As with plastics, campaigns to reduce palm oil consumption, based on a concern for the loss of forests in Indonesia and elsewhere with its drastic effect on air pollution, global warming and indigenous peoples’ lifestyles, have been boosted by the much publicised ‘collateral damage’ to the orangutans who are losing their habitat and being killed in the process. In 2017 the EU voted to ban biofuels made from vegetable oils including palm oil by 2020. And some retailers are taking action – in March the supermarket chain ‘Iceland’ announced it will stop using palm oil in its own-brand products by the end of 2018. But earlier this year there was a report that the UK is pushing for a deal to boost palm oil imports in defiance of EU trends:
Partly in response to this, Rainforest Rescue have set up a petition against a free trade agreement on palm oil – go here if you want to sign it:
There has been a huge increase in awareness of plastic pollution, due in no small part to publicity such as David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ programme. We have seen victories both small and large, from PG Tips resolving to remove plastic from their teabags (did you sign the petition featured in our last newsletter?!!), and the pub in Bristol whch is switching to using drinking straws made from pasta; to the government commitment to introduce a deposit scheme for single-use drinks containers (plastic, glass or metal), and the UK Plastics Pact whereby in April companies responsible for 80% of plastic packaging in supermarkets pledged to crack down by 2025. And more people are signing up to get their milk delivered in glass bottles – must have read our November newsletter! Will 2G3S save the world, we ask ourselves?!
Local action on packaging
There have been several responses to my suggestion in the last newsletter that you let us know of positive initiatives by local shops:
We said that Barkers butchers, Great Shelford are very happy if you take a Tupperware container in when buying ham, sausages, cheese etc. It turns out that Searle’s butchers in Sawston do likewise.
Shelford Deli are now using degradable materials for their takeaways.
Dorrington’s Bakers in Sawston will give you your sliced loaf in a paper, rather than plastic, bag if you ask.
Slightly further afield, Arjuna on Mill Road, Cambridge, routinely allow you to use your own containers for herbs and spices.
2G3S survey – packaging and local sourcing
We have decided that we are going to do a more systematic survey of local food retailers and eateries to find out their policy on plastic packaging; and while we are at it we shall ask them to what extent they source their food locally. We hope to collate the results in time for the summer issue of this newsletter.
Do you know the difference between an MRF and an MBT?!
In April we organised a couple of trips to the Amey Waste Management Park in Waterbeach. On each occasion about a dozen of us toured the site, took part in a light-hearted quiz and a ‘which bin?’ exercise, and were given the opportunity to find out all we’ve ever wanted to know about recycling in Cambridgeshire!
We all came home having learned lots about what happens after our wheelie bins get collected, and how important it is not to put inappropriate things in any of the bins.
A visit here is recommended to all – unless you have a very sensitive nose, as the whole site does smell quite rank! Well done to our ten-year-old visitor with the acute sense of smell who endured it throughout and asked some of the most insightful questions.
Jon Crisp, the Information Officer at Amey, is going to have a stall at Shelford Feast on Sunday 15 July, where he will not only have answers to all your recycling questions but also games and quizzes for your enjoyment.
2G3S, Greener Sawston, and Sawston Free Church present a discussion evening (part of the Sawston ‘Your Village – Your Voice’ series) covering different aspects of Sustainable Food, including:
- Sustainable Food for the UK: options after Brexit
(Ian Hodge, Professor of Rural Economy, University of Cambridge)
- Growing your own organic food: barriers to change
(Simon Saggers, organic smallholder)
- An introduction to Cambridge Sustainable Food and latest news about establishing a Food Hub near Sawston
(Bev Sedley, Chair of CSF & Duncan Catchpole, leader, Food Hub task force)
There will also be a display on recycling, including how to use left-overs; and kitchen caddies for waste food to give away – see item on Recycling Champions, below.
Admission free; donations welcome: any profit to Cambridge Sustainable Food
7.45pm Weds 22 November, at the Free Church, 1 High St, Sawston CB22 3BG