How do I save money, time and the planet?

Yesterday 6th March was the start of Food Waste Week, which runs until the 12th March. This is WRAPs 3rd year of the campaign. This year the focus is ‘Win. Don’t Bin.’ and it will demonstrate how valuable food is in our lives, how it unites people and how using up everything we buy saves money, time and the planet.

According to OLIO between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten, and the value of this wasted food is worth over $1 trillion.

While the world wastes about 1.4 billion tons of food every year, the United States discards more food than any other country in the world: nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — every year. Let’s not feel smug as we are not great in the UK either. 

How much food is wasted in the UK?

  • The UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year – even though 8.4 million people in the UK are in food poverty.
  • 70% of UK food waste was intended for human consumption, 30% is inedible parts.
  • The average UK family spends £470 per year on food that’s binned and not eaten.
  • Over one third of all food produced globally goes to waste.
  • Billions of pounds are wasted each year when food is disposed of unnecessarily.

We promote two great Apps to help with food waste. You can get items for free or for a small fee from these two Apps.

Too Good to Go also has a great App for find food that might have been wasted by local business, which you can collect for a reduced price.

They have a mission to make sure good food gets eaten, not wasted. Every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers – just because it hasn’t sold in time. The Too Good to Go app lets customers buy and collect Magic Bags of this food – at a great price – directly from businesses. Jaunty Goat and Hoole Food Market are even on the APP.

Too Good To Go – Business Sign up

Too Good To Go – get the app to purchase

Then OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items, too.

OLIO – get the app – Google or App Store

Get involved in #FoodWasteActionWeek

Find out how you can save time and money.

This year WRAP are giving you the chance to win a Panasonic
microwave or one of fifty Hellmann’s Food Hampers by taking the
Win. Don’t Bin quiz

Show you care for ‘Mother Earth’ this Mother’s Day

Join us on Mother’s Day for our March litter pick.
We are working with The Welsh Dee Trust to save litter getting into the River Dee and then into our oceans. Our March pick will also be part of the The Keep Britain Tidy campaign.

We can’t guarantee sunshine 🌞 but we will have gifts for the mums. We encourage young ones to drag your mum out of bed and do something for Mother Earth on the 19th March. We want everyone young and old to join us to protect Mother Earth this year.

We promise it will make you all feel good as well. Mums will get a treat on Eco Communities. Register as a litter pick hero and confirm numbers in your group to us. Only the lead person needs to be registered as a litter pick hero. All equipment provided.

How many of us have microplastics in our blood?

On Thursday February 23rd Common Seas delivered the Blood Type Plastic petition to No. 10 Downing Street. The petition, asking for the government to ringfence a £15 million National Plastic Health Impact Research Fund has now been signed by more than 100,000 people including some of you.

> It asks the Chancellor to fund research on plastic and health in The Budget on 15th March.

Each day we are exposed to plastic particles, which have been found widely in our food, drink, and the air we breathe. Our bodily exposure is set to increase as global production of plastic is on course to double by 2030, according to the UN – making this a public health risk that must be immediately investigated.

Common Seas’ found that found 4 in 5 of those tested had microplastics present in their blood, Common Seas have been campaigning for a £15 million Plastic Health Impact Research Fund to study the effects of microplastics on human health.

As part of this campaign, Common Seas launched a petition asking members of the public to show their support for the campaign ask, which has now received 100,000 signatures.  This has also been supported by over 80 scientists, campaigners and MPs in an open letter published in The Independent

  • In 2022, Common Seas released research that 77% of those tested had plastic in their blood;
  • Following the announcement, a petition was set up calling on the government to ringfence a £15 million Plastic Health Impact Research Fund; 
  • The petition had now been signed by more than 100,000 people; 
  • Plastic in human blood is a potential public health crisis that must be immediately addressed; 
  • Each day we’re all exposed to plastic, and the global production is on course to double by 2030 according to the UN, which will exacerbate associated risks; and 
  • Common Seas’ campaign has been backed by more than 80 scientists, campaigners and MPs, in an open letter published in The Independent. 

Why should our School become a Plastic Free School and what is a Trash Mob?

Eco Communities are the local representative for Surfers Against Sewage who certify schools as Plastic Free. We have worked as part of the Plastic Free Communities campaign since 2016, achieving Plastic Free Chester in 2018 and currently supporting, Neston, Tattenhall, Frodsham and Ellesmere Port to achieve Plastic Free Community status with an overall aim of Plastic Free Cheshire. 

We have provided talks and workshops in schools around the region including Northwich, Chester and Tattenhall. And also supported the first Plastic Free School in the region Grosvenor Park Academy, Chester. 

We are asking schools to take action during British Science Week. From 10-17th March.

This involves encouraging schools to join others across the whole UK to hold a ‘Trash Mob’ (basically a big clean up and Brand Audit 😊) 

Join us for a Nationwide TRASH MOB this March for British Science Week – Plastic Free Schools – Surfers Against Sewage

Is your school a Plastic Free School? If not, here is how  

Once you have done your Trash Mob why not take it to the next stage.  In the words of Greta Thunburgh, an environmental activist who started campaigning age 15.

‘you are never too small to make a difference’


So, What Is Plastic Free Schools?

Plastic Free Schools is a system shaking, change making, pupil-led education programme 

This ground-breaking programme equips and empowers young activists with the tools to create positive, lasting environmental change! 

Plastic Free Schools is a positive, investigative, action-packed programme for stopping plastic pollution at source. Empowering pupils to not only tackle unnecessary single-use plastics in their school, but inspires Industry and Government to make positive strategic steps in the same direction!



Plastic Pollution Facts – Knowledge Is Power!

From plastic pollution to habitat degradation and overfishing to climate change, the health of our oceans is extraordinarily fragile.

There’s a time and a place for stats and this is it! 

“People protect what they love. But they only love what they know” – Jacques Cousteau


• Plastic pollution can now be found on every beach in the world, from busy tourist beaches to uninhabited, tropical islands nowhere is safe.

• Scientists have recently discovered microplastics embedded deep in the Arctic ice.

• Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans.

• There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.

• Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90% of all marine debris studied.

• Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK.

• Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

• In the UK we use approximately 35 million single use bottles each day – 12 Billion per year

Unfortunately, marine wildlife are hugely affected by the plastic pollution entering our oceans:

• Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 

• Marine litter kills over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds each year through ingestion and entanglement. 

• 640,000 tonnes of lost or discarded fishing gear (known as ghost gear) enter the world’s oceans each year. Ghost gear kills at least 136,000 seals, sea lions and large whales every year worldwide!


The vast majority of this plastic pollution consists of single-use, throwaway items. A lot of the problem is created by billions of careless actions of people littering single use plastics. We need you to help us stem the flow, together we can make a HUGE positive impact to our communities and the places we love.

When it comes to protecting our oceans, knowledge is power, the more we know and the more people who know it, the better equipped we are. As of January 2021, there are 2,477 schools, and counting, signed up to be plastic free – that’s almost 1 millions pupils across the UK!!

To achieve Plastic Free Schools status, schools will have to work towards five objectives.

• OBJECTIVE 1: UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM – It is time to resist this plastic flood. If you don’t act who on earth will? 

STEP 1: Form a Plastic Free Action Group

STEP 2: Gather evidence that avoidable single-use plastics are a problem in your school

STEP 3: Conduct an investigation on your school campus

• OBJECTIVE 2: CAMPAIGN LAUNCH  – Officially launch your Plastic Free Schools campaign by presenting a school assembly and publishing a news article on your school website or in your school newsletter!

• OBJECTIVE 3: STEMMING THE FLOW  – Time to get stuck in! Identify at least three single-use plastic items found in your school investigation and come up with necessary steps in how to remove them from your school, forever!

• OBJECTIVE 4: CHALLENGING GOVERNMENT– Never underestimate the power of your voice. Using everything you have learnt so far, write a letter to your local MP.  Your local MP has been chosen to represent YOU and the community you live in. Let’s put them to work and ask for their support!

• OBJECTIVE 5: CHALLENGING INDUSTRY – Industry spends a lot of time and money making themselves and their products look good. More often than not it is the branded products that we find littering our playgrounds, streets, woodlands, and beaches. It’s time they stepped up and took their share of the responsibility.

Eco Communities would love to support any school in the Cheshire area looking to achieve plastic free status, so please get in touch

What’s so great about Cup Club?

Sadly 94% of us are still not actively engaging with reusables. We leave the house, keys 🔑 – tick, phone 📱 – tick, cards 💳- tick… Reusable cup… ❌

The direct ownership model has had limited success, we don’t plan that take away coffee when we leave the house or office. We have lots of them at home, they just don’t make it out of the cupboard. Returnable we collect from the shop is more ‘to hand’, convenient and in touch with consumer needs.

We have been looking for funding for a returnable cup scheme for some time, then we get the funding and the costs go up! We have spent a few months starting again, researching the options for cups and also the logistics of the costing of the deposit in an increasingly cash free society. As each card payment costs the business a tiny percentage each time constantly paying and refunding a deposit no longer seemed viable.

If you won’t bring a cup, we already have one for you.

How does Cup Club work?

We are trialing it in Chester first. You register for Cup Club using the QR code in this article, or from the display at our supporting businesses. You collect your token from the business, from Eco Communities at one of our events or Just Footprints. You will be asked to pay £2.50 to join the club.

We hope to launch the trial in April but you can pre register for Cup Club to get updates here:

Why are people wearing green hearts during February?

Our director Helen Tandy has done something around Show the Love since the campaign was launched, with her work, Friends of the Earth, Eco Communities, and the WI.

The Show the Love Campaign asks you to swap your red heart for green around valentines day each year. The campaign is via The Climate Coalition the same organisation that promotes people to get involved in Great Big Green Week each year.

The problems around Climate Change can feel huge, but together we can create real and meaningful change.

Start small – take action and #ShowTheLove for our planet.

Helen T has already completed one of two talks at work and is bringing this same talk via Eco Communities. It touches on The Climate Coalition campaign, where we are at re Climate Change and our work with Giki.

 Join her on Crowdcast Sunday 11am for a Tellus TV talk.

Helen also talks about the staggering profit announcements from the worlds Oil & Gas companies “ As I talk to the team Castlefield and over the weekend to supporters of Eco Communities about Climate Change and the #showthelove campaign. The profit announcers from Oil & Gas companies clearly why we all need to divest from #fossilfuels – check your pension, your investments and your bank. Show them we don’t want this to continue.

‘The sale of oil and gas remains so enticing that BP this week announced it is scaling back its climate ambitions, retaining its fossil fuel assets for longer than it previously expected. “We need continuing near-term investment into today’s energy system – which depends on oil and gas – to meet today’s demands and to make sure the transition is an orderly one,” said Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive. “At the end of the day, we’re responding to what society wants.”’

How to ‘show the love’:

  • Make a green heart.
  • Wear and share your green heart.
  • Take your heart to all the places you love.

 Take a heart to a place you love

Climate change has already made its mark on the British landscape, where our lives play out and our memories are made. In fact, all over the world, people and the places they cherish are being affected by climate change.

About The Climate Coalition

The Climate Coalition is the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world’s poorest communities. They work with sister coalitions Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

They have a combined supporter base represents more than 15 million people across the UK. They are working with over 100 organisations, from environment and development charities to unions, faith and belief, community and women’s groups.

Do you know one of the worst things we can put into land fill?

I’ll give you a clue it generates 70 times more green house gas emissions than plastic when sent to landfill…

It’s our food waste! Although it doesn’t take hundreds of years to break down like plastic does, the way it breaks down in landfill without air, releases methane, which is a more potent green house gas than CO2. 

Food waste accounts for 6% of global emissions. This includes everything from the farm to the fork.  So trying to buy locally and in season can help with the food waste in transit.   However the average household throws away 85 kg of edible food every year, which is around £450 a year worth of food!  And 25% of food waste is because we make too much. 

Freezing extra food we make or using apps like Olio or Too Good to Go can help here.  I recently watched a presentation by the company Olio.  They said in most cases if you list something you can’t use, it will be collected by someone who can use it within the hour.  Many people are turning to apps like Olio or Too Good to go who rely on food banks, as most food banks don’t give out fresh fruit and veg, so they can top up there. 

You can also try making meals with leftovers. My favourites are making smoothies from spinach and fruit that’s looking past its best, and Omelettes with left over veg. Ignoring best before dates can also help reducing waste, just applying common sense to the look and smell is often all we need. And my top tip, don’t go shopping hungry or without a list!

In terms of food we can’t use such as peeling, shells and skins, if you are lucky (as we are in Chester) this will be collected for recycling by your local council.  However many don’t have this so may need to find an alternative. 

Composting could be an option.  You don’t need anything fancy for this, however you will need a bit of a garden and some space.  I started a couple of years ago and have found it easy to get going.  I find as long as I use a mixture of garden waste and raw food waste and turn it every couple of weeks then it is coming out well.  Although occasionally I will need to open it up for some rain to get in and give it some moisture. I am by no means an expert so if you think you want to give it go you might find this useful.      

If you want to look at areas to reduce your food we waste, here are the key ones:

  • First what we buy; if it is in season and local then it will travel less and be fresher.  Only buy what you need when you need it.  
  • Second use what we have; if we do make too much, freeze or use the leftovers for your next meal or offer it to someone who can use it.
  • Finally recycle what we can; either with the local kerb side (if we are lucky) or as compost.   

If anyone is up for a 5 day challenge to reduce their food waste then you can check this step out by Giki.

Eco Communities 2022 Wrap up of Achievements

We are very proud of what we achieved in 2022, with limited time and funding.

We could not have done it without the support of all of you though. Whether is was coming to one of our events, litter picks or talks. Funding one of our projects, becoming a plastic free pioneer, sharing our Tellus magazine or just offering general support and help when you saw we needed it. Thank you!

Plastic Plastic Everywhere What plastic free news have we been reading?

We are already well into the New Year, have you any plans to reduce your reliance on single use plastic and be more #sustainable in 2023?

Single use plastic is a huge problem on our environment, with the reports on its impact on wildlife, our food chain and now in human blood. Now is the time to think about plastic differently, not as a use once and throw away item but as something that is durable to be used over and over again.

Come along on our journey to help individuals and businesses make a change or help us to clean plastic from our environment with our litter picks.

This is why…. we are eating microplastics and its getting into our blood

Microplastics in Your Carrots

The BBC reported on the microplastics that end up in sewage sludge that then goes onto our farm land. The UK has some of the highest concentrations of microplastics in Europe, with between 500 and 1,000 microplastic particles are spread on farmland there each year.

Chemicals found in plastic have been linked to a range of other health problems including cancer, heart disease and poor foetal development. High levels of ingested microplastics may also cause cell damage which could lead to inflammation and allergic reactions, according to analysis by researchers at the University of Hull, in the UK.


Plastic In Our Blood

Baroness Meacher pushed the UK Government over the introduction of a £15m National Plastic Health Impact Research Fund to investigate the effects of #microplastics in our blood. Baroness Meacher asked the Government “When almost 4 out 5 of people in this country have plastic particles in their blood, and when these particles are associated with cancer, diabetes and other serious chronic illnesses, does the Minister accept that this is a priority?”


Whats changing…

The UK are looking to ban further single use plastic items

We are falling behind the EU and legislation we would have had to impose if it wasn’t for Brexit. This is to little to slowly. The legislation is expected to ban plastic plates, trays, bowls, cutlery, balloon sticks and certain types of poly­styrene cups and food containers next week. READ MORE VIA BBC – LINK

Single Use Legislation in France will effects chains like MacDonalds and Burger King.

This is great to see. If chains like MacDonalds and Burger King can bring this in in France then surely they can roll it out for sit in meals around the globe. All sit in food should be served on reusables. So no more single use items where people sit inside in places like MacDonalds, Burger King and KFC. Coffee Shops will have to stop using single use cups when people are sitting in. READ MORE VIA BBC – LINK

What next?

Creating a movement which is stopping the tide of plastic, at source.

We are part of a UK network of small groups of committed people, slowly but surely changing the places where we live, and in turn the world. Join us and our work with Surfers Against Sewage and City to Sea. Email to get involved with Plastic Free Cheshire.

Hydro Power on the River Dee takes a step closer

This is great news for CHASE. The image below is of the Hydro Electric Building on the River Dee Chester, dating back to 1913, it stopped producing power in 1951, it was then the only hydroelectric plant in England generating power with tidal and headwaters.

I have lived in Chester now for nearly 30 years and always wondered why it had been left to go to ruin. I even pre invested in a project to renovate it around 5 years ago that wasn’t viable in the end.

Did you know the Hydro Hub used to generate almost half of Chesters power as clean carbon free electricity, from 1914 to 1949. We had it so right in Chester all those years ago and then we stopped, such a shame.

I did my own research to find it’s a Grade II listed building, converted into a waterpumping utilty after its 40 years power generation, before ceasing operation in 2015. The University of Chester’s plan to reinstate it was found not to be feasible, it was felt the turbines would attract the Dee’s migrant salmon. Not a great end for the salmon.

So after all these years it was great to hear about CHASEs plans for the Hydro Hub to redevelop the building as a visitor and education centre. CHASE is working alongside Cheshire Historic Buildings Preservation Trust to develop designs and plans for operation as an education centre for schools, residents, visitors and potential new business hub. The focal point for residents, schools and visitors to learn about what a low carbon world will look like and how all aspects of our lives will change as new technologies remove emissions from our industry, commerce, agriculture, homes, transport and food.

A hugely exciting project.

The AHF grant will fund the cost of a project manager, architect, business consultant and fundraising manager to help develop plans for the project. Read News Atricle – CLICK

You can find out more about the project Hydro Project Hub and CHASE here – LINK