Can you save Planet Earth by yourself?

Governments could do more to help protect The Only Planet… but governments need profitable economies.
For example Governments could outright ban plastic packaging… but this would negatively affect the economy, and may be unpopular.
Where major legislation has been implemented it has been successful.
for example
Clean Air
Cigarette Smoking
Landfill Tax

We could believe that legislation changes which drive individuals to change their behaviour are much more effective than the efforts of individuals alone to change their own behaviour.
To be honest I totally agree with this suggestion.

Thinking of the problems I wrote about ocean pollution…
there are some laws relating to protection of the UK coastal waters
but with no funding for the policing of these laws, they are weak.
In Europe and the developed world we may think that the environmental problems are not really there, but where there are affluent post industrial societies reaping the economic benefit of their industrial past, we will have exported the environmental problem to Asia, Africa and some parts of America, and Africa, where mining and heavy industry are prevalent.

Photo Courtesy of Newcastle Libraries Flickr

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More on clothes, Primark, and textile recycling

I went into Primark later to look for a fringed scarf.
I do like scarves, they allow a dull dresser like myself whose main fashion influence was Andy Warhol (he said he always wore black because then he wouldn’t have to decide what to wear with what) to look smarter.
Scarves can be matched with an outfit to brighten it up, they have many other uses, keeping you warm when its cold, in winter substitute scarves for wooly hats and you will look much more glamorous.
In summer wear them draped keeping the sun off, which is handy for people like me with Lupus who are advised to stay out of the sun.
They can be a headscarf worn in many different ways, or even a blackout curtain for putting over your eyes which is what I do when I’m staying somewhere which hasn’t got thick curtains in the summer!

Primark: I went in via the main entrance on Northumberland Street. That is a very very big shop.
I needed to be on the first floor for scarves.
By the time I had been in the shop a few minutes I decided to leave. Too many clothes, too little time…
There is a Primark scarf I have had a few years which is in good condition, similar to this one

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However most of the products do not have a long life, either due to flimsy quality or being so very on-trend, and there are not enough clothing recycling bins for it all. This is an extremely popular shop and it was very full of customers, looking to buy. Textiles, how many many tonnes of it!

There is a problem with the fashion industry if it encourages this disposable attitude to clothes. The sheer volume of textiles generated is unsustainable. We do recycle, we do pass on, we do give clothes to charities, but even the charities are finding it hard to cope with the quantity of low grade clothing and disposable textiles.
Today I’m emptying the wardrobe and drawers in my bedroom as a couple of friends are helping me move my bedroom furniture, as I’m planning on getting a new carpet.
I didn’t realise how much stuff I have got. Its too much. How many long sleeved black tops do I actually need?
When I put it all back I’ll see if anything can be purged.

Textile Recycling

I went to the clothing bank by the Nuns Moor Centre on Studley Terrace.

I could put clothes and shoes in the British Heart Foundation Bank and support
research into heart disease, and subsidise animal experiments.

If I have been affected by heart disease, I may feel the British Heart Foundation is justified in funding experiments on animals.

Alternatively I could put sheets, towels, clothes and shoes in the Islamic Relief bank and support

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2 banks, neither very large.

In fact Newcastle and other councils in the North east are doing a lot of recycling at the reclamation yards, aka The Incinerator, The Tip, The Dump, due to the UK Government Landfill Tax, which places punitive tax on councils sending waste to landfill.
Non contaminated textiles are recycled as wadding, used in insulation or sent to Scandinavia to be burned for fuel. But it doesn’t go far enough, as I will explain soon.

Plastic Pollution

I found this post in my draft folder. I wrote it a while ago and maybe  for some reason didn’t want to publish it at the time. So apologies if it seems a bit out of date.

The has been some news recently about the harmful effects of plastic fleece. The kind that clothing is made from. Fleece jackets and so on. Also microfibre cloth. I remember when fleece  clothing was thought of as being an environmental “good” because it was  a way of recycling used plastic bottles. But apparently when plastic fleece, and microfibre clothes are washed, fibres get washed away and end up polluting the ocean. I also remember having a few viscose jumpers which basically rotted away after being washed a few times, I did not think that the fibres would have ended up polluting the ocean.
Over the last few years companies in Europe have been improving the way products are packaged, and there is  less packaging than at the packaging peak, however there is still a long way to go.

Recycling Garden Tools

I needed to find a home for some old broken garden tools, as part of an exchange I was doing with Arthur’s Hill Time Exchange. The kind which are very sturdy with no plastic parts, good quality ironmongery which are from the early to mid 20th Century or even older, made in Sheffield or some other Northern foundry.
There used to be a project called Tool Aid which was based in Newcastle West End, sadly they are no longer collecting tools for refurbishing, but another charity called Conservation Foundation now does this, Tool Aid gave me the info.

If you have old garden tools you wish to declutter, you can take them to one of the drop off points
listed here

Recycling for newspapers, clothes, shoes

Recently we have been saving our newspapers to take to
Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter. It is sorely needed for the cats and kittens at the shelter.

Nowadays a lot of people have kerbside recycling for newspapers, and while this is a good thing, it means people have less newspapers hanging around. Also due to the dire state of the local economy and high price of newspapers, less are bought. Also, more people look at their news on the internet and don’t bother with the actual newspaper.
So if you have a stash of newspapers, consider your local animal sanctuary before throwing it away.

I also know that West End Refugee Service are in need of more clothes and shoes for their clothing store.
This is a service where users of the project can get some clothes to wear from what has been donated. For those who are destitute this can make a big difference. Warm and weatherproof clothes and shoes are particularly useful. If you have some clothes or shoes that you were thinking of passing on, then this would be a good place for them.

Gardening Project

Each Year Arthur’s Hill Time Exchange do gardening work in the local area. Recently they have taken over maintenance of the brick planters around Arthur’s Hill. Normally Newcastle City Council maintain the planters but they have not been able to afford it since Central Government cut their budget.
Here is a planter on Stanton Street, and also some evidence that council cuts to domestic refuse collection services are causing people to dump rubbish elsewhere than in their domestic bin.

I have had discussions with people about this. People say why should we need our bins emptying every week, when we can recycle things instead? Surely getting our bins emptied fortnightly is enough?
My answer: some families have a lot of children and maybe they are caring for elderly parents or disabled family members who live with them. They don’t have a garden so they can’t do composting. Their young children have nappies (not recyclable) which need changing. Their older children want to eat junk food. They have poor literacy skills and are not sure how to go about recycling or what they can recycle.