waggy-ish finger – What Eco ‘Oopsies’ have Emma and I (Tamara) made in the last year in our attempts to live green?


Confessions of Shady Greens

Image by jessica45 from Pixabay

Emma’s Eco Oopsies

Chauffeur Hire: I have been persuaded to share a taxi late at night, rather than get the bus, which I feel guilty about. (Tamara says: You are SHARING a taxi. That is fine. I absolve you.)

Flying McFly Face: Two of my holidays in 2019 have involved air-travel and I cannot pretend that I feel good about it. Before my holidays, Tamara and I discussed offsetting the carbon, which Tamara feels is greenwash. I can’t prove that the companies would have planted a tree with the £10, so I donated it to Portsmouth Green Party instead.

Single-Use Trees and Leaves: I do routinely forget to tell restaurants that I don’t want paper napkins, so I end up taking my unused napkin home and using it for emergency toilet paper if I haven’t washed my cloths. Otherwise, restaurants will just throw them in the bin because they don’t know what you’ve done to them.

Strike a Pose, Vogue: I bought three *new* items of clothing that were definitely not made from sustainable materials. I wish my swimsuit had been made from recycled materials and that the other items had been bought second-hand. 

Tamara’s Eco Oopsies 

Cat vs Food: My stupid cat has stupid ongoing urinary problems. She is now on stupid urinary food for life and though I have sourced it in a can and not in a stupid plastic pouch, it is not ethical meat. Gutted. Farewell to Yarrah‘s organic, grain free and MSC wet cat food!

Who Needs Teeth?: I am pleased to report that I have sourced zero waste toothpaste and floss. I have been using Toothtabs (with fluoride!) for a while now and am very happy with them. I’ve been buying them online and was so chuffed to buy them locally from Refill and Replenish  – a fab mobile plastic-free shop run by the lovely Laura and Alice.

However, though I bought plastic-free dental floss from Wild Thyme ages ago at the Package Free Larder launch event March, I haven’t actually used it yet. My dentist will be horrified. 

Think of the Fishes: Since Emma’s post last year on eco-ing the festival experience, researching and buying eco sunscreen has been on my list. I have not yet sorted that but I am using up one from last year’s Turkey holiday in September

Fish are Friends, not Food: But my biggest oopsie is that I’ve been eating illicit fish here and there, mostly eating (delicious) sashimi at Sakura Southsea – and it’s not even ethical or MSC fish. It is a massive fail. And I dare to still consider myself a vegetarian. It is a complete identity crisis. Who even am I?


We learn from our mistakes and we are not about eco-shaming, so Emma – please lift us back up – what will you be focusing on for the next 365 days of Shades of Green?

365 Green Challenges

Emma’s Green Challenges for Shades of Green 365

  1. A lot of the green progress I’ve made is a case of thinking more about what I need and do not need. That’s cut down on packaging, as well as the creation of new items. I want to continue this thoughtful thinking next year.
  2. I’m taking a stand against presents. Over the next year, I’m going to be telling all of my friends and relatives that I’m not going to be buying them birthday or Christmas presents, nor do I wish to receive them. (Actually, I’m just linking them to this post.) I will be making exceptions for my niece and nephews, but in order to ensure they get something that they’ll cherish, I’ve asked their parents what they want.
  3. I will continue to cut down on:
    • packaging, even stuff that can be recycled, by buying naked products
    • animal byproducts, by eating vegan meals more often
    • food waste, by optimising  my use of Olio, the Trash Cafe, etc

Tamara’s Green Challenges for Shades of Green 365

  1. Terracycle and stretchy plastics in the Carrier Bag recycling banks – this is an ongoing de-merit. I have started taking stuff to carrier bag recycling but I still haven’t looked into it properly so always feel guilty in case I am contaminating it. I do take my crisp packets to a Terracycle collector in Southsea and keep my pens for Milton Cross School (but haven’t actually taken them) but again haven’t really done the research.
  2. Water-saving is a challenge indeed as hopefully, I will be moving this autumn (hence the new mortgage green win in our previous post) and my new-fingers-crossed-home has a water meter. This is something I haven’t experienced since living in Tobago when we would bathe using a bucket. I am going to become a water-saving bully, I know it! I am taking inspiration from Emma’s post on ‘How to Eco-Hack Your Bathroom’ and her tips as her household are water-saving champs!
  3. I have signed up to be #flightfree2020. I have warned my friends and family who reside abroad and am mentally preparing myself from now! Did you know that there is a new Sweedish word for the feeling of shame experienced when flying – flygskam. 2020 shall be flygskam free for me!

And so concludeth our anniversary introspection! Emma and I will report back on our green challenges in approx a years time in August-ish 2020 Till then, here’s to another 365 days of living in various Shades of Green!

And what of you Dear Reader, what are your green oopsies and challenges? – tell us in the Comments Section.

GREEN WINS

Emma
Tamara

Happy Anniversary to us – Shades of Green is two! 

In the last two years since we started Shades of Green, Emma and I (Tamara) have become firm friends with our shared love of milkshakes so thick the straw remains upright, theatre-trips and of course, recycling! 

In this two-part anniversary post, we will be celebrating our green wins, commiserating our ‘oopsies’ and setting challenges for the next 365 days of Shades of Green.

Today’s focus is on the individual changes and progress we have made since last year’s anniversary posts (check those out here and here) and so Emma and I discuss our green wins over the past year.


Emma’s Green Wins

Image by Ben Kerckx from Pixabay

Food Waste 

I’ve had a lot less food waste, not because, as was the case last year, I’ve been repurposing slightly out-of-date food, but simply because I’ve been eating more food before it goes “off”.

Image by Shirley Hirst from Pixabay

Compost + Recycling

Thanks to your insight and my mum joining the Zero Waste Portsmouth Facebook group, I’ve learned how to compost and recycle a lot more (Shameless plug for our next post – a refresh on everything that can be recycled in Portsmouth!). Also, thanks more to me wanting to lose weight than any green aims, I’ve been eating a lot more apples and carrots for snacks, rather than chocolate and crisps. And due to more careful shopping and better recycling/composting knowledge, we put our bin out on a monthly basis. 

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Transport 

I’ve continued to prioritise bus travel and walking around Portsmouth over getting lifts from my parents. Although, I will admit that I have planned my social schedule slightly around when my mum will be using the car anyway. (“Hey Tamara, do you want to go to the cinema on Tuesday? Not because my mum is driving near Gunwharf anyway…”).

Emma’s Portable Zero Waste Kit Lunch Box

Zero Waste-Kit

I’ve also created a portable zero-waste kit, a’la Tamara’s magic green backpack. I keep all of the stuff, bar my cloth bag and my water bottle, inside an old lunch box that can be used to transport leftovers home in. This goes with me everywhere: to the beach, to restaurants, to Disney World

Emma, that is a*mazing! It is so important to notice and celebrate our daily achievements and success.  You have made so many lasting changes and are generally kickin’ ass. Nice one dude.


Tamara’s Green Wins

Recycling – Cartons + Foils

As you may recall, until this February, I was taking a car-load of cartons every few months all the way to Chandlers Ford. But no longer, as there are now three carton recycling banks in the city! And the newest one is near Emma by Alexandra Park in Alex Way car park. *Happy dance*

I also took foils on those recycling runs and I am happy to say that I don’t even have to leave my house to recycle these now, as I am doing a serendipitous exchange with the lovely Sarah via ShareWaste. She drops off her organic waste on a weekly basis for my compost and takes my foils for recycling at St Mary’s Church, Fratton. Boom! The barter economy – well kinda!

Image by Younjoon CHOI from Pixabay

Travel

Emma, as you know flying is our shared Achilles heel! I am pleased to report in the last year I travelled by train from Fratton to Amsterdam to visit the Dutchman’s family. The Eurostar cost me £40! Bargain!  I did have the luxury of time – I travelled on a Wednesday and it took me basically all day. And Full Disclaimer – I flew home to Southampton. 

Green Money 

1. A huge win that I am very proud of is sourcing an ethical mortgage that is actually cheaper than my current mortgage! I will soon be the holder of a mortgage with Coventry Building Society which is ranked 3rd best ethical and environmental record of 37 mortgage providers by the Ethical Consumer. CBS scored 13.5/20 compared to my current mortgage provider The Co-operative Bank which scores a depressing 7/20. I have been with Co-op Mortgages for ten years and had believed them to be super-duper ethical. I was not impressed when I realised that I had been completely taken in by greenwash, the curse of not doing my research. A mortgage is the largest financial investment I will ever make and I am so pleased to be putting my money where my mouth is.

2. Emma and I, both individually and as the Portsmouth Green Party, were pleased to be able to contribute some money towards The Package Free Larder’s crowdfunding campaign. I am so excited to see this project become a reality as Emma, Esther from Zero Waste Portsmouth and PFL and I took a trip many moons ago to check out The Food Assembly project in Bournemouth (UK Assemblies have since closed down) as research for what is now The Package Free Larder. So it is a project that is close to our heart.

3. Till last year, my Amazon boycott was very ad-hoc and convenience often won over values. For the last 9 months or so I simply ignore Amazon’s existence in my internet search results – a head-in-the-sand tactic that works for me. The Dutchman wants to watch some tv-shows on Amazon Prime, but that’s his problem. I now buy books second-hand from World of Books which is recommended by Ethical Consumer (though definitely not perfect as books I purchased were delivered wrapped in plastic. Sigh!)

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Green Purchases

1.Crisps! Oh, how I love thee! I had a short-lived love affair with Two Farmers crisps which come in home compostable packaging and even set up a little crisp-buying group with a fellow Zero Waster Emily. That has come to an end at no fault of Two Farmers or Emily. I have The Diabetes and crisps are now but a memory! I have made some kale crisps since The Diabetes Diagnosis as chickpeas are a bit too carb-heavy at this stage in my Diabetes Recovery Journey. The kale crisps were tasty but more like crispy seaweed than crisps!

2. I bought the Dutchman a surprise gift of a stainless steel pint glass for use at Victorious Festival this year. At £7 from online shop Plastic Freedom, I was happy with that! Ooh Emma, we should add that tip to your eco-festival article!

Repairing my stuff

I, Tamara, did this!

But my proudest moment this year was repairing the underwire of my bra which had poked through and was trying to murder me. Usually, I put murderous bras in the rags donation but not this bra! I HATE sewing. It confuses me and gives me a headache. Yet I even sewed a little pad onto it to stop it rubbing under my armpit. I AM AMAZING!

I volunteer most months at The Repair Cafe Portsmouth and I pretty much told everyone there, I was so proud of myself!


Whew, that is a lot of positive vibes from the Shades of Green. This post has been such a joy to write, especially as I often experience eco overwhelm. Shades of Green has been such a positive focus in my depression recovery.  But the flip side of this eco-coin is that try as we may, we are incredibly fallible in our green efforts. So tune in on August 23rd for the second part where Emma and I admit to our not-so-green oopsies and discuss our challenges for the year ahead.


And finally, Dear Reader, we love to hear from you – what are your green wins? – tell us in the Comments Section Let’s celebrate together, dudes!


Interview with Portsmouth Green Party’s Fratton Candidate: Tim Sheerman-Chase

It’s that time of year again, dear reader. The local elections are less than a week away and all of us at Portsmouth Green Party have been fighting away to get you a Green councillor to represent you and hold the main parties to account.

With that in mind, I (Emma) sat down with the PGP’s Fratton ward candidate Tim Sheerman-Chase to find out why he’s running and what he would do to improve Portsmouth for its residents and the world at large.

Hey Tim, I was wondering if you could tell the readers of Shades of Green why you’re running for office?

I decided to get involved in politics and local campaigns after seeing worrying signs of environmental and social breakdown. With my background in science and engineering, I am also well aware that, without drastic change, climate breakdown is a huge problem. The good news is that pressure from campaigners can be effective and real improvements can be made.

I learned so much from authors like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein about how current politics isn’t working for most people, so I aim to be an independent voice in politics that is a change from business as usual.

That sounds like just what we need. Now, I know that PGP have been out in Fratton talking to people to find out the main problems they have in the area. Can you tell me what those are?

Based on our survey, the main concerns of residents’ are:

  • crime
  • antisocial behavior
  • fly tipping
  • street cleanliness

Residents also face the danger of illegal levels of air pollution, which causes a wide range of health problems. All of this is against a backdrop of devastating cuts to local services under the banner of austerity.

That’s just terrible. So, what would you do to address these problems?

Fratton Green Party Candidate Tim Sheerman-Chase talking with local police about issues affecting local residents.
Fratton Green Party Candidate Tim Sheerman-Chase talking with police about issues affecting local residents.

I talked to the local policing team and they heavily depend on information provided by the public. I would help coordinate residents’ concerns with the police and other council services. On cleanliness, we need to provide more convenient recycling and waste disposal options, rather than having to travel to Port Solent or pay steep fees for waste collection. I would work to coordinate council services to keep the streets clean.

On air quality, I have been campaigning for a number of years with the #LetPompeyBreathe group. I have been pressuring the council to make significant improvements, beginning with producing a realistic plan. Unfortunately, the council has been slow in producing results. Since we need to transition away from private car usage, we need good transport alternatives, including better bus services. We also need to investigate the feasibility of introducing a charging clean air zone as quickly as possible.

Why is the Green Party the party to address these issues?

Many people are disillusioned with mainstream politics because it only offers superficial change. As Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” The Green Party is different because of its emphasis on long term planning, while valuing people and the environment. This has allowed it to be an earlier adopter of many beneficial policies that have since gone mainstream.

That’s a really good point. If I wasn’t already a member, I’d join. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers and the people of Portsmouth?

I’ve been encouraged by canvassing feedback and the hard work of our campaign team. This means we have a good chance of getting a first Green councillor for Portsmouth. We can win and we can hold the mainstream parties to account.

Well, there you have it folks. If you care about Portsmouth, if you care about our planet, and if you’ve had it with politics as usual, get out there and vote Green on May 2. If you’d like to read more from Tim, Tamara did an interview with him about air pollution in Portsmouth, which is an important (and scary) read.

Green Death #1

*This post is in honour of Mike Wines, Green Party activist and an all-round good guy. We valued your dedication to the environment, your willingness to stand up as Portsmouth Green Party coordinator and council candidate, and your dry sense of humour. You are missed. *

(Disclaimer: Unsurprisingly, the following post is about death and funerals. Please be mindful and look after yourself. I am going to say it like I see it, so be prepared!)

Let us begin at the end

I am going to die.  My loved ones will one day die. The people sat chatting around me in this café will all eventually die. You too, dear reader, will die.

Why are we so surprised by this? I (Tamara) don’t see any point in beating around the bush about this inexorable fact and I don’t understand why death is such a taboo subject; to only be discussed when one is very old or in the process of actually dying.

I think now is the perfect time to consider the shape of my funeral. I am not ill, and neither is anyone close to me. The Mothers of the Dutchman and me are in good health and happily living their lives. While friends procreate, I have the epic responsibility of a cat. The time is now!

So many of my friends have no idea what they or their parents and partners would want if they became ill or died suddenly. This baffles me but then I grew up with an outspoken Trinidadian mother whose catchphrase whenever death planning is mentioned is ‘When you’re dead, you’re dead. Just burn me – or whatever is the cheapest.’ As you can see, we don’t stand on ceremony in my family!

Death shopping is a thing. Even in death we are consumers and I am determined that my death and body disposal should be as earth-friendly as possible. When the Dutchman and I wrote our wills, about ten years ago now, we stated our preference for an ‘environmental funeral’ and thought no more about it. But recently I realised it would be useful for my friends and family to have specifics as to what I mean by ‘an environmental funeral’.

Dear Reader, I went so far down the rabbit hole with this one, this blog post will be in two parts!

My Initial Green Death Requirements

This is a No from me!
Image by ianhearse from Pixabay

I want a funeral with friends and family talking and laughing. Lots of alcohol and speeches. Basically, a raucous wake that will make my neighbours complain. No whispering allowed.  The Victorian style funeral with a black hearse and pallbearers in top hats does not appeal to me at all.

I want it to be earth-friendly with minimum impact. I don’t want it to be a conveyor belt of death and whispers. No embalming (unless absolutely necessary). I’d love my body to stay at home. Minimum death purchases – no plastic flowers, no tombstone, no crap. Locally sourced food and drink. A biodegradable coffin made in the UK.

So armed with my list, I started my research…and immediately fell into the rabbit hole that is the internet – tabs galore were opened, never to be closed. I decided to take myself out of the internet and talk to real people with knowledge about this funeral malarkey.

Friendly Funerals R Us

Also not what I had in mind.
Image by carolynabooth from Pixabay

I visited a local funeral director who kindly talked through my many random questions and allowed me to a look round the viewing room – a subdued space with low lighting and a strategically placed box of tissues. I left understanding why so many of us use funeral directors when we are amid a loss – they are experts in the mysterious ways of the funeral world, whilst most people will organise only one or maybe two funerals in their lifetime.  I can imagine it is incredibly soothing to know that it will run like clock-work with minimal stress to the family.

Not for me – I left knowing what they were selling wasn’t what I wanted. But I am aware I must be mindful of what I am asking of my loved ones who may not be able to do the DIY funeral I’d prefer. If my mother decides she needs the support of a funeral director, I hope she will go to a local independent that is understanding of my environmental wishes. I want more than just an eco-coffin, I want a lifestyle…or should that be…deathstyle?

There are so many misconceptions surrounding the funeral industry. Did you know you don’t need to engage the services of a funeral director anyway? A deceased body does not have to be embalmed within the UK and can be transported via any vehicle – it doesn’t have to be a hearse, if the vehicle is safe, a suitable size and the body is covered – you are good to go!

My biggest learning curve was the costs associated with a funeral –so unnecessary, so much gentle up-selling and so very very expensive. I hadn’t realised how much a coffin could cost. You gotta have money to die.

South Downs Natural Burial Site

Lay ME in Lavender

To bury or not to bury, that is the burning question! I have always thought burial was an unsustainable option due to the sheer impact on the land, waterways and green spaces. The earth is for the living, so why take up precious land space once I’m dead and with an ever-growing population, we certainly can’t all be buried!

Being pumped full of chemicals for short-term preservation which will leach into the soil and water, being housed in a coffin which could last longer than my decomposing body – nah mate, burial isn’t for me.

Until I went on a road trip to the South Downs Natural Burial Site with my wonderfully open-hearted friend Chris. We met the manager, Al Blake, in a dusty cluttered office for a quick-fire round of conversation and questions. It couldn’t have been more different from my visit to the friendly funeral director. Here was a natural burial expert in walking boots and jeans who understood my distaste for the conveyor-belt style funeral, wasn’t fazed by the request to have the body at home and has a database of natural burial and DIY funeral friendly Funeral Directors.

At the South Downs Natural Burial Site, embalming and cremated ashes are not allowed. To be buried here, my coffin or shroud must be 100% bio-degradable. My unmarked grave will be dug by hand and my body taken to its resting place on a hand-drawn bier or horse-drawn cart. It will be the only funeral that day. My loved ones can lower me into the earth. When I asked this of the friendly funeral director, I was told this wouldn’t be possible due to health and safety. At the natural burial site, it seems anything is possible.

Chris and I wander down to the Natural Burial Site, originally a conifer and beech plantation planted about 40 years ago by the Royal Navy, now being replanted with species that belong on the South Downs. The re-stocked woodland will consist of native species that may eventually be coppiced and harvested for rural industry and wood fuel. Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management where trees and shrubs are cut back to ground level periodically to stimulate growth.

We meet ‘Young Chris’ who is hand-digging a grave under the cover of a flappy tarpaulin. This is too good an opportunity to miss and I leap down into the grave. It doesn’t feel scary or weird or morbid. It smells of damp earth and chalk – not surprising, considering the burial site is on chalk land. With both cemetery and national park status and the whole park belonging to Earth Trust, the 1985 bodies buried here aren’t going anywhere. Most natural burial sites shallow bury but here they dig deep into the chalk. Al comments that it might not be the most eco but with the local wildlife he considers it the most secure option.

There are considerations – I know my Mum will hate the steep walk down to the burial site. On a wet day, the chalk path is slippery. My guests will need to be prepared to rough it with walking shoes and sticks. But I don’t care – this is the place where you can stand in your sorrow and no one will rush you. I am in love.

But the price pulls me short. Back to reality. Can I really justify £2000 to be buried here? Holy guacamole, that is a lot of money. A cremation at Porchester Crematorium costs £615. Cost is my one big concern and I am still mulling it over. I will continue my death investigation into cremation and other body disposal options before I make my decision.

Let me put it this way – it’s going to take a green death extravaganza to top this.

Have you visited a natural burial site? What were your impressions? And where do you stand on funeral directors and the associated costs of death? Let us know in the Comments section.

The Second Part of my Green Death investigation will be published at the end of April. Probably. Who knows?!

How to recycle with Portsmouth Green Party

It should be no secret that Tamara and I (Emma) are keen on recycling. I mean we’ve written about it multiple times on Shades of Green and we’ve even toured Portsmouth’s rubbish and recycling plant together. (Yes, we’re very cool people.) That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised that we’ve managed to transform this love of recycling into a way of making money for Portsmouth Green Party.

We’ve recently started working with Recycling for Good Causes, which helps turn trash into cash by recycling unwanted items no matter their condition, thus saving lots of items from landfill. Better yet, we can offer a local drop-off site, so that you don’t have to arrange to ship the items anywhere yourself.

What can Portsmouth Green Party recycle for you?

There are four main categories of items that Portsmouth Green Party can now recycle for you, not including the ink cartridges that we told you about in a previous blog, and they are jewellery, currency, gadgets, and stamps. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Jewellery

recycling jewelry

This includes:

  • Watches
  • Odd earrings
  • Broken items
  • Costume jewellery

How many of our readers have got pieces of broken jewellery or sole earrings in their jewellery box because you just don’t know what you do with it? I myself have two earrings that lost their partners several years ago and one necklace chain with a broken clasp, but I couldn’t put them in kerbside recycling and didn’t want to throw them in the bin.

Thankfully, I can now recycle them along with any other unwanted jewellery, no matter what material its made from or state it’s in.

Currency

recycling money

This includes:

  • Notes
  • Coins
  • Foreign currency
  • Obsolete currency (i.e. the old style pound coins, pre-Euro currency, pre-decimal currency)

I think we’ve all had that moment when you’ve come back from a trip abroad and you have $1.93 left in your wallet or €3.47 at the bottom of your bag. Unless you’re a regular visitor, you may not want to keep it in the house and it’s not really enough to bother exchanging it back into GBP, so it winds up stuck in a drawer. The same goes for out-of-date currency – for some reason we have like 20 francs in a drawer at my house because no one knew what to do with it.

Gadgets

recycling electronic equipment

This includes:

  • Sat navs
  • Games consoles and games
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • Video cameras
  • Mobile phones
  • Portable music devices

Importantly, it doesn’t matter about the age or condition of the item. We can still recycle it.

This is actually fantastic because most places only recycle mobile phones. A friend of mine has been looking for somewhere to recycle her broken laptop for ages and the nearest place she could find to take it was Chichester and she certainly wasn’t going to make a special trip.  (I don’t blame her.)

Stamps

recycling stamps

This includes:

  • Loose used stamps
  • Stamp collections
  • First-day covers and presentation packs
  • Postcard collections

Yes, the things that you usually leave on the envelope to be tossed into the recycling can actually be used to earn money for PGP.

What will Portsmouth Green Party do with the money raised?

All money that PGP earns from these recycling efforts will be used to help make Portsmouth a greener (and Greener) place because while PGP is entirely volunteer-run, we do have a fair amount of expenses.

We will use the money to:

  • stand candidates at elections
  • create flyers for our candidates
  • print our newsletters
  • create protest banners

How can I get the recycling to you?

Just email me at blog@portsmouth.greenparty.org.uk and I’ll get in touch with a drop-off location.

Every Polluted Breath You Take

Air, oxygen, breathing – I admit these are not topics I tend to ponder as I go about my daily life. When in my car, I (Tamara) tend to be more concerned with evading Pompey traffic than about the effect I am having on the air quality. When I cycle around town trying to get past the self-same bumper-to-bumper traffic, I am not thinking about the fumes I am breathing in so much as trying to survive aggressive drivers.

But as with most things in life, it is all interconnected. Air quality in Portsmouth is at illegal and unsafe level. I first became aware of these issues when my local Portsmouth Green Party activists initiated the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign.

let pompey breathe

As a lazy environmentalist,  I prefer to have issues explained to me in simple, easy-to-understand terms. Here to do just that, in this special Thursday edition of Shades of Green, is Portsmouth Green Party activist and #LetPompeyBreathe spokesperson Tim Sheerman-Chase.

Me: Hihi Tim! Thanks for joining me via email to talk about the air quality issue in Portsmouth. As some of our readers may not be aware of the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign, what it is all about and what is your role in this?

Tim: #LetPompeyBreathe is a campaign group aiming to get Portsmouth’s air pollution within safe and legal limits. It is affiliated with Portsmouth Green Party, Friends of the Earth, local neighbourhood forums and other concerned groups.

My role is as spokesperson, blogger and researcher of government published reports. These tend to be fairly large and impenetrable, but I am assisted by my science background. I am the lead petitioner on the petition currently before Portsmouth City Council.

 

In a nutshell, what is the problem with our air quality?

Portsmouth is one of the worst cities in the UK for air quality, with pollution levels in continuous breach of both legal limits specified in the EU Air Quality Directive, English law, and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

 

Is the air pollution a problem across the whole city or is it localised to certain areas?

Pollution levels greatly vary around the city. Some particularly bad areas include:

  • Hampshire Terrace/Queens Street
  • The top of Commercial Road
  • London Road/Fratton Road/Kingston Road
  • Eastern Way/Milton Road

The residential areas of Southsea, Milton and Tipner have relatively better air quality.

Traffic is the largest factor in local air pollution. Diesel engines are particularly bad, particularly from diesel cars, buses and heavy goods vehicles. This is probably the easiest area to make improvements and bring pollution to within safe limits.

 

Gulp…I used to have a diesel car as I thought it was better for the environment than petrol cars! Luckily, it broke down on me and was replaced with a petrol-electric hybrid. What other individual actions can we take?

It is difficult to avoid air pollution completely for an individual person, apart from moving away from cities! However, you can reduce exposure by avoiding busy roads at peak times. Pollution is far worse inside vehicles than outside, so you can help yourself (while helping your community) by reducing car usage. Try to use public transport, cycling and walking instead, even if only for one day a week extra.

 

What is it specifically about our air quality that is unsafe?

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bj72L-0HpmR/?taken-by=pompeygreens

There are various types of pollution – Portsmouth has a particular issue with the levels of small particulate pollution (PM2.5) exceeding WHO safe limits. We also breach the annual NO2 limits in several locations.

 

Particulate pollution?

Particulate pollution (also known as particulate matter), is the general term for the solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Small particulate pollution is fine microscopic inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometres and smaller.

 

How is air pollution measured and who regulates it?

Regulations have been put in place to address the problem. Among the most significant is the UK law Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010. This specifies legally binding limits on the UK government for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate pollution.

 

That is a great start but it’s one thing to know there’s a problem and set national regulations and another to actually take positive action on a local level- what is actually being done about it?  Why are the council and government not being held to account?

As you said, government bodies often ignore their responsibilities and 278 of the 391 local authorities missed the legal targets in 2017.

These legal limits are gradually being enforced. The European court of justice is threatening the UK and five other countries with multi-million Euro fines if they do not comply with legal limits.  Three successive High Court victories have been won by ClientEarth over the UK government, with the government’s plans being found to be inadequate.

Responsibility has largely been given to local government, which have taken some steps to deal with it but far stronger measures need to be taken. Part of the ClientEarth ruling found that central government does not have a sufficient enforcement for local authorities to meet these legal limits. Being underfunded, local government is having difficulty in taking suitable measures. Also, in many councils, the political will to address the problem is lacking.

 

How does the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign hold Portsmouth City Council to account?

#LetPompeyBreathe has two main goals: to raise public awareness and to encourage Portsmouth City Council to take further action.

At a local level, there are two documents that the council are required to produce: an air quality strategy and an action plan. Currently, #LetPompeyBreathe are petitioning the council to urgently publish its Air Quality Action Plan for consultation. In the two months since the petition went live, we have gathered the required 1000 signatures for the issue to be discussed at the next Full Council meeting which is in July (and handed them in on Clean Air Day – which is today).

 

As for the effectiveness of petitioning, politicians respond to public pressure particularly when well organized. If they see there is a clear demand for something to be done, we are in a much better position. The petition is only one step in the campaign.

 

What specific actions could the council take to rectify the air pollution problem?

There are many things, including:

  • improve walking and cycling routes
  • make the urban environment safer and more pleasant
  • make public transport easier to use, more integrated, cheaper and cleaner
  • reduce car use through careful city planning

MPs from different parties have been calling for a new Clean Air Act which will greatly strengthen monitoring and control of pollutants. We also need to shift the cost of pollution on to the polluter, particularly in egregious cases like Dieselgate and the car manufacturers.

Most large cities will require a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to bring air pollution to within safe limits within a reasonable time.

 

Tim, thank you for taking the time to inform us about the #LetPompeyBreathe campaign and petition. Dear Reader, please sign the petition, if you haven’t already and share it with your friends, family, acquaintances and frenemies.

How to Vote

Today is the final article of our three-part ‘Adulting Mondays’ series where I (Tamara) attempt to demystify the upcoming local elections in Pompey.

In the last three weeks, we have discussed registering to vote and the role of the council and local councillors.  Perhaps you were inspired to email them a few questions or attended a hustings. Hopefully, you have an idea of who you are going to vote for this Thursday 3rd May 2018.

So let’s take a gander at the final part of the process – actually voting. The voting process is short and sweet – a bit like this blog post! Just follow these instructions:

(I am assuming you are eligible to vote and have registered to vote, as instructed two weeks ago. )

The Final Countdown

1. Locate your nearest Polling Station. To do this, check your Poll Card which has those details on it. Mislaid your poll card? Don’t panic Janet! Look it up on https://wheredoivote.co.uk

2. Rock up to your local polling station any time between 7am – 10pm on election day.

  • You do not need identification or your poll card to vote. I repeat you do NOT need ID or your poll card to vote!

Congratulations and celebrations! You made it to the polling station on the correct day and in time! And probably in the *rain/snow/sleet/sun (*delete as appropriate).

3. As you enter, you may see a few political party members with party rosettes waiting just inside the polling station. They may ask you for your polling number. They are not election officials and you are not obliged to give them these details. But please be nice, as they are activists and volunteers who are supporting their local candidates and political party.

4. Once inside the polling station, the election officials will ask you for your name and address. They will find you on the list and give you your ballot paper. If you are not sure of what to do, just ask them.

5. Go hide in the booth and mark an X in the box of your chosen candidate using the pen provided.

6. Do not take a selfie of your marked ballot paper. This is frowned upon, secrecy of the voting process and all that.

7. Put your ballot paper in the designated ballot box.

8. Congratulations, you have just voted!

9. Stride out safe in the knowledge you have exercised your democratic rights.

10. Feel smug for the rest of the day.

 

 

May the best candidate win and may the odds be ever in your favour! 😉

If you have any questions about the voting process, just ask in the Comments Section.