Greetings all and welcome to the last Shades of Green post of the decade! (Not to sound old, but I (Emma) swear 2012 was only like two years ago.)
Now, as this is our post-Christmas blog and I’ve been focused intensely on minimalising all year, I’ve written all about the most eco-friendly ways to dispose of unwanted gifts.
What can you do when you receive two DVDs of The Greatest Showman? Or a multi-pack of plain underwear? Or a subscription to Amazon Prime? (They don’t pay their tax, I’m not paying for their TV.)
Well, read on to find the best way to re-use your present. All of them more planet-friendly than storing them in the back of your closet for the rest of time.
(Although, that ugly sweater knitted by your aunt with your initials on… you’ll have to suck it up. You can always put it in the cat basket and say “she won’t sleep without it”.)
Some presents that you receive are unable to be returned; maybe they’ve been bought at a craft market or maybe it’s an Amazon Prime gift card when you’re a Netflix person. It might not be right for you but for someone else, it’s perfect. Especially if their birthday is close to Christmas- luckily, I don’t want presents this year.
eBay generally has free listings on items in January. I haven’t seen it advertised this year but it’s one of the quickest ways to get rid of your unwanted presents. (Who wants to do a car-boot in the winter?)
There is nothing to be ashamed of with returning presents. This post-holiday season, I will be returning some cosmetics that I suspect are tested on animals and this book (okay, it’s not actually this book but putting the real book up would be mean).
A note on store policy
Most stores will have a grace period after the holidays where presents can be returned without the receipt for the currentvalue. Be aware that this may be less than was paid for it because stores have their sales on; you can make the most of it by buying something you’ll make use of from the sale items.
I tend to exchange at supermarkets, where I exchange the item for food.
If you aren’t keen on these options; then as opposed to putting the items in charity shops (they get so full after Christmas), you prioritise direct action groups as money is often scarce in these places due to government budget cuts. (And ones that will no doubt come in the next 5+ years of Johnson!)
Hey all and welcome to Shades of Green’s semi-annual eco Christmas post. Now, you might remember that earlier in the year, I (Emma) vowed not to buy any Christmas presents for adults. (I was still going to buy them for my nephews and nieces.)
Now, that promise was made before what was (and contiues to be) a distressing few months for my family. My grampy doesn’t really get why I’m trying to refuse presents and my mum thought we were just doing this for people outside our immediate family.
I tried to fight back. It ended in an argument. And Tamara, after I almost screamed at her about the fact that I was now under stress to buy presents that I never wanted to in December, explained that presents are a love language and my family are probably just trying to show that they care, after our annus horribilis.
Thus I, the person who didn’t want to buy presents, am now doing an eco-gift guide for my family.
Please note: This is not an ad. No payment or gifts were exchanged for inclusion in this blog. These are simply eco-friendly companies that I have bought presents from for the three people that I live with.
When you buy local you can often cut down on transit and CO2; even if you still buy from a national or global brand.
A completely non-scientific case-study
If you wanted to purchase an individual bath bomb from Lush; you could order online and have that one item posted to you.
Compare this to buying that same bath bomb from your local store. They order their stock in massive amounts (50 bath bombs per box, sometimes as many as 30 boxes per delivery); the carbon footprint per bath bomb is much less.
Plus, they do have a massive package free (naked!) section.
Of course, it is always better to buy from small businesses in your local area. Here, I should mention the lovely Pigeon Books, who have been supplying me with presents for my nephews and niece since the summer.
They specialise in diverse books and have a whole section of eco-saving literature. Plus, if you live nearby they’ll deliver by bike and if you live further away, they’ll package your books in reused packaging.
When you buy handmade you’re helping someone to do what they want for a living; you get something uber unique and you might even get lucky by picking something from a designer that’ll be huge one day.
For this, I will recommend The Beehive Portsmouth, which has a collection of designers under one roof. We visited for the launch event back in September and loved it.
Tamara particularly liked the jewellery, I liked the small prints, and from the photos, it looks like Tamara’s husband Menno liked the food!
One of the major environmental costs is the production of new items and it’s much more eco to buy products that have been pre-loved.
I used to love doing this throughout the year and having my mum put stuff away for my Christmas presents, but, like most prolific readers, I now have more books than I could read in a lifetime.
Check out eBay, Gumtree or even Facebook Marketplace. Or you can pop down to your local charity shop and do twice the good.
However, if you’re looking specifically for books, which I always am, try World of Books, which is approved by both me and Tamara. They source books from charity shops, who are often overwhelmed by books, and prevent them from going to landfill.
On that note, if someone doesn’t really have a need for more items, why not consider a charitable donation? Plenty of charities will send out cards saying that a donation have been made in their name. (Remember to add on Gift Aid if you can!)
I’ve done this for a few years for my grampy with Doctors Without Borders, but if you want to donate closer to home, there are some worthwhile causes in Portsmouth mentioned in a previous post.
We all have that friend who could use a little push to be more eco-friendly and a good way to give that push in a friendly manner is to buy them a green gift.
Whilst getting ready to go, I realise it’s a ticketed event. I don’t have a ticket. Of course, I don’t.
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
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?
With love from a Green Hairy Feminist with the Black Dog in a Winter Election
That was a little blunt, sorry. But I put it that way mainly because it still feels incredibly blunt.
In the midst of grieving and looking after my grandad, my parents and I also found that we had to clear my grandparents’ house (and a fair bit of our own) so that my grandad could move in with us.
Now, for most people, this is already a difficult task. What do you keep as mementoes? What would your loved one want you specifically to have? ( We gave as much as we could to family members and friends, but it was all too much really. )
For us, it was made a little more difficult due to several factors, but the most difficult thing is that we didn’t just bag things up and donate them to the nearest charity shop.
This was entirely my fault because, having worked in two charity shops, I know that the sector is overwhelmed with donations because of our throwaway culture. Indeed, some of the stuff, like VHS tapes and small plastic toys, just cannot be sold by most charity shops and they have to bin them.
And because I didn’t want to do that, it meant that I had to find charities or organisations that would take donations of goods, which brings us to the purpose of this article.
I put out calls on the Green Party Instagram and my personal Trash Nothing account, sent out emails to local charities, and spent several nights Googling the words “Portsmouth + charity + donations”. (It’s been a fun month.) It didn’t exactly yield the response that I hoped for, but I want to share with you what I did find.
(I should note that this list is limited to items that I personally had to donate or items that a charity did specifically request from me. Some of these are ongoing donation needs and some are one-offs, so contact the charity before you donate to check.)
My nan had a lot of kitchen equipment, kitchen storage, cutlery, and crockery, which we donated en-masse to Food Cycle Portsmouth.
We also donated food that no one else liked to the local Food Bank. (Pro tip: If you pop it into the donation stations at big Tesco stores, they’ll donate 20% on top.)
The biggest things here were clothes, towels, and bedding, but thankfully they were pretty easy to donate.
The clothes, shoes, and accessories all went to Stop Domestic Abuse, where they will benefit survivors who may have had to leave an abusive situation without packing.
Clothes and shoes can also be donated to The Life House, while Two Saints are looking for coats at this time of year.
Towels, bedding, several spare duvets, and curtains all went to The Roberts Centre. They could also be donated at the Moving On Project.
The towels and bedding that was not good enough to be donated for use by people (i.e. it had rips or was stained or had faded) will eventually be donated the Stubbington Ark for their animals. However, at present Tamara is using it for eco house move (blog post to come).
My nan had so many books, she wanted Grampy to build her a library. I’m talking over 200 books after the family had chosen the one we wanted to keep.
We donated the hardbacks to the Portsmouth Library Service and the paperbacks to Stop Domestic Abuse. They can also go to any homeless shelter.
While we’re in the living room, PARCS said that they would take part-used art supplies, i.e. pens, pencils, paints, play dough, for their art therapy.
HOPE not Hate Portsmouth will also take donations of knitting needles and dark yarn to make hats and other items for refugees, while Age UK will take donations of any wool, which volunteers use to make items for sale.
Boardgames can be donated at Two Saints.
VHS tapes can be donated at Barnardo’s charity shop, but they can’t take 100 in one go, so I am selling them at St Mark’s Church’s tabletop sale tomorrow (if you’re reading on the publishing date) to raise money for Nan’s favourite charity, the RNLI.
(Also, I know that there’s another charity shop that takes VHS tapes, but they’re anti-LGBTQ and I have a rule against helping organisations that wish I didn’t exist.)
There were so many toiletries in my nan’s house that I was honestly a bit freaked out. We separated them out between two worthy causes, as shown below:
Wrapped soaps: Will be dropped off at various homeless shelters in December as part of a Christmas parcel.
Hair products, shower gels, and deodorants: Stop Domestic Abuse
As for part-used toiletries, the family have chosen to use them up ourselves, but you can donate them via Trinity Winchester’s Toiletries Amnesty. (I honestly would have done, but they never got back to me about whether I could post them.)
My nan also used Tena pants and had a big collection in her bathroom. As they were in sealed packets I donated them to the Food Bank, also using the Tesco drop-off point.) This is actually something, like menstrual products, that the Food Bank doesn’t regularly get donations of and can really help someone in need.
While we haven’t gotten around to donating the furniture yet – still not sure if we’re moving to a bigger place – we have found several places that will take it, including the Moving On Project and the Roberts Centre.
Also, for those of you who might run food-type businesses, the Age UK cafe is looking for cafe tables and chairs, as well as chilled display cases.
While Nan didn’t have an office, she does have a printer and several other pieces of computer equipment, which will hopefully be donated to The Life House soon.
Unwritten postcards can be donated to Postcards of Kindness, which is volunteers writing postcards to people in carehomes.
Garden and Garage
Nan loved her garden when I was younger, about as much as Grampy loved his workshop, so there were plenty of tools that needed donating.
We donated them to Tools with a Mission, but the Southsea Green can also take some garden equipment and Work Aid will take tools or all sorts (including sewing equipment and buttons).
There are also a lot of plant pots and broken ceramics (for drainage) that I’m currently giving away on Trash Nothing, but will give to the Southsea Green if they’re not gone by the New Year. (They had a stockpile when I called them.)
Hopefully, this has been helpful to you. I’d also like to highlight the Droppoint service, which is helpful for pinpoint specific items. If you have any other suggestions about where to donate items, comment below.
Donating blood is a wonderful act that doesn’t take a lot of effort and can save a life. I (Emma) have been donating blood for ten years now, when my iron counts allows, and was thankfully able to donate last on September 23.
However, as with most aspects of my life, I’m looking to make my blood donation more eco-friendly and these are the steps I’ve taken over the past couple of sessions to improve the greenness of my blood recycling. (I know, it’s technically reuse, but blood recycling sounds better.)
(This is the closest thing Shades of Green has to a Halloween post in 2019. Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about blood.)
I used to donate with a friend at Fratton Park, which would mean she’d pick me up on her way home from work or I’d have to get down there via a lift or public transport. However, given that I tend to feel really faint (or actually faint) after giving blood, getting the bus home by myself is not an option, especially when the buses from there to my house are fairly lacklustre.
After my friend got pregnant and couldn’t donate, I switched to the Mountbatten Centre, which is close enough to walk to and I take one of my parents with me.
There are blood donation locations all over Portsmouth, so there should be one close enough to you to walk/get the bus from home or work. (Just take someone with you.)
You’ve heard me and Tamara talk about water bottles for two years now and I’m going to encourage you to get one again. In my experience, you can fill up your water bottle with squash or water from the dispenser on the snack table before your donation and have the nurse refill it from the jug after donation. No need to use unrecyclable plastic cups.
If you like hot drinks after donating blood (you can only have them from your second donation onwards!), then take a pre-filled flask because the hot drink machines don’t look like they can accommodate a traditional or travel mug, only the disposable cups.
However, if you do want a hot drink and forget your thermos, you can always take the cup with you to be disposed of in the carton banks, at Gunwharf, or at Costa.
It’s highly recommended that you have a snack before and after donating blood, preferably something that’s very sugary or very salty. With that in mind, why not take some sweet fruits, like an orange, with you to enjoy and avoid packaging?
If you’ve forgotten your snack, opt for one of those provided that comes in recyclable packaging. As spotted on an earlier donation, Portsmouth’s blood donation team will take crisp packets for recycling as long as you put them in the right box or you can opt for a chocolate bar or popcorn if you plan to take the packaging home to recycle.
Two-minute recycling pick
Nurses don’t often have the time to sort out the bins for plastic bottles and other recycling that others have thrown in the bin by the pre or post-donation snack tables. While you’re waiting there, see if there’s anything in the bin that shouldn’t be and move it.
Full disclosure, my dad actually did this while I was complaining about feeling faint (weakling!) and not wanting to leave, so he should get the credit.
And finally, remember to compost the cotton pad that they stick over your arm. (importantly, not the plaster or the tape), rather than throwing it in the bin.
That’s it from me this month, but let me know in the comments if you have a blood donation coming up and if you have any more eco tips about it for me.
I (Tamara) am not a fan of sewing. Actually that is a complete under exaggeration. I frickin’ hate sewing! It is the worst. I hate trying to thread a needle. I hate trying to tie a knot in the thread. I hate having to squint as I attempt to sew. I hate how I stab myself, no matter how careful I am. And don’t get me started on the terrifying pricks that are sewing machines.
It will come as no surprise to you that I have begun attempting to sew.
This is purely a means to an end. I am tired of throwing away murderous bras
with underwire as it’s weapon of choice. Bras for bigger boobs are bloomin’
expensive. But I hate sewing, so how do I solve this #firstworldproblem?
Dear Reader, there are a breed of folks who enjoy sewing!!! I have found and befriended these strange and wonderful beings and learnt their magical ways.
This is a free monthly pop-up event where you can bring your broken items and learn how to repair them. If you can carry it, we will try to repair it. I say ‘we’, for I have volunteered at Repair Café Portsmouth since it started. As I have no actual repair skills, you will find me in the café serving up nibbles provided by local food waste champions Foodcycle Portsmouth.
I have cleverly befriended the textiles team (shout out to Denise, Laura, Sarah and Meg) who have kindly mended a number of peculiar items for me – my many reusable bags have been strengthened and repaired by Denise and my backpack has been given a second chance at life thanks to Laura. They gently and patiently encourage me in my attempts to repair easier items, like ripped pillowcases, and cheer me on when I get annoyed and discouraged, which I do constantly because I bloody hate sewing!
The regular monthly Repair Café Portsmouth sessions are at the Buckland United Reformed Church, 174 Kingston Road, Portsmouth every 3rd Saturday (except for August) from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm.
I am on a mission to repair my headphones as the foam ear cushions have
completely disintegrated. My initial reaction was chuck them and to buy new
headphones. Luckily my cheap instincts overrode my consumerist ones! It occured
to me that rather than buying new foam ear cushions I could make them! Except
of course, I can’t make them as I am incapable and I hate sewing.
So I found someone who could help. And that someone is my friend, the
lovely Claire, who runs a sustainable textiles drop-in group. Annoyingly, she
is keen to empower me to make the headphone covers myself. I admit I was hoping
she would just do it for me. Sigh! But she will walk me through the process and
hold my hand (not literally as that would make the actual sewing quite
The Sustainable Textiles sessions are drop-in and can be found at The
Garden Room at St Judes Church, Kent Road, Southsea. Beginners and experienced
sewers are welcome. Bring an item and have a chat while repairing it, or join
in with the organised activity of the session.
Upcoming dates are October 21st 10am-12.30pm, November 15th 11am-3pm and
December 3rd 5pm-8pm. Come for as long as you want and sessions are free with
To book a place or for more information, contact Claire on 07814 864973.
Knit More in Common
I am trying to change my attitude when it comes to skills like sewing
and knitting. As you can see, it currently is: ‘It is too hard, I hate it, I
can’t learn, I can’t do it and please someone do it for me.’ My attempts to
repair my bras and my headphones are a positive and deliberate attempt to
change my narrative to: ‘I will try, I can, please someone help me’.
Knit More in Common is a craft group that meets at Southsea Library to make warm blankets, hats and scarves to send to migrants living rough across Europe. And the best bit (for me!) is if you can’t knit (which I can’t), they can teach you! Hosted by HOPE Not Hate Portsmouth, the next session is on Saturday 9th November, 3 pm-5 pm at Southsea Library, Palmerston Road.
And you, dear reader? Have you visited Repair Cafe Portsmouth? Can you sew? Will you fix my stuff for us please? 😉 Let us know in the comments below.
I need your help. I have a dilemma. The answer to my dilemma is patently obvious yet I bury my head in the sand with my cute flamingo butt waggling in the petrol scented wind.
Do I get rid of my car?
I should get rid of my car.
I do not want to get rid of my car.
I will get rid of my car. Someday. Just not right now.
do it, the climate
We are in a climate emergency. At this very moment. In the here and now. Our current present. We are knowingly hurtling towards the cliff edge and rather than do an emergency stop, we turn up the radio and tell ourselves the cliff is an illusion.
According to the IPCC report published last year, we have until 2030 to limit climate change. That is 11 years to do some serious damage limitation. Global warming must be limited to a more manageable 1.5-degree increase and carbon dioxide emissions must be significantly cut. To do this requires a significant and dramatic change from government, corporations and citizens.
I am a citizen. I have a car that contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. I should get rid of my car. I don’t want to get rid of my car.
do it, #letpompeybreathe
Portsmouth is an island. A beautiful, vibrant traffic-crammed island with limited parking. I can walk, get the bus (though I baulk at paying almost a fiver just to get into town). I live near the train station. I can get the coach. Why am I contributing to Portsmouth’s poor air quality, traffic and parking problems? I don’t need a car. I am able-bodied and don’t have children. I don’t need a car to commute to work or get around.
I should get rid of my car. I don’t want to get rid of my car.
don’t do it, mental health
I have made no secret of the fact that I have clinical depression. I have been managing it and some days I even forget I have it. But in the early days of my depression and subsequent relapses, I would retreat into my bed and struggled to leave the house, sometimes for days and weeks at a time. That’s when the car became my lifeline and my freedom. I would drive to Sainsbury’s and have some chips and do some shopping and come home feeling like at least I had achieved something. I would agree to go out and do stuff, but only if my partner drove us. But that was then and this is now.
I should get rid of my car. I don’t want to get rid of my car.
don’t do it, Green-ish
My car is a hybrid. And maybe one day, I could afford to get an electric car. Also, I recycle loads and try to live an eco life. Next year, I’m even giving up flying for a year. So that’s not so bad, right? Except the car tyres still release plastic into the environment and the electric is produced from the burning of fossil fuels. And the argument still stands, living in Portsmouth, I don’t need a car.
I should get rid of my car. I don’t want to get rid of my car.
will I do it?
In my defence, I have been practising not having a car and have been using it much less. Choosing to cycle even in the rain (ergh) and to take the bus and train when I would have otherwise driven.I won’t lie, I find it expensive and it does heighten my anxiety. Though to be fair, parking in Pompey heightens my anxiety too! I worry that by getting rid of my car, I will become house-bound and isolated when I next have a depressive relapse. And there is the universal fact of convenience, sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to drive with the added bonus of not getting wet!
I should get rid of my car. I don’t want to get rid of my car.
In an ideal rosy cartoon-stylie world, in writing of this post, having faced my fears, I will choose to live a bigger life and get rid of my god-damned car.
Maybe soon. But not yet.
But if not now, then when?
Disclaimer: If you are a vehicle owner/ driver, this is not a judgement or attack on you and your reasons for owning a car. This is my story. Having said that, if I get rid of my car, will you get rid of yours?
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.
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
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
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)
All household batteries including ‘button’ batteries from watches.
Battery packs from laptops, mobile phones, power tools and remote control units.
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.
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 )
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.
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)
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: Recycle Kerbside
Aerosols, such as
Deodorant aerosol containers
Tip: Take the plastic aerosol lids to Sainsbury's mixed plastic banks.
Metal Tins, such as
Shoe polish tins
Bedroom: Leave The House
Out and ABout (BEDROOM)
Where: Glass Recycling Banks can be found across the city. To find your nearest one, go to Portsmouth’s City Council Recycling Locator here.
Glass jars and bottles such as body cream and face cream jars. Remember, you can leave the metal lids on.
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.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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
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,
Inflatable unicorns etc.
Water wings/ armbands
All sorts of other beach paraphernalia, inflatables and water toys
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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 discussour green wins over the past year.
Emma’s Green Wins
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”.
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.
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…”).
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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!
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!
Promoted by T Sheerman-Chase, 99 Pretoria Road, PO4 9BD on behalf of Portsmouth Green Party. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other party, agency, organization, employer or company.