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Pine Grove, TN6 1DH
Crowborough,
East Sussex,
info@crowboroughtowncouncil.gov.uk 01892 652907
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Environmental Tips

Crowborough Town Council recognises that the day-to-day operations of the council can impact both directly and indirectly on the environment.  The council aspires to minimise its impact on the environment and has a Climate Change policy which lays out the underlying environmental ethos behind the activities the council undertakes.  This policy will be reviewed annually.

As part of our commitment to the environment we also encourage the local community to consider their own environmental impact.

Green Transition Crowborough is a community organisation that promotes local action in the Crowborough area to address climate change and encourage sustainability.  They share tips to help the local community learn about how to live more sustainably, work with local sustainability services and exchange ideas on being environmentally friendly.

The  Friends of the Earth website has some great advice and top tips to help climate and nature.

We have also gathered together some environmental tips that you might find useful, click on the headings below to find out more.

Image of home energy saving symbol

There are a number of things you can do at home to help keep you warm, reduce your energy bills and make a difference to your carbon footprint over the colder months. We understand that not everyone is able to make big changes in their home but if you are able to make a few small changes, it will make a difference. The Energy Saving Trust have some useful home energy saving tips.

If you own a property in England or Wales, Wealden District Council offer different types of financial assistance such as Home Energy Grants, Loans and discounts to help out with energy efficiency improvements, reduce your bills or pay you for using renewable energy (dependent on eligibility).  Find out what assistance is available on their home energy efficiency page.

As well as the environmental impact, keeping your  home well insulated will keep your home warmer.  Although it is important to save energy, living in a cold home can harm your health. It can make a range of health conditions worse, such as breathing and heart problems, and asthma in children. It can also impact on your mental wellbeing. East Sussex Energy Partnership (ESEP) is a partnership of local councils and the NHS in East Sussex. ESEP aims to protect individuals and communities in East Sussex from the effects of living in a cold home under the banner of  Warm East Sussex – keep warm and well in East Sussex.  They offer a free Warm Home Check service which can also help with making sure you’re getting the financial support that’s available to keep warm at home.

There are many simple ways to make a difference to the environment by being more sustainable in your own garden.  Eco-friendly gardening includes using sustainable products, minimising waste and encouraging wildlife. You don’t need to do it all – just a few small changes can make a big difference so here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Water responsibly.

Set up rainwater harvesting water buts rather than using mains water for watering plants and water wisely such as watering plants early in the morning or late in the day to reduce evaporation by the sun.  Mulching around plants will also help to conserve water, even better, plant drought tolerant plants.  Visit our water wise page for more information.

  1. Make your own compost.

Home-made compost is a brilliant soil improver and mulch. A compost heap also helps you get rid of garden waste in an eco-friendly way.  Visit our home composting page for more information.

  1. Go Peat free.

Peatlands are the world’s largest carbon store on land. They provide valuable ecosystems for plants and animals and act like sponges, reducing the risk of flooding. Peat-free composts are now readily available and more sustainable than those containing peat.

  1. Plant a tree.

Trees are brilliant at drawing down carbon from the atmosphere.  Trees bring height, year-round structure, and beauty across the seasons. They are easy to grow, wildlife friendly and come in all shapes and sizes, so there are options for every garden.

  1. Grow your own fruit/veg and flowers.

Growing at home allows you to grow in a nutrient rich soil and choose not to use pesticides.

By eating seasonal fruit and vegetables from local sources or from your own garden or allotment, you reduce food miles and save significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.  By growing fruit and vegetables in your garden you have the opportunity to choose to grow the fruit and veg that you love and try different varieties – home grown veg also tastes so much better!

Some imported flowers have up to 10 x the carbon footprint of home or UK-grown bouquets.  A cut flower patch in the garden is good for pollinators, looks attractive and will allow you to bring blooms into your house without the financial and environmental expense of imported flowers.

  1. Plant for pollinators.

Pollinators need our help. Loss of habitat is one of the main reasons why we see fewer bees, butterflies and other insects visiting our gardens.  Help slow and reverse the declines in bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and other pollinators by growing a wide variety of plants to support pollinator diversity.  To find a good pollinating plant for your garden, visit The Royal Horticulture Society list of plants for pollinators.

  1. Choose environmentally friendly controls for pests, diseases and weeds.

Keeping your plants healthy by good cultivation and sanitation is the best way to prevent pest and disease problems. But despite our best efforts, some pests and diseases will still arrive in your garden.  Thankfully there are plenty of alternatives to using harmful chemicals to prevent and remove pests and diseases. This article from Gardenista suggests some natural ways to protect your garden from common pests.

  1. Go plastic free.

Plastic is a known environmental problem and there’s a huge range of plastics in common use in the garden.  It will take 400 years before the plastic pot you’ve just thrown away to fully biodegrade and its not just plastic pots…  plastic packaging, plastic glazing in cold frames and greenhouses, some horticultural fleeces and netting, polystyrene module trays, plant supports to name a few.

Making an effort to reduce plastic use in your garden can make a big difference.  For some information and great ideas on plastic alternatives visit Gardening Without Plastic

9.  Create a pond.

A garden pond is one of the most diverse and valuable of garden habitats that you can provide in your garden. A pond will create an oasis for passing birds and mammals as well as providing habitats for frogs, newts, and aquatic insects.

10. Electrify your garden.

An average petrol power tool emits 0.848 kg carbon per litre of petrol used. It’s not only carbon, they emit harmful particulate and noise pollution too.   There are a wide range of electric/battery powered garden tools that can make garden tasks easy whilst being more environmentally friendly.

For more information about environmental gardening, visit the Royal Horticultural Society for their tips on gardening for the environment

 

 

Photo of compost heap

If you have a garden, making your own compost is a great thing to do.  Composting kitchen waste helps to save landfill space.  In addition, when used as a mulch, it helps to hold moisture in the soil and slow down evaporation in summer. Compost can also be used to make potting compost, when combined with other ingredients such as soil, which as well as being environmentally friendly, can also save you money.

There are a range of considerations to be taken into account when choosing which composting system is right for you at home. This can include what type and size of garden or outdoor space you have, the amount and type of waste you produce, cost, and the amount of time you have available.

If you’re not sure where to start, East Sussex County Council have a useful guide to help you get started with  their guide to home composting where there is also advice on wormeries and specialist composters for food waste.  The Royal Horticultural society also have some useful tips and advice on their home composting page.

Photo of water saving water droplet with planet

Using less water will protect the environment around us. The less we use, the more we keep in the rivers, reservoirs and for nature.

From taking a shorter showers and turning of the tap whilst brushing our teeth, watering our gardens less frequently in summer and connecting rainwater harvesting methods, we can all do our bit to use less water.

For some water saving ideas, South East Water have compiled these handy tips and ideas: https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/help/save-water/how-to-save-water/

Picture of items of food spelling cut food waste to cut emissions

What is food waste?

To put it simply, food waste refers to any food products that are thrown away as opposed to being consumed.  What do you think of when the subject of ‘food waste’ comes up? Potato peelings for the compost? The left over bits and pieces of packed lunch found in a child’s school bag? That meat you bought that you haven’t got round to using and aren’t 100% confident in?

It’s not just households that contribute to food waste typically, this waste can be split into four categories:

  • By-product food waste. This refers to off-cuts created through the manufacturing or production process or agricultural practices. This also include household peels etc created by meal preparation at home.
  • Expired products. This refers to products that have surpassed their sell-by date and cannot be consumed, both in our homes and in supermarkets and restaurants.
  • Leftovers. This could refer to leftovers created in your household or leftovers acquired within restaurants and food preparation.
  • Bakery and packaged food waste. This could refer to unsold food items that could spoil quickly.

Those everyday food waste actions are part of a massive global problem.  Some of the responsibility lies within the food industry, but we can do our bit reduce food waste in our own homes and communities.

Cut down on your food waste with good food shopping habits, cooking more carefully and storing items to maximise their shelf life .  Charity Fareshare offer some useful tips on ways to reduce food waste in your own home here: https://fareshare.org.uk/tips-for-reducing-food-waste/

Try including some simple food habits in your weekly routine.  Planning food shopping and weekly meal planning, eating seasonally, checking your fridge temperature as well as using up leftovers can help save money, energy and time.  To help get you started, Love food, hate waste charity have some handy household food waste hints as well as recipe ideas here: https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

We are lucky in Crowborough to have the Crowborough Community Pantry.  Developed by Green Transition Crowborough, the Community Pantry is open to anyone with the aim of helping the community, whilst making use of donated food that would otherwise likely be wasted. Visit the Green Transition Crowborough website to find out more.

Unfortunately, food waste is not currently recycled by Wealden District Council so please don’t put food waste in your recycling bin.  If you collect uncooked food waste such as vegetable peelings  in a kitchen caddy, these can be added to a compost heap.  However, do not put cooked food waste into your compost heap as it might attract rodents.

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that can transform your kitchen waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden.  For advice on home composting see our composting section below.

‘Tis the season to re-cycle

Photo of recyclable items and Christmas tree re-cycling sign

Christmas Trees

After Christmas you may be wondering how you can recycle your ‘real’ tree.

If you have bought a tree with roots, you could replant it to use again the following year if you have enough outside space.

‘Real’ Christmas trees can be composted. If you have a garden waste subscription you can chop your ‘real’ tree up and place it in your brown bin. If you do not have a garden waste collection service, you can recycle a ‘real’ tree at the local Household Waste Recycling Site for free. Just remember to remove all decorations, baubles, tinsel and the lights before putting your trees out for collection!

You can also look out for local companies and charities who offer a recycling service in return for a donation.

In general, when used for at least 5-10 years, artificial trees have less negative global impact than natural trees, however, at the end of their life, artificial trees are not usually re-cycleable.  If your artificial tree has seen better days, it will need to be taken to your nearest household waste site or cut up and put in your general waste bin.

Baubles

Christmas tree baubles are unfortunately not recyclable as they are usually made from types of plastic or glass not widely recycled yet. Not to mention that they are usually decorated with glitter – and glitter and recycling do not mix!

Tinsel

Tinsel cannot be recycled. If your tinsel has finally lost its sparkle or has been attacked by the cat one too many times, please dispose of it in your general rubbish bin.

Food packaging

Lots of Christmas food now comes in foil packaging and everything from drinks cans, mince pie cases, kitchen foil and turkey trays can be recycled. Just make sure no food is left on the packaging.  If they come in a plastic tray, check to see if you can recycle that too.  Most cardboard boxes for food packaging are also recyclable.

Glass

As we celebrate Christmas and the New Year, many of us will use a few more bottles of wine, beer and maybe even champagne. Extra treats of brandy butter and cranberry sauce often come in glass jars.  Don’t forget that these can be recycled with the rest of your recycling after a quick rinse.

Christmas cards

Cards and their envelopes can be recycled. However, ribbons, glitter and other little add-ons cannot be recycled. Please remove these bits from the cards so the paper bit can still go in the recycling – It all counts!

Some supermarkets offer Christmas card recycling points where you can drop off your cards when you visit to do your food shopping.

Wrapping paper

When it comes to wrapping paper, the general rule is that if you can scrunch it, you can recycle it. Just remove any sticky tape and decorations such as ribbons and bows beforehand.   Foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot be recycled.

Batteries

When batteries end up in landfill, they can take 100 years to decompose and the heavy metals in them can seep into the environment. In addition, throwing dead batteries into either recycling bins, waste bins or black rubbish bags, means that they can be easily damaged by sorting equipment and can start to burn, causing fires at waste sites.  It is therefore important that we learn how to recycle them responsibly!

Recycling batteries is easier than ever before, most major supermarkets and some other retailers have battery recycling points, additionally you can take them along to be recycled at your local recycling centre.  In the Wealden area, you can dispose of your batteries at the kerbside. Simply place your batteries in a small carrier bag on top of your waste or recycling bin on collection day.

Responsibly recycling your dead batteries and switching to rechargeable ones where possible will really help the environment.

Christmas lights

You can now recycle your old and broken small electricals from home if you live in the Wealden area. Everything with a plug, battery or cable can now be recycled. Simply place your old items into a standard-size carrier bag, and place on top of either your waste or recycling bin on collection day. Please make sure to remove batteries and place these in a separate bag (see battery recycling above).


East Sussex County Council state that over Christmas, we typically recycle more as we generate around 30% more waste than usual. But are we recycling everything?  Take a look at their guide to Christmas recycling here:  https://your.eastsussex.gov.uk/2023/11/15/christmas-recycling/

Recycling is not just for Christmas!  For more advice on how to recycle household items all year round, visit:  https://your.eastsussex.gov.uk/2019/09/13/your-ultimate-guide-to-recycling/