Going Plastic Free

There’s more to going plastic free than refusing straws in cocktails – and taking a look at your use of single use plastic can get to the heart of where things in your life are coming from and what you are consuming.

In January, groups can register their events for St Albans Sustainability Festival…so we thought we would help you get in the mood with this fabulous guest blog on Going Plastic Free – from Amanda Yorwerth, presenter of Radio Verulam’s Environment Matters, and campaigner at St Albans Friends of the Earth and Plastic Free St Albans….


stringbagBe prepared

Plastic lined coffee cups, plastic carrier bags and water bottles have been the items that have hit the headlines, and the key to avoiding disposable plastic items outside the house is going like a scout and being prepared.

We’ve all got plenty of cotton carrier bags sitting at home – it’s remembering to take them to the shops that’s the tricky bit. Perhaps a Post It on the front door or always having a bag tightly folded in your handbag might help.

RefillA Spork tucked into your handbag, or even jacket pocket, will take the place of any plastic cutlery or drinks stirrer and a Stojo collapsible coffee cup will be there whenever you fancy a cuppa on the go. Now that so many local companies are signed up to Refill https://refill.org.uk/  the scheme that allows you to fill up your own water bottle when you’re out, there’s no reason to buy plastic bottles of water. Oh, and in case you were thinking that bottled water is better for you, take a look at this https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html

Free your vegetables

vegSo often, our fruit and veg arrives encased in plastic. But increasingly you can choose loose veg and take your own bag. Even market traders are increasingly happy to use your proffered cotton bag. Better still, grow your veg and make sure all that fruit on your trees finds a home. But do remember also that food waste is an even bigger problem than plastic pollution and that plastic packaging can help reduce food waste.


Clean up the bathroom

Wipes for your face, your bum or indeed anything else, are plastic based and cause havoc in the aquatic habitat, so stick to tissue paper or use one of the many reuseable bamboo wipes now available. Plastic free cotton buds are widely available and The Refill Pantry https://www.therefillpantry.co.uk/ or Eat Wholefoods https://www.eatwholefoods.co.uk/ will refill your shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser bottles. Girls, every month those disposable sanitary items are causing plastic pollution (yes – they are made of plastic – take a look) so try enduring products like period pants from local company WUKA https://wuka.co.uk/ or a Moon Cup https://www.mooncup.co.uk – widely available.

Plastic free store cupboard

refill shop.pngWith a wide range of pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snacks, The Refill Pantry allows you to fill up your own containers and Patrick from Eat Wholefoods will do the same if you visit their warehouse on Hatfield Road.

Don’t forget the laundry

Woefully, many of our favourite items of clothing contain plastic fibres that escape into the environment when they are washed. Obviously selecting natural fibres when we buy clothes will help, but in the meantime wash synthetic items only when they really need it, wash on a shorter, cooler wash and catch escaping fibres in a Guppy Bag http://guppyfriend.com/en/

Editor note: see more about microbeads at  #Whatsinmywash campaign






Final Call For Speakers – Our Planet Our Future Event At Rothamsted Conference Centre On 21st April 2018

Our Planet Our Future logo 2017-11-04

Rothamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ

Saturday 21st April 2018


Do you have an inspiring idea or a motivating experience to share about how to live more sustainably?  The 2018 Sustainable St Albans Week launch event, “Our Planet Our Future – Inspiring Action” is looking for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved with this exciting event.

If your idea or experience has the potential to reduce our carbon footprint or to inspire others to live more sustainably in their community or even globally, we would love to hear from you.

Application forms and Q&As are available at https://sustainablestalbans.org/our-planet-event/

Please email your application to ourplanet@transitionstalbans.org

Call closes on Monday 18th December 2017

St Albans Sub Aqua Club is the 100th group supporting Sustainable St Albans Week!

On the eve of our registration deadline we now have 107 groups supporting Sustainable St Albans Week 21-28 Nov.

You’ve never seen a week like this in St Albans District before!

The district will be full of events about environmental sustainability day and night throughout  the week Sat 21st – Sat 28th November.

100th Supporter

The 100th supporter was St Albans Sub Aqua Club with a fantastic event looking at the impact of food choices on our oceans: they will be showing a film – The End of the Line – on Sat 21 November – It follows an investigative reporter as he confronts politicians and celebrity retauranteurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans!

Packed with innovative things to do, the week offers the opportunity to discover an ancient Iron Age fort in Redbourn – organised by Aubrey Park Hotel in conjunction with Redbourn Museum; you can visit an art exhibition on the theme of World Toilet Day at the Nude Tin Can Gallery on Hatfield Road, or climb the ancient steps in the Clock Tower in the High Street.

Children can attend a special story-telling and craft event at the Story-Tent at Trestle Theatre, take part in one of several nature walks along the River Ver or swap books at the children’s book swap at the Oxfam Book shop!

Grown-ups can see a brand new film about climate change ‘This Changes Everything’ at the Maltings Art Theatre and families can take part in CDA’s  community fruit tree pruning event at the Community Garden on Hixberry Lane.

Groups that register by the deadline will have their events published in Sustainable St Albans Programme of Events. Events are still being registered and we will soon have the full programme posted on the website. For groups that register late, we will still put the details up on the website and publicise them where we can!

You’re in the middle of a whirlwind…

Ever wondered what a whirlwind looks like? Well, if you’re a supporter of @SuStAinableStAlb Week then you’re in the middle of one!whirlwind

We’ve just heard that SuStAinable StAlbans Week has been nominated for, and are finalists in the Herts Ad Community Awards category ‘Great and Green’! The award ceremony is on Tues 8th September and the team are very honoured and excited to be attending on behalf of the 80+ organisations, businesses, schools, faith groups and community groups..and some individuals and families that have pledged their support to  this first ever Sustainable St Albans Week.

Imaginative Ideas from St Albans District community

We can’t believe how many imaginative ideas from the St Albans District Community are coming forward..

  • From a sustainable business breakfast for local businesses …to an arts exhibition on the theme of International Toilet Day (!)..
  • a nature walk along the River Ver …to a special opening of the Clock Tower on the HIgh Street –
  • a mini reading group based around Naomi Klein’s book “This changes everything …to a community litter pick in Verulamium Park…
  • a sustainable fashion competition …to a ‘Green Ambassadors’ training session for schools..

The range of activities is extra-ordinary!  We are especially looking forward to the activities that our 20 supporting schools will be confirming – once they are back into the Autumn term!

Registering Your Activity

In September we will ask groups to register their events so we can start preparing the November programme – look out for your email!

Get Involved!

If you want to be involved make sure you have emailed us to tell us you want to support, and have sent your logo!

Sustainable Business in St Albans District

Attending businessfestivalthe Business Expo was a new experience for members of the Sustainable St Albans week team – especially the speed-networking event! We already had community groups, schools and faith groups on board but we wanted to get local business involved too.

Lisa Bates, from the Chamber of Commerce had been really helpful when we called her, and immediately organised to secure us a place at the Business Expo in June – which put us in touch with a range of businesses in the district.

lussmanns_logoSoon after this Andrei Lussmann, who runs the highly successful and award winning Lussmanns restaurants in St Albans, Harpenden and Hertford met up with us at his St Albans restaurant to discuss how he could get involved – we were delighted to receive his support! Lussmanns have won the Sustainable Restaurant Awards for UK Sustainable Small Restaurant Group of the Year – in 2014 & 2015 and is a natural role model for the sustainable food industry in St Albans.

St ChristophersPlace Next on the list to approach were Christopher Place – a business mall in the city centre – and they couldn’t have been more supportive!

Cycle-Tech HertsCycle-Tech Herts, with the indomitable Mike running their mobile bicycle cycletechmaintenance, servicing and repair shop from the station, will be offering customers a special something during the week on the theme of sustainable transport.


Another business involved from early on is Electric Blue, run by local entrepreneur Alex Calnan. They have just launched their first electric taxi charging point in the city encouraging sustainable transport and we will be seeing their electric taxis around and about during our events!

There must be many times that you’ve thought of a great idea but then carried on with your normal life and let the idea go?

Well, when we came up with the idea for Sustainable St Albans week – it didn’t have a name, and didn’t have any details – but this time we were determined to try and make it happen.  Against all the odds, and just a few months later we are overwhelmed with how much support the week has received – and we have now secured funding and appointed a part-time coordinator and communications officer.

Nearly fifty organisations representing hundreds of people across business,  schools, faith groups and community groups have pledged support to the week – which gives groups an opportunity to showcase their enthusiasm and commitment to sustainability!

People of all ages, from different communites and from diverse faith groups in the city and district are concerned about environmental sustainability and want to do something to make a difference. They will be coming together over the week in a fantastic celebration with activities and events that will demonstrate how people throughout our city and district care about the future – and that we can do practical things ourselves to make a difference to the quality of our future lives.

We have listed all the groups supporting the event on our website – click here to find the names of the 18 amazing schools (infant, primary and secondary) that have signed up. We also have a range of community groups, diverse faith groups and also local wildlife groups – perhaps your local group is one of them – have a look here to find out.

 If your group has still got to register, have a chat to them now. We are asking groups who want to support the week to send us their logo now, and we will include them on our website.

Groups will then have until the end of the summer to think about and confirm the activity that they want to run. See FAQs here.logobelow