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.