Welcome to the Environment Centre’s fourth edition of Eco-Centre News! Following on from having received Eco-Centre status last year, we have been continuing in our efforts to reduce our environmental impact. The Eco-Centre scheme recognises environmental commitment and active promotion of sustainable living, and we’re very proud to be flying the Eco—Centre flag in our Eco-Info-Hub. Come down and take a look if you haven’t already!
In this edition of Eco-Centre News, we will be sharing with you our achievements for 2014 and what we’ve been up to in the past year, what’s new at the Centre, Centre improvements, and information on Fairtrade and the Environment!
Our achievements in 2014
- Green Map taster day at St Thomas Library
- Business breakfast workshop on the environmental and financial benefits of good water management
- Free sustainable development seminar for managers and leaders
- Adds Literacy and Numeracy In the Outdoors Sessions
- Workshop on raw/living foods
- Swansea Veg Fest held at the Environment Centre
- Willow weaving course
- Summer swishing event
- Swansea Sustainable Schools Scheme Celebration Day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
- Love Food Hate Waste free training session for individuals, families, and businesses
- Work on Visitor and Info Area completed
- Eco-Tote Bag making workshop (making a tote bag out of scrap material)
- Garden revamp and planting completed
- Community Open Day at the Environment Centre
- New coffee shop menu (now serving lattes, cappuccinos, chai lattes and others with a new espresso coffee machine)
- Kitchen Pharmacy workshop (learning how to make home remedies out of kitchen ingredients)
- New website launched, allowing easier access to environmental info with our ‘Information Portal’
- Green Fayre at the National Waterfront Museum, with approx 1,815 visitors on Saturday, and 2,072 on Sunday
- Shop makeover after Green Fayre
- Eastside Energy Scheme back on
Monitoring our Consumption
As part of being an Eco-Centre, we regularly monitor our consumption and how much waste we produce, and we have some figures for 2014.
We’re happy to say that our water usage significantly reduced in the first half of 2014, having decreased by approximately 30% compared with the figures from the same time in 2013.
Despite the cold winter we’ve had, our gas usage has decreased by approximately 5%. It may not seem like a big difference, but every little helps!
Our electric use has also decreased, by 18%.
We have found that we have a bit of improving to do with reducing our waste – the number of recycling and landfill bags we put out during 2014 was higher than 2013, therefore this is something we will be working on in the next year. We did notice however, that the number of landfill bags decreased in the latter half of the year, when we reduced the number of bags that could go out to two.
Ecover Refill Station – 2014 Figures
The Environment Centre’s Green Shop runs a self-service refill station for eco-friendly Washing Up Liquid, Laundry Liquid, Fabric Conditioner, All Purpose Cleaner, Hand Soap, Shower Wash, and now also including Toilet Cleaner! Bring your empty Ecover bottles and refill for much less than it costs for a new bottle, and best of all you’re reusing bottles instead of putting them in the bin.
In 2014, we sold 815 litres through the refill scheme, and basing this on the average customer using 1 litre bottles, we can deduct that this means we saved 815 plastic bottles from going to the recycling plant, or landfill.
Visitor Centre Makeover!
If you’ve popped in to see us and had a cup of Fairtrade coffee recently, you will have noticed we have a flashy new coffee machine (new to us that is..) which allows us to make fancy Fairtrade and /or organic lattes and cappuccinos and spicy chai lattes. This means our menu had a bit of a makeover, and we have more options to choose from! Plus, we also have a loyalty card available in the coffee shop, with which if you buy six coffees, you get one free!
Around the same time, our Green Shop had a bit of a revamp, as we’ve had a move around and found new homes for some of our products. In addition, we have a few new lines in, including Clean and Fair, the new ecological AND Fairtrade cleaning line from Traidcraft. They definitely tick the ethical boxes! Pop in to see what other new products we have in stock.
Pond and Garden
Our garden had a bit of TLC last spring and summer. Its design is based on permaculture principles, and 2014 saw us striving towards an even more wildlife friendly space, which works with nature, and focuses on everything grown playing an important part in the dynamic of the space and having a use. We also did a lot of work on our pond, clearing it out, creating habitats within it, and building a homemade water filter. Come down and take a look, and ask us how to make a do-it-yourself pond filter!
Fairtrade and the Environment
As most of you know, it’s Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd Feb – 15th March), and there’s lots of events going on around Swansea to help raise money for the Fairtrade cause. Were you aware that choosing Fairtrade can be beneficial to the environment, as well as Fairtrade producers?
Fairtrade producers have one of the lightest carbon footprints, and usually very sustainable lifestyles. By purchasing Fairtrade products, you are helping to fund organisations and individuals who work sustainably off the land, with sustainable materials, and who alleviate harmful pesticides. To achieve the Fairtrade mark, producers have to adhere to certain environmental standards, and nearly all Fairtrade products are shipped, rather than flown in.
So when you buy Fairtrade, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying ethically, and are supporting an eco-conscious cause. The Environment Centre sells a range of Fairtrade products, from tea and coffee to snacks, to cleaning products and gifts. Make
sure you look out for the Fairtrade mark.
Go to http://fairtradewales.com/ for more information.
Keep an eye out for future blogs with more information on what’s mentioned here.