Our Sustainable Cheshire Project
Sustainable Cheshire is a project by Eco Community UK CIC. This involves our Plastic Free Cheshire and wider Sustainable Cheshire project. Our work is managed so far on a completely voluntary basis, our directors all have other full-time jobs and do not take an income from Eco Communities. Ours is a true community enterprise supporting the whole of Cheshire, although Cheshire West is our current focus. We were very last minute with our application to the Green Expo Awards as we were busy with our own projects and the Green Expo Stalls part of the event.
Sitting down and writing the application was a great way to think about what we have achived. Over Covid our online activities increased our database of contacts from a couple of hundred to over 2,000. We provided regular online events and our weekly Tellus TV programming which reached over 4,000 individuals with messages about sustainability. We brought on speakers from around the UK and many that were involved in small projects within our own region to spread the word.
It was fantastic to receive the award for Community Engagement at the Green Expo Awards Dinner by Cheshire West and Chester Council, along with seeing lots of other awards go to great businesses and organisations. Our work on ‘Plastic Free Cheshire‘ morphed into ‘Sustainable Cheshire‘ when I realised we could get a good domain name to fit this. We achieved Plastic Free Chester via Surfers Against Sewage when the team were working under Friends of the Earth Chester & District and our separate Plastic Free Pioneer project. Having achieved Plastic Free Chester in 2018 and being pre Covid, we decided we wanted to support other regions in Cheshire to do the same.
As we came out of Covid we restarted our regular group litter picks in Chester and have reached out to other regions to work with them to achieve Plastic Free status. This involved managing the Surfers Against Sewage data base, providing training and forms to engage with businesses. We so far have Frodsham, Ellesmere Port, Neston, Northwich and Tattenhall linked in with us. We have a regular meetings to discuss progress and ideas.
We also came up with our ‘Litter Pick Hubs’ projects as we came out of lock down. We were aware of lots of solo picks and people were buying their own equipment. Lots of people approached us about equipment over lockdown as the Council had to stop sending out its own pickers. Our local hubs mean that litter picking is open to anyone as they can borrow equipment from us locally. They will be located in community spaces, parks and businesses will act as hubs. You register with us and then you can access the equipment, do your pick and return it to the hub.
Our hubs will be throughout Cheshire West over 2022 and into 2023 allowing up to 400 people to be active litter picking at any one time. We are also committed to removing some of the recyclables in litter from incineration and so reducing the regions carbon footprint significantly.
Our litter hub project is split into 3 main aims to reduce, reuse and recycle. The projects are aimed at both reducing litter, increasing recycling and increasing reuse. The 3 main projects involved a reduction in litter collected by Street Scene, reduction in emissions from petrol in the process of delivering litter equipment around the region through the creation of litter pick hubs, a coordinated approach of litter pick volunteering, diverting a proportion of street litter from bins and volunteer picks away from energy from waste to recycling saving a considerable carbon reduction over the year. We will encourage a reduction in single use plastic, help people to be able to get involved and become more informed.
This project has the ability to reduce the CO2e by 27,000 KG just in year one. The region also spent a massive 3.1 million pounds on litter and fly tipping in 2019/20 and so this project can both reduce these costs through a more co-ordinated volunteering scheme and by separating litter for recycling potentially take 25% of street litter could be diverted to recycling.
- Over 35 businesses signed up to reduce single use plastics just in Chester.
- 6 regions working on hitting the 3 targets for Plastic Free Community status
- A database of around 2,000 supporters to our online newsletters.
- Through our Eco Comms Giki account we have committed steps to save of 1,500 items of single use plastic from being used
- Delivered over 108 online talks to support learning and information on Sustainability and Climate Change via Crowdcast.
- Connected with over 4,000 people online over Covid with our online talks.
In 2022 we are projecting that we will have organised/ supported over 24 group litter picks in Chester.
In order to drive wider engagement and reach the pockets of the community who aren’t online, we created our first printed newsletter in Spring 2022, Tellus Magazine to update people on local activities and events, educate people on sustainability and empower people to get involved. We then distributed this through the local libraries and relevant companies in our business network e.g coffee shops and veg box deliveries.
Our online Tellus Magazines and other circulations have reached over 5,600 people since we launched. Over 200 people have read our online Spring/Summer Tellus Magazine and 4,000 printed copies are available. We have from emails reached lots of new residents and organisations. We would like to deliver an Autumn/ Winter edition of our printed newsletter, to ensure we reach areas of the community who aren’t online and to widen our reach. This will require additional funding.
Read the Spring/Summer Online Edition here