September 05, 2013

Getting Communal

Big day today. Went to the Upcycling* workshop that was being put on, and learnt an awful lot about what Portsmouth does as green initiatives.

The workshop itself was part of Green Neighbours. It's a scheme that makes champions out of residents in the city. There are a little over twenty people signed up who take part in (and occasionally run) workshops on various topics, while living an exemplary lifestyle to spread the green message.

They’re heroes of sorts for the council, volunteering and helping out with things in ways that make much of the scheme essentially free to run or join in with. Manning a stall at a large festival recently, they talked to more than a thousand people about sustainable living ideas. They're also amazing to talk to, properly keen about everything sustainable. I can heartily recommend www.permapeach.co.uk , a blog by one of the Green Neighbours.

I got hold of some facts and figures about recycling in Portsmouth today, and they make some odd contrasts with themselves. Just hold the following three facts in your head:

  • Portsmouth has the 3rd lowest proportion of waste going to landfill in the UK
  • Portsmouth recycles the lowest percentage of waste of any city in the UK
  • Portsmouth has the highest participation rate in recycling schemes in the UK

So everybody is recycling, but nothing is being recycled, but nothing is going to landfill either? Huh?

The explanations for these are simple, that people recycle but are bad at it, and Portsmouth has an awesome waste to energy facility, but they're a fun set of things to get your head round. Solving Portsmouth's waste problems is quite the puzzle.

*Upcycling: Considered a higher tier than Recycling, probably on a par with Reuse. Turn something you would discard (consider recycling discarding for now) into something vaguely useful. Tin lids become coasters, plastic bags become crocheted animals, empty bottles become "vintage" "shabby chic" flowerpots…

It's nothing new, we did it throughout WW2, but some of the results are pretty cool.


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