Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Plastic Free Hay Meeting - the year ahead.

We gathered in the downstairs dining room of Kilverts - and had to pull the table away from the open fire before some of us roasted!
One of the members of the group has been trying to find out where the recycling collected by Powys County Council goes to, without much success.
Another has joined Extinction Rebellion, a movement which has similar but broader aims than just concentrating on plastic waste, and will keep the group posted about what they get up to. The Hereford group is very active, and a new group is starting up in Brecon.

So far the group have been visiting local retailers to talk to them about reducing the use of plastic. They've also been talking to Andy Fryer of Hay Festival. However, shops like Spar can't do much because they get their products from a central supplier. It's the suppliers that need to be contacted and persuaded to change. However, one success story is the sale of milk in glass bottles at Londis, who have more control over what they stock. The group has stickers to give out to show that shops are reducing their use of plastic.
They also mentioned the new paper bags and wrappings at the butchers on Broad Street, and the feeling was that Geraldine Gibbons will be doing something similar when she moves her shop across the road into the new premises.
It was noted that the chemists sells bottled water from a fridge, which is not good as far as plastic waste is concerned - but they are also stocking things like bamboo toothbrushes, which is a positive sign.
Meanwhile Addymans are phasing out plastic bags in their three bookshops.

There was a discussion of compostable bags, with a query about how compostable they really are - one lady has been fishing bits of supposedly compostable bag out of her compost heap since all they seem to have done is break up into smaller pieces, which is a problem. Other bags are advertised as "degradable", but what does this really mean? The corn starch bags were felt to be a good idea, but the idea of any substitute for plastic bags to be given out in shops was felt to be a retrograde step, when there had been so much effort put into persuading the shopping public to bring their own bags.
Research was obviously needed into the bags, but the group were warned not to go to the manufacturers for advice, but to companies involved in waste, such as Cymru Waste (possibly WRAP Cymru? which is what came up when I Googled).

Members were also concerned that the free school milk that is given out at Hay School comes in little plastic bottles which are then thrown away. Again, this is a problem that the school cannot necessarily solve as it comes from the County Council, who arrange the contract for a group of schools, and the suppliers.

Actions for the future for the group include going round all the cafes in Hay to see if they can reduce their plastic use - and later, maybe a pub crawl!
In the coming year the group also want to organise at least one event with a speaker - the Globe have offered to assist here, and it might be possible to put together a workshop on cutting down plastics. Another possibility is approaching Andy Fryer to ask him to talk about the recycling policy of Hay Festival.
One member said that the Welsh government website has an area showing what every County Council has done with their recycling for the previous five years. Actually, it seems to go back further than that, and can be found by Googling "Welsh government local authority municipal waste statistics".

Also being passed around the table was a copy of the 'i' for Friday, with headlines about waste being burned in incinerators because there are not enough facilities in the UK to recycle different materials. Also, the waste that used to be sent to China is no longer going there, as China will not accept it any more.

The group also want to go to visit the waste facility in Worcester where waste from the Herefordshire side of the border goes. As Hay is on the border, the members have to be aware of the different strategies of two different County Councils. One member said that, when a visit was organised, they should go in a minibus rather than their own cars, because of carbon emissions, and someone suggested hiring the Dial-a-Ride bus for the outing.

Other groups that Plastic Free Hay felt they should keep in touch with include Plastic Free Powys, and there is a Greenpeace campaign about plastic. On Saturday 2nd February, from 10am to about 4pm, Greenpeace (and a lady from Plastic Free Hay) will be outside Tesco in Hereford with a shopping trolley for shoppers to put any un-necessary plastic wrapping into, and at the end of the day this can be photographed, and later returned to Tesco with an appeal for them to reduce the amount of plastic they are selling. Tesco was chosen for this because it opens onto a public footpath. If the protest was happening in a supermarket car park, they could be made to move on, as that would be private property.
They were also encouraged to get in touch with the Woodland Group, who have all the equipment for litter picking, for another future activity.

There was a brief discussion about washing up sponges, which cannot be recycled, and I mentioned Greenbrands cleaning products, which is one company that sells scourers made out of luffas (loofahs?) and pan scrapers made out of pieces of coconut husk - which can just be put in the compost when they come to the end of their life (www.greenbrands.co.uk).
Another thought for the future was to have an A-frame blackboard in the market, with a different plastic reducing idea every week chalked up.
Finally it was noted that the green waste bins will be disappearing from Hay Car Park soon, to be replaced by a scheme where householders have to buy bags to put their garden waste in, to be collected at the kerbside.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Hay Camera Club

I went into the Blue Boar yesterday, to have a half of London Pride while my washing was in the launderette The wash takes 26 minutes, which is just about the right time for me to drink a half pint of beer while reading my book in comfortable surroundings.
While I was there, I noticed a new leaflet for Hay Camera Club.
When I first came to Hay, the Camera Club met above the Cheese Market, in what is now the holiday flat, but they haven't been there for years, and I'd kind of forgotten about them.
Now they meet every Tuesday at the Masonic Hall on Brecon Road from 7.30pm, and they have an impressive programme of events planned from January to April.
Next Tuesday, for instance, there is an Ask The Panel session, with an expert panel answering questions on anything photographic, and the following week Roy Carr is the presenter of Images of a year in the life of a Sheep Farmer.
They also run competitions, and compete with other clubs.
They are a mixture of expert photographers and complete beginners, and everything in between, and welcome visitors.
Sessions are £5 to non-members, including tea and coffee - and sometimes home made cake! There is an annual subscription for members.
They even have a website (with some gorgeous photos on it) at www.haycameraclub.co.uk

Friday, 11 January 2019

Plastic Free Hay Meeting

The group will be meeting at Kilverts on Monday 14th January at 7.30pm. This is to set goals for the coming year - new ideas and new recruits are welcome!
I will probably be going along to take notes.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Good News for Otis

The Facebook page for the Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees now has a post up to say that Otis has been released from detention, and is heading back to Swansea from Gatwick.
This isn't the end of the process - he still has to go through the legal process to stay in the UK as a refugee - but at least he's not going to be put on a plane back to the Congo.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Plastic Free Butcher

I always go to the butchers' on Broad Street when I want Cumberland sausage. It's not real Cumberland sausage, which looks like one long fire hose of a sausage - these are made up into linked sausages like any other sausage - but they are very nice. (And they're advertising Haggis for Burns Night as well, now).
This time I found that they have stopped using plastic in the shop.
They pick up the meat and wrap it with paper, and they put the wrapped meat into special paper bags, which are sealable, leak proof, and can go into the freezer. They're even recyclable.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Munitionette's View

Cusop History Group are starting off the year with a look at the women who worked in the munitions factory at Rotherwas in two World Wars. The talk is by Angela Williams, and is at Cusop Village Hall at 7pm on 11th January. Tickets are £3 for members, £5 for visitors and include refreshments.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Sculpture Trail

Yesterday, the Bailey Walk down by the river was closed, so that this could be created:


The tree was damaged in Storm Callum last October, leaving the stump behind, and yesterday it was transformed into this wonderful, detailed sculpture by local chainsaw artists Danny and Harry Thomas. This is just the beginning - when I went to take a photo I met one of the organisers walking his dog, and he said they have plans for a red kite and buzzard in the future.
This is the Community Woodland Group's contribution to Shared Spaces, a project run by Hay Town Council and funded by Natural Resources Wales. It's on the lower path, the Bailey Walk, just a little way from the Bridge towards the church.