GREENER FRAM » Other news and visits

Other news and visits

‘Tomorrow’ – Greener Fram’s First Film Night

Much preparation went into our first film night. The DVD was checked and previewed by Earl Soham scout group. Cakes were made, popcorn popped, a poster designed, printed and circulated. The hall at the FAYAP centre was beautifully set up. We arrived early to sort out the refreshments and put up some Greener Fram literature. The hall was just about full – over 30 people came. There was some head-scratching over unexpected technical problems but, after presenting our previous chair David Greenacre with a long overdue thank you for his commitment over the last few years, the team got the show on the road.

‘Tomorrow’ is a documentary full of optimism showing how communities around the world have taken the initiative to move towards a greener way of life. I had heard of the economic and social devastation in Detroit a decade ago, but I had no idea that its inhabitants had addressed the problem of local food scarcity by growing their own vegetables. All over the city, there are community allotments providing fresh produce. Iceland generates all its own energy from renewables. Copenhagen has windfarms owned by local co-operatives instead of large power companies. In Todmorden, West Yorkshire, there are vegetable beds all over town, including outside the police station. Totnes in Devon has its own currency, guaranteeing that economic wealth stays in the town, and is not diverted to national or multinational companies.

Many of the initiatives were started by communities or individuals – they were not led or financed by local or national governments. Without the red tape of bureaucracy, things can happen more quickly and communities have ownership of the project and a desire for it to succeed.

We asked our audience what the film had inspired them to do: – eat less meat, cycle more, grow my own vegetables, never eat at MacDonalds again were some of the responses.

We hope that these small seeds will grow into greater activity to help Framlingham as it transitions to become a less oil-dependent, more resilient town. We can’t save the whole planet on our own, we can only start with where we find ourselves.

However, even committed ‘greenies’ make mistakes; I have to hold my hand up to being the person who thought draping our Greener Fram banner over the cycle rack was a good idea. Sorry Steph!

Jackie Barrow

Exciting Recycling!

We all know the reasons why recycling is important – I don’t want to teach my grandmother to suck eggs here. But I didn’t think it could be so fascinating! Steve Lovett and I went on a tour of the recycling plant (MRF) at Great Blakenham recently, organised by Transition Woodbridge. The session was well-run and lasted nearly 3 hours, and I could have stayed longer (What a nerd!)

The plant itself is a vast building full of conveyor belts. If you’ve ever seen Monsters Inc and remember the scene with the doors, you’ll get the picture. Although much of the sorting is done by machine, the initial stages are done by hand, with dozens of workers picking items off the conveyors. The work is noisy and a little smelly and needs quick reactions. It’s mostly done by east Europeans, so what will happen post-Brexit is anyone’s guess.

There are now revised guidelines about what you can and can’t put in your recycling bin – most households will have had a leaflet recently – if you haven’t, check out the website – http://www.greensuffolk.org/recycling/ Having seen the operation, it’s clear why we are asked to recycle items in a certain way. They aren’t just being awkward.

Fun Facts

  1. NO waste in Suffolk is sent to landfill any more. As a clued-up Greenie, I was astonished to learn this. Whatever isn’t recycled, is sent to the new incineration plant across the road, where it is cleanly burned and turned into electricity, which can power around 30,000 homes a year, or a town the size of Lowestoft. All rejects from the MRF, and the contents of your grey lidded bin, go here.
  2. About 1500 used nappies A DAY are pulled from the recycling conveyors – yuk!
  3. Plastic bags and film. We are asked not to put plastic bags/film in the blue-lidded bins, (can be recycled at the ‘tip’) but there was so much of it there. It can’t all be removed in the processing and lowers the quality, and therefore value, of the ‘recyclate’ which is sold on to industry.
  4. Textiles. If, like me, you were disappointed to see that textiles are no longer included in kerbside collections, here’s why. This was a trial, but they found that 70% of textiles were put loose in the blue bins (rather than in bags as requested) so by the time they had gone through processing they were unusable. You can still recycle textiles in the roadside banks and at the tip.
  5. Tip opening times. If you use the tip infrequently, you may not be aware of the new opening times. All 11 in the county are now closed on Wednesdays. This is so they can be open longer at weekends and some evenings.
  6. A-Z Check out the A-Z of recycling at www.greensuffolk.org.
  7. Unsure? If you aren’t sure whether something can be put in the blue bin, it’s better to put it in the grey one, where at least it will be turned into electricity and not foul up the recycling process.
  8. Composting. It’s not worth buying ‘compostable’ nappies, carrier bags etc unless you are going to compost them yourself. Whatever isn’t allowed in your brown (garden waste) bin, won’t get composted from your blue one.

Now to book a tour of the incinerator!

Jackie Barrow