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Sustainable Wantage
April 2018 Newsletter

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Wantage Plastic Waste Survey - The Results 
Drinking water fountain with girl
An amazing 202 people responded to our survey about plastic waste last month. Thank you!

When asked where most of their plastic waste comes from, 79% of people said they
produced the most waste from fresh food (fruit, veg, meat, fish...). 85% indicated that they would like to be able to buy loose produce using their own containers. This is certainly something we can work on as a town.

Jars refilled with beans and pulsesCalling Wantage businesses

We plan to approach Wantage shops and businesses over the coming weeks to ask whether they are happy for customers to bring their own containers to avoid plastic waste. We will let you know what they say. If you would like to add your business please fill in our online form, or email Zoe.

The plastic issues which concerned people the most were the impact on wildlife (96%), and litter (86%). We asked what single change or action people would most like to see. The three most popular were a national ban on single use plastic (39%), a bottle deposit scheme where the deposit is refunded on return of the bottle (26%), and more plastic free shopping options locally (18%). Old advert for free drink from bottle deposit

This week's news is that England will soon see a bottle deposit scheme! Full details have yet to be decided including how big the deposit will be.

The vast majority of those surveyed (96%) use reusable shopping bags, with 67% refilling drinks containers. Half (50%) of respondents said they refuse drinking straws.

You can find full results of the survey here.

petitions about plastic

Chocolate egg with candyAsk Easter egg manufacturers to make 2019 the first with plastic-free Easter egg packaging as the norm.
cinemas to replace plastic straws with biodegradeable alternatives.
Call for a
charge on disposable coffee cups.
Ask companies to
remove plastic from teabags
Ask Starbucks to make a #BetterCup.
Another asking
Starbucks to make a 100% recyclable cup.
Class 5 at Oxley Park Academy have set up a petition calling for a
ban on plastic straws.

The Mix logoIn The Mix in April:

Tues 3rd Monthly Craft Night
Wed 4th Comic book workshop
Sat 7th Repair Cafe - this month we can also tackle clothing and fabric repairs!
Thurs 12th FREE Basic edible horticulture training for NEETs and anyone long term unemployed - please spread the word
Sat 14th Learn to sew - introduction to dressmaking
Wed 18th Sustainable Wantage Board meeting, all members welcome
Sat 21st Mosaic workshop
Wed 25th Green Drinks, topic for this month - identifying bird song
Sat 28th Silver Jewellery workshop (morning) Wire workshop (afternoon)
For more info or to book on any of the courses or workshops at The Mix, email Jo, call 07768 767787, visit the Mix website, or the Mix Facebook page

Resource Bank logo
Knitting needles and wool
The Resource Bank is collecting: books and board games for teenagers; knitting needles. A workmate would be really useful if anyone has one they're no longer using! We're also looking to acquire a projector for The Mix , if anyone has an old / no-longer-needed one please get in touch with Jo or call 07768 767787. We still have some hayboxes to give away, with instructions.


What is... a positive feedback mechanism?Question mark

Light coloured ice, with darker waterIn a system such as the Earth - when conditions change, those changes can feed into a loop which magnifies the change. There are several examples of this in climate science. Arctic sea ice is white in colour, meaning it has a high 'albedo' or reflectivity. When the sun's rays hit ice, much of the heat energy is reflected back into space. However liquid water is much darker in colour, as the photo illustrates. This means that when ice melts it has a much lower albedo, and more solar radiation is absorbed. This warms the water, which melts more ice, lowering the albedo further and absorbing yet more heat. This chain of events amplifies the initial change, and is called a positive feedback mechanism. It is one reason the Arctic is warming far faster than the planetary average.


In Brief

Faringdon Food Refill Scheme. A group in Faringdon is aiming to set up a zero waste wholefood co-op, to allow people to refill their own containers when buying food. If you're interested, you can join the Faringdon Refill Facebook group or email Helen.

Plastic straw sticking up out of seaweedPlastic Straws - which companies are banning them? This article describes how different companies have responded to public concerns about the impact of plastic straws on wildlife. McDonald's will try out paper straws, All Bar One have already managed a considerable reduction in plastic straw use, and JD Wetherspoon have stopped using plastic straws. Waitrose will stop selling plastic straws from September, Iceland have removed them from their own label range, and Morrisons will phase them out. Marriott Hotels and London City Airport have all stopped using plastic straws.

Red SquirrelThe return of pine martens could save Britain's red squirrels. The invasion of grey squirrels that has decimated native reds across the UK is reversed when pine martens prowl the woods, new research has shown. Pine marten populations have also dramatically reduced in the past, but are now recovering in some areas. It will take time for their numbers to increase, and red squirrels still need protection in the meantime. Researcher Emma Sheehy said “It is really encouraging news in a global context, as it supports the concept that ecosystems with native predators can offer greater resistance to invasive species.”

Chewing gum on pavementThe University of Winchester has signed up to a new scheme to collect and recycle chewing gum. Heathrow Airport also ran a three-month trial which it said led to a "noticeable improvement" and saved it £6,000 in cleaning costs. The gum is made of a synthetic rubber, which can be made into new objects.

The UK's carbon emissions have fallen to a level last seen in 1890, mostly thanks to the falling use of coal. CO2 emissions are currently 38% below 1990 levels. However emissions from oil and petroleum have increased, with average emissions for new cars rising last year. Leo Hickman of Carbon Brief said "If the UK is to meet its climate targets, this rate of decline will need to be maintained, even accelerated. Action will need to be focused on the transport and building sectors, where emission reductions remain elusive."

The Living with Mammals survey runs throughout April, May and June. To take part you need to record any wild mammals you see and any signs they leave behind, such as droppings or footprints.

Out and About in April

Thurs 5th - The Secret Wildlife of the Forest of Dean - talk in Oxford OX3 by Nick Martin.

Tues 10th -
The Challenges Facing Butterflies, Moths and Nature - talk in Oxford OX2 by Jim Asher.
Wed 11th April - Black-Tailed Godwit Recovery Project - talk in Exeter Hall, Kidlington by Hannah Ward.

Thurs 19th - 4pm. John Sharp will talk about Tidal Energy at the Harwell Green Club. To book a place (as you'll need to be registered on the access system to get in) contact John Vandore.

Mon 23rd -
Waterblitz - test the water quality of streams and ponds. Kits are free, but you need to register in advance.

Starting 7th April (six sessions over the year) -
Basic Plant Identification Course in Oxford. 

Green Drinks Sustainable Wantage SocialGreen Drinks

Wed 28th March
7:30pm - 9pm in The Mix, Mill Street
Bring your own tipple. All welcome.

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