I think we all thought we were all pretty good ‘recyclers’, but soon realised we could probably do more.
All Recycling collected from our homes in West Sussex is taken to the Materials recycling facility known as MRF, where it is sorted into separate materials using state of the art technology, ready for reprocessing and manufacturing into new goods and products.
Most of the visit is spent in the education centre with a talk given by Jo Norman, Education and Communications officer for Viridor, who was happy to answer all our questions and queries.
We then donned safety clothing and headgear to stand out on the viewing platform to watch this incredible machine at work.
It was well worth a visit and I would highly recommend to other groups in West Sussex, as it gave us all food for thought and was not at all RUBBISH.
Words: Sarah Greenway
Photos: Dinah Barrand
Many Thanks to Sarah for organising such an interesting ‘bit on the side’.
9 members enjoyed a Christmas meal at Chez Moi in Aldwick. Excellent food and wine, friendly service and of course great company. All that was lacking was a bit more light to read the menu and take a clearer photo.
On October 31st, Kate and Gina set off to the WI End Plastic Soup Conference at the Abbey Centre in Westminster. The speakers – Bruce Newport from The Environment Agency, Stephanie Wright from Kings College London, Arturo Castillo of Imperial College London, Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project and Natalie Welden from Glasgow University – were erudite and passionate about their subject and the information provided frighteningly demonstrated the importance of this WI campaign.
So, what is the issue?
Microplastic fibres are small plastic fragments (5mm or smaller) that are shed from synthetic clothes when laundered and end up in the sea and wider environment. The scale of the problem is large: millions of people wash their clothes every week, shedding these tiny particles that are too small to be caught by the machine’s filters, flowing into the sewage system and eventually into the ocean.
Due to their small size microplastic fibres are readily ingested by aquatic life, filling up their stomachs which can eventually cause death. We also know these fibres can end up in the food we eat – the long term effects of which are not yet clear.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has predicted that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish. Urgent action is needed to raise awareness of the issue: the campaign is about educating communities and raising awareness amongst members and the wider public to put the issue on the public agenda and encourage greater action.
In light of the facts that were presented to the conference, it was hard not to feel pessimistic but Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project was more upbeat with suggestions on how as a group and as individuals, we could make a difference.
Actions that could be taken included: washing at a lower temperature, ensuring that clothes were only washed when necessary rather than when half dirty, reducing the length of the wash cycle and ensuring that washing loads run at capacity. It was also suggested that members might wish to invest in a fibre catching device such as the Cora Ball for use in washing machines.
The Cora Ball does not solve the problem completely but claims to remove about 30% of microfibres released in the washing cycle.
After the academic speakers, three members of Selby Swans WI (together with mannequin Adelaide dressed completely in clothes made from unrecyclable plastic) gave an inspiring talk. As a fairly new WI they had really grasped the nettle with this campaign and shared with the conference the many ways they had worked to spread the message to their local community and the encouragement given to members to pledge to make a difference.
It was a hard act to follow but the representative from Isle of Wight Federation spoke about this campaign and the way in which they had linked it with the move to reduce the single use plastic. The Federation is working hard with other IOW stakeholders to really make a difference.
The floor was then opened up and members had a number of excellent ideas and suggestions about how the WI could be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Gina and Kate came away feeling that the issue was a really pressing one and that efforts needed to be exerted on government and businesses to take steps to reduce the sea of plastic which is threatening to compromise our health and environment. There is however much that we can do as members to make a real difference.
Learn more and raise awareness– watch ‘A Plastic Tide’, Sky’s documentary looking at the scale of ocean plastic waste and how it is entering the food chain.
Use the NFWI’s postcard and write to your favourite clothing retailer asking them what they are doing to tackle the issue of microplastic fibres (available in the NFWI report – In A Spin – on pages 20 and 21 and also available to download on My WI).
Use the NFWI’s template MP/AM letter to highlight the report findings and ask for commitment from Government (available to download on My WI).
Think about ways in which you can cut back on single use plastic. One delegate recommended the book ‘No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference’ by Martin Dorey. The book is available in West Sussex Libraries.
Consider the laundry suggestions outlined above on how to minimise microplastic pollution
With Christmas rapidly approaching, think about where presents and wrapping paper may end up. Each Christmas alone the UK generates the weight of 3.3 million Emperor Penguins in plastic waste. And 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used each Christmas in the UK alone – enough to go around the globe 9 times! Metallic wrapping paper and paper with glitter on is NOT recyclable and glitter is actually a microplastic so best avoided in all it’s forms. Maybe think about a different way of wrapping (non-plastic) gifts:- https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/how-furoshiki-japanese-fabric-wrapping/
Pick up plastic from the beach – we’re in a perfect place to do that.
It’s mid August and nearly 30 women dressed in school uniform have gathered at Rowland Rank hall – it can only be the Bognor Regis WI Summer Social.
After a welcome drink in the courtyard members were seated at school lunch tables in 2 houses – Pankhurst and Denman. Headmistress Dinah took the register with apologies from, among others, Theresa May who had to stay home in case Boris moved in.
Singing Jerusalem was tunefully led by Sue Austin, and packed lunches in an amazing array of crafted lunch boxes were eaten. Much reminiscing took place over lunch and there was nervous anticipation of the English, Maths and Art lessons that were to follow (the ‘Art’ work will be on display at our next meeting).
Games took place outside with hopscotch, skipping and relay races. Throughout the afternoon points were being accumulated for the Houses. Denman showed their prowess for physical activity, and Pankhurst won the academic prize.
The lunch box competition was won by Flo Page with her inventive ‘TV’ lunchbox. Whilst we enjoyed tea and biscuits, prefect Barbara rounded off the afternoon with story time and a rather racy tale…….
An Ode to Fifty Shades of Grey
The missus bought a Paperback
down Shepton, Saturday,
I had a look in her bag;
…T’was “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
Well I just left her to it,
…At ten I went to bed.
An hour later she appeared;
The sight filled me with dread…
In her left hand she held a rope;
And in her right a whip!
She threw them down on the floor,
And then began to strip.
Well fifty years or so ago;
I might have had a peek;
But Mabel hasn’t weathered well;
She’s eighty four next week.
Watching Mabel bump and grind;
Could not have been much grimmer.
Things then went from bad to worse;
She toppled off her Zimmer!
She struggled up upon her feet;
A couple minutes later;
She put her teeth back in and said…
I must dominate her!!
Now if you knew our Mabel,
You’d see just why I spluttered,
I’d spent two months in traction
For the last complaint I’d muttered.
She stood there nude, naked like;
Bent forward just a bit ….
I thought oh well, what the hell,
and stood on her left tit!
Mabel screamed, her teeth shot out;
My god what had I done!?
She moaned and groaned then shouted out:
“Step on the other one!”
Well readers, I can’t tell no more;
About what occurred that day.
Suffice to say my jet black hair,
Turned fifty shades of Grey.
Saturday August 4th dawned bright and sunny for the Hotham Park Country Fair and for the BRWI stall and, as the temperature continued to climb to dizzy heights during the day, there was much relief that the allocated site was a shady one.
Under the gazebo stood a mountain of home-made cakes and lashings of chutneys, pickles, jams and marmalade. In addition there was a wide range of beautiful crafted goods from bags and mobiles to child knits and gloves.
The fine weather and the Fair’s many attractions ensured a constant stream of customers and before the end of the day the cakes (who can resist a WI cake!) had all been sold and there were very few preserves or hand-made items remaining.
It was a super day that was much enjoyed by the WI volunteers and those who came to support; many thanks to everyone who made it such a success. And the icing on the cake was the raising of £371.80, out of which we’ll make a donation to Friends of Bognor Hospitals, one of our selected charities this year.
On a hot day in August, nine members of Bognor WI travelled to London to find out more about the suffragist and suffragette movement.
First stop was Westminster Hall where, in a Voice and Vote exhibition, rare and previously unseen historic objects, picture and archives from the Parliamentary collections and elsewhere were on show. Together with immersive and interactive technologies, the exhibition told the story of women in Parliament, the campaigning, the protests and the achievements. It was a fascinating display. From here it was a short walk to a café in the Supreme Court for much needed refreshments and a rather longer journey up Whitehall to a shady pitch under a tree in St James’ Park for ice creams and a breather.
The group then made its way to Caxton Hall to meet Dr. Diane Atkinson, author of the best- selling ‘Rise Up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes’ who gave a spell binding talk on the Suffragette movement and some of its stars. The talk was enlivened by the fact that the group had the opportunity to see many of the landmark places known to or made famous by the women. These included statues to Emmeline Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett, Caxton Hall itself the site of many of the seminal meetings of the Suffragettes and Parliament Square where the women attempted to ‘rush’ the Palace of Westminster. This last provoked such violence against the women, including acts of indecency against some of the demonstrators, that the WSPU changed its tactics, went underground, and waged ‘guerilla warfare – including acts of arson and the organised breaking of windows in Whitehall.
There was so much to take in; so many stories of courage, persistence and suffering. We will be forever in the debt of such extraordinary women.
After many thanks to Diane, the group adjourned to Pizza Express to fortify them for the journey home. It was a brilliant day – many thanks to the organisers!