Newsletter issue 818th June 2021
Plastic Free Swindon is nearly 3 years old which means it's nearly Plastic Free July. It's a time of change for the campaign as we create a new standalone constituted group. Some of our work is on hold until this is done. A couple of the longer term members are leaving and some new members coming in. More on that in the next newsletter.
Awesome new resource!
We are proud to present The Life of a Plastic Bottle. It shows that plastic pollutes throughout its existence, that we need to concentrate on reducing plastic rather than recycling it. Vital messaging, please take the time to digest and share. Thanks so much to Lucas Browne for his hard work and creativity.
Shaping our world
One of the reasons that education and resources like The Life of a Plastic bottle are so important is because we are battling against the disinformation of people and organisations who seek to manipulate us and shape our world. They control much of the mainstream media.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) consist of many of the organisations who continue to steer us towards social, environmental and ecological collapse. They seek to facilitate the continued use of plastic rather than focus on reduction. With regards to plastic, their members are major oil / plastic corporations and the banks that fund them! Exxon Mobil, Chevron, DuPont, Barclays (article 1 | article 2), HSBC (article), JP Morgan Chase (article), Citi Bank (article)..!! Yet the WEF have the audacity to offer supposed solutions to crises that they are largely responsible for. Knowing this, the UK government have entered into partnership with the WEF.
Power, profit, pollution, poverty. Beware such false solutions. Beware the WEF's agenda to use the social, environmental and ecological crises that they have manufactured to shape our world for their own ends, aka The Great Reset. More on this coming soon.
We join the Fediverse!
Leaving Facebook last year was a difficult decision, especially as a community campaign that organises events. We have managed to function, it's been beneficial in many respects. However, there are benefits to social media, so we recently joined the Fediverse; a decentralised and federated free / libre open source alternative that empowers users and disempowers the ability of a few to manipulate us. And there are no adverts (for things that you mentioned in a conversation with your neighbour)! Read more and join us! Say no to mass surveillance! More exclamation marks!!
World Refill Day
Collectively we need to start supporting reuse over recycling and waste. It amazes me how many people I know who are well aware of plastic pollution yet continue to buy products in single-use plastic packaging. The use of single-use plastic has significantly increased since the advent of Covid-19. This day was a call to communities and schemes such as Refill Swindon to spread the message and get Refill and reuse back in focus. We spoke with businesses and the public, and signed up 2 new Refill stations in town, the Outdoor Stret Cafe and Trident Fish Bar. Thanks to Daniel Angelini at the Adver for putting together this article at very short notice. Read in full.
Keep Swindon Tidy
No, magic litter fairies don't exist... that I'm aware of. Litter picks continue. There are 3 new blogs on our litter picking escapades:
- Oasis: slide away... into decrepitude: Who cares to maintain the Oasis and its grounds? It's not the borough council or Seven Capital. Despite both being informed of issues with litter, neither has taken responsibility and nothing has changed.
- Canal path transformation: How public spaces and community projects can reduce litter.
- 12 people went to mow: The dangers of mowed litter, problems and solutions.
It transpires that the borough council has not prosecuted anyone for flytipping since 2016. As previously mentioned in our newsletter, commercial waste facilities have also been closed at points. It seems likely that this is furthering flytipping around Swindon. In March 2021, we contacted the borough council with several queries relating to litter and waste facilitation. Despite complaints to local councillors, we continue to wait. It was after the second complaint that we finally received a response. It did not answer our queries but conveyed that the borough council clearly does not have the staffing capacity to carry out its functions. We are also waiting on an overdue Freedom of Information request.
The lack of a functioning borough council has arisen through an austerity agenda based on falsehoods, which has enabled privatisation of public services and assets. We continue to pay more in council tax for severely reduced services. Our communities and environment suffer. Austerity correlated to inequality correlated to crises including plastic pollution. Given these correlations, it's important to understand the need to deal with issues of social justice and equality if we are to deal with plastic pollution. We need to keep banging this drum!
...parish council, that is. We're grateful to West Swindon Parish Council who have recently joined other parish councils in supporting our campaign. They will fund Keep Swindon Tidy leaflets to be delivered across the parish. We will do the same across all supportive parishes, having delivered 10,000 leaflets so far in South Swindon.
In the words of Moya Pinson, the reasons for choosing this image of Shaw Ridge for the leaflet: "During lockdown it was a valuable place for people to meet up because the two seats are at a safe distance. Being able to socialise like this was amazing and in a beautiful environment the whole experience was good for anyone's well-being. The flowers there were planted by local volunteers. At one of the easings of lockdown, the daffodil flowers had just come out and these as well as others in West Swindon were greatly valued as people went out and about again. When I saw the picture the idea of grieving there came to my mind as so many people could not attend funerals and say goodbye to those they had lost. I shared this thought with many people and even some staff in London who lost a treasured member of their team last September and it was a valued comfort. You sat on one seat next to the one where the spirit of your lost loved one could join you. The daffodils by this seat represent the flowers at the funeral you could not have. It is amazing how much suffering was caused during the pandemic when people could not say goodbye and share memories of a special person together. The ornament further down the path shows that this lovely open space is in West Swindon and completes the reason for choosing this. This space is so appropriate for people of every age, children, dog walkers. You can walk through it, play in it, share time with each other and your dog."
Moya tells me that one of the benches at Shaw Ridge is dedicated to John Ball, a local champion of the environment. He developed and maintained green spaces for local communities and wildlife. He is spoken fondly of and missed by many.
Government: local and national policies
Greenpeace's Westminster video sums up how many of us feel about the lack of effective government in dealing with plastic pollution. It has been a pathetic response from the government so far, yet they claim to be world leaders on dealing with plastic pollution. The government water down proposals, delay implementation, and reject strong legislation (The Plastic Pollution Bill) for weaker (The Environment Bill). This lack of aspiration to reduce plastic production is made clear in the government-funded Absolute Zero report, which states that up until 2029, there will be, 'rapid reduction in supply and use of all fossil fuels, except for oil for plastic production'. To add to this sorry state of affairs, Greenpeace have recently reported that the UK continues to illegally dump its waste on other countries.
Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
Given the many benefits of implementing an effective and comprehensive DRS and current concerns about its proposed implementation, we have a new DRS section, which includes a summary, correspondence with local MPs and a petition.
Thanks once again to Robert Ayres of SKIP (Stop the Keypoint Incinerator Project) for sharing correspondence with us. From intial correspondence with Justin Tomlinson, he received a response from DEFRA. It fails to address the problems of waste incineration. UKWIN have also written to DEFRA with in-depth queries.
We recently correspondened with Keith Williams, borough councillor for climate change. Our discussion moved onto Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) and the plant at Cheney Manor. We highlighted the importance of conveying the correct information to the people of Swindon. We have received no response from our final email which clearly explains why we need to do that. The borough council continue to promote the SRF plant as a positive when it is not. This helps enable the continued use of SRF and a system that pollutes. See our waste incineration article for further details.
UK / Australia trade deal
A UK / Australia trade deal may well lower standards, incorporating corporate courts to keep that in place. Please sign and share 38 Degrees petition to help stop this. See our trade deals section for further info.
Plastic packaging tax
Would the proposed plastic packaging tax for April 2022 be effective? We don't think so, hence we have written to both local MPs. Read more.
There are 3 government consultations relevant to plastic pollution that you may want to take:
- Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England
- Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging
- Consultation on the Waste Prevention Programme for England: Towards a Resource-Efficient Economy
Thanks to councillor Jane Milner-Barry for keeping us in the loop with the recycling consistency consultation.
This website was built from the ground up as a labour of love. It's nice to add some bells and whistles when the chance arises. Please note the new navigation buttons at the top and bottom of each page. And please note our new logo. Lastly images are finally sorted out for all screen sizes! Woo hoo!