Category Archives: Bristol

What is the solution for ‘single-use’?

A symptom of our time-poor convenience-driven lifestyles is disposable packaging as we treat ourselves to pre-packed meals, Amazon deliveries and takeaways. So it is no co-incidence that when you look in the recycling bins on bin day they are overflowing and “single-use” was named the Collins word of 2018.

If like me, you have consciously tried reducing your packaging footprint, you soon realise that is necessary to go back to basics and find time. Time to go shopping in the greengrocers and the local zero-waste scoop shops. Time to prepare food from scratch, and time to cook. And if you want a fresh salad, you need time for gardening. Although, modern devices like blenders and slow cookers do provide some shortcuts.

The original marketing campaign for plastic, was emancipation for women from the kitchen sink, with the development of throwaway plates. And when you look at all the benefits of plastic, from microwavable meals, light-weight food protection and pre-portioned meal boxes it seems it has liberated everyone from the kitchen.

But surely if we can recycle then there is no problem? Well yes, if everything got turned back into more of the same then it wouldn’t be such a problem because there wouldn’t be a demand for more raw materials (think of all the trees being cut down for cardboard packaging) or materials being shipped around the world looking for a disposal route.

When we look at what recycling means, aluminium is infinitely recyclable with most cans containing 68% recycled content; although the strip mining of aluminium bauxite is highly destructive and polluting. Clear glass contains on average 30% recycled content whilst green contains 68%, whilst again the production is very energy intensive.

In contrast, plastic polymers have been deliberately made hard to recycle to prevent a secondary market. This means they are often ‘downcycled’ into other products like piping and furniture. PET and HDPE are the easiest plastics to recycle back into bottles and this practice is starting to increase with Fairy and Ecover producing 100% recycled bottles in 2018. But due to the cheap price of virgin plastics the demand hasn’t been present from producers for recycled content or for producers to take responsibility for the materials that they put on our shelves after use.

Producers aren’t responsible for their products end-of-life. Photo credit: Fotolia


This leaves councils and recyclers with materials that they need to find a home for, which is where the international commodity market comes into play and ‘recycling’ is sold around the world for ‘processing’. It can end up in countries that have significantly weaker environmental controls on burning and dumping waste. It is no coincidence, that the rivers that dump the most plastic pollution into the oceans are places like China where historically western countries sent their low-grade plastic recycling to. And since China banned plastic imports, UK recycling has been found dumped in illegal plants in Malaysia.

Finally; as our oceans are nearly at suffocation, legislation and initiatives are being put in place to reconsider the pitfalls of our single-use culture. The UK Government has 30% recycled content targets for packaging producers in its new Waste and Resources Strategy. And more excitingly, international schemes are being developed to make reuse more viable with delivery services like ‘Loop’ trialling reusable packaging with mainstream brands like Pantene and Hagan Daaz; and RePack, providing reusable bags for online retailers. There are also a number of reusable coffee cup and box schemes being trialled with multiple venues participating, on high streets around the world. These schemes are all part of the move to a more ‘circular economy’; meaning that materials stay in use for longer, either through reuse, repair or recycling.

The UK Governments ambitions for a Circular Economy for plastics


So could ‘reuse’, or ‘circular economy’ stem the tide of single-use? Could they even be the words of 2019? Through my own work with reuse schemes, the issues of time-poor lifestyles and convenience is a constant focal point for usurping single-use. It also remains to be seen how producers respond to changes in legislation and the requirements for responsible production and eco-design, without finding short-cuts. As well as if the UK Government will actually ban some ‘single-use’ items such as cutlery and straws or just consult on these issues.

Me, Livvy Drake in preparation for my talk- it’s going to be interactive! Photo credit: Cya Design

If you want to find out more about these issues: where are recycling really goes, what the circular economy alternatives are and how you can reduce packaging from your own business or lifestyle then join me for the Tipping Point: where does our waste go? On 21st March, at the White Rabbit in Clifton, Bristol.

The Tipping Point: Where does our waste go?



Do you ever wonder?

Why is recycling and particularly plastic recycling so complicated?  Is waste to energy a better solution to landfill? Why aren’t producers responsible for the packaging that ends up in our bin? What is the Government doing about it?

Well ‘The Tipping Point: Where does our waste go?‘  will answer all these questions and more. This will be a chance to:

  • Get an understanding on what recycling really means for many products and materials.
  • Understand about the plants and countries where our waste gets processed and how this affects their end of life.
  • Plus all the developments and positive changes that are afoot to readdress the materials ending up on our shelves in the first instance.
This talk is perfect for those who have committed to reducing plastics, are confused by recycling or want to make informed decisions for their business and product packaging.
The speaker, Livvy Drake has worked across the waste landscape, from managing waste systems at festivals to delivering food and plastic waste reduction campaigns.
Venue: The White Rabbit, CliftonDoors: 7pm / Talk starts: 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 but if you use this code you can get £5 into your Funzing account to use against the ticket.


Lent Plastic Challenge 2017


After the wonderful feedback and engagement we have had in previous years we will be facilitating another Lent Plastic Challenge from Wednesday 1st March to Sunday 15th April.

The challenge is a positive one, choose one or two items to find alternatives to each week. And you are not alone. There is a supportive Facebook community and each week we provide a tip sheet with inspiration, discounts and offers. You can also follow on Twitter and Instagram too. Use the #lentplasticchallenge and #plasticchallenge.

In the last few weeks there have been some exciting developments with the UN launching their plastics campaign and countries pledging to tackle their  impacts, so what a great time to really create a public shift in the perception of plastics.


In other news, Cocoa Cola have also said they are now, after years of lobbying against, behind a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles  in Scotland. And A Plastic Planet are lobbying supermarkets for a plastic aisle.

Be part of the solution NOT the pollution

By joining the free Lent Plastic Challenge you can share your tips and inspire your friends and family too.

You can find out some of the reasons that plastic are bad for our health and the planet’s here.

Healthy City Week Bristol Plans

Healthy City Week is an inspirational week of activities and events that join the dots between sustainability , health and wellbeing. There is literally something for everyone from babies to elders, workers to walkers, from Avonmouth to Southmead and everywhere in between.  And as I have been involved with the project, and the generous contributors I have a very full itinerary of events I will be attending, so please do join me at one of the below or check out the full timetable here


Saturday 15th

Healthy, Active and Green Living Day 10-5pm Free,  drop in

To open Healthy City Week, we invite you to a community day of activities, talks, workshops and delicious food in the heart of Barton Hill at Wellspring Healthy Living Centre and Barton Hill Settlement. The afternoon will culminate in a debate on current health and sustainability issues for local communities. Jointly organised by Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Bristol Community Health CIC and Wellspring Healthy Living Centre.

Sunday 16th

Mainly this is going to be about activism fuelled with a little raw food!

A Basic Guide to Eating Raw Food with Shane Jordan
11.30am–12.30pm Windmill Hill City Farm Free, book online

A workshop on creating delicious nutritious meals from edible raw fruit and vegetables. “The cost of cooking accounts for about 4% of the average gas and electricity bill” says uSwitch. Raw food meals helps save money and allows more freedom by preparing food manually.

Alternative Visions with Community Harts
1–2pm Hamilton House Free, book online

Community Harts has been running a competition, ‘What’s Your Alternative Vision for Heathrow?’ for sustainable ideas for the community of Heathrow, alternatives to the proposed £17 billion runway. We will explain the positive outcomes through community creativity.

Tackling Big Tobacco in My Town (Bristol!)
2–3pm | Hamilton House. Free, reserve a place by e-mailing organiser or book online

The talk will highlight 4 decades of witty, high-profile, anti-tobacco direct action – sabotaging Big Tobacco’s PR, localising tobacco’s toll, using Valentine’s Day and Halloween and picketing shareholder meetings. Are there lessons for other health campaigns? Email

Protestival presents Barriers to Utopia
3–5pm | Hamilton House. Free, book on Facebook or drop-in

This workshop aims to empower local communities and provide insights into community organizing and social change. Healthy City Week encompasses issues of social justice and climate change, as well as the health of the city’s inhabitants, so we will be talking about different issues that present themselves as barriers to a utopian society as well as exploring our ideas of what a healthy city actually is and how
to improve city life.

Monday 17th

Bards of Avalon Therapeutic Sound Bath for relaxation 6–7pm at Amarelle Showroom Free, book online.

Let stresses melt away and experience deep relaxation with a therapeutic sound bath. Join Bea Martin and David Johnson, community soundworkers, as they combine their voices with the sounds of Himalayan Bowls, Gongs to create an uplifting soundscape to enhance your wellbeing. Contact 07504 301117 top ask any questions.

Tuesday 18th

Protecting the health of our water & environment: Lunchtime talk from Patric Bulmer, Bristol Water
12.30–1.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, drop-in & bring your own lunch – Pukka teas provided

The Biodiversity Index is Bristol Water’s pioneering new approach to protecting the health of the environment, by measuring performance in terms of habitat protection and enhancement. This talk focuses on the Southern Resilience Scheme – a 30km water main through Somerset – and how we will work with partners like Natural England, schools and land owners to improve biodiversity.

Panel Discussion with Bristol Energy Network: Health Inequalities and Climate Change
6–9pm Food provided 6–6.30pm. Free, book online

People on low incomes often use the least energy and are therefore the least responsible for climate change. However, they often pay more for their energy than others and may need to use more energy to heat their homes sufficiently to prevent poor health. How can we tackle climate change whilst also taking into account health inequalities and people’s different needs?

Wednesday 19th

Laughter Wellness with Joe Hoare
1–1.30pm & 1.30–2pm at The New Room, Broadmead. Free, book online or drop-in for either session:

How simple basic laughter wellness practices promote engagement, connection, mindfulness and general wellbeing. Personal wellbeing is the cornerstone for professional wellbeing and peak organisational effectiveness. Contact Joe with any questions on 07812 159943.

Sustrans hosts a panel debate to explore: Should our transport system be considered a public health issue?
2.30–5pm. Free, book online

Sustrans host a panel debate looking at the impact our transport system has on the health of the city. The panel will present on their specialist topics and includes Dr Adrian Davis, Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Mike Harris, James Durie and Zoe Banks-Gross. Questions from the
audience will be chaired by Martin Booth, Editor of Bristol 24/7.

Turmeric – More Than Just Curcumin 5.30-6.45pm St. Werburghs Better Food store Free, Book online

Join Katie Pande, Senior Herbal Advisor at Pukka Herbs for this informative talk about the superfood turmeric.

Curcumin is undoubtedly a key active medicinal constituent found in turmeric; but there is so much more to this vibrant root. In this talk, Katie will be talking about some of the other amazing and powerful constituents present in this plant’s essential oils and their benefits for healthy and wellbeing.

Thursday 20th

Restorative Yoga & Yoga Nidra with Mel Skinner
9.30–10.30am in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, drop-in

Many of us suffer from physical or emotional tension. Restorative yoga helps to remove some of the physical tension in the body and yoga nidra helps us connect to our deeper self, where great peace can be found.

Jenny Gibbs, Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – Lunchtime talk on Medicines Waste
12.30–13.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub. Free, drop-in and bring your own lunch – Pukka teas provided

Research has identified that medicines waste is a big problem in Bristol, costing the NHS an estimated £5.7 million a year. Wasted medicines cannot treat anyone and poor patient compliance with prescribed medication affects health and quality of life. If not disposed of correctly, wasted medicines cause harm to the environment. Learn more about this recent CCG study.

West of England Nature Partnership presents A Natural Health Service: Developing partnerships
6–8.30pm in the Healthy City Week Hub at Triodos Bank. Free, book online

The West of England Nature Partnership invites you to an evening event to explore how nature and health partners are working together to deliver integrated and improved health outcomes. From green prescriptions to woodland wellbeing, inspiring young people and empowering elders, discover how nature can help shift the focus from illness to lifelong wellness… naturally!

Friday 21st

A Letter to Your Pain & Duet for One: Elspeth Penny & Raquel Meseguer
5–7pm HOURS Space, 10 Colston Yard. Book online or just turn up (suggested contribution £3)

A space dedicated to those with an invisible disability or long-term pain condition: this is your space, and invites your plus ones to experience a two-part workshop tailored to you. Elspeth will guide you to write, create or draw a letter to your body or pain. Raquel will then invite you and your plus ones to find a truly comfortable groove. An inclusive dance, we will end by following the bravest small dance in the room, and finally find stillness together.

Saturday 22nd

Flexitarian Restaurant Award Food Trail
12noon Group discount tour. Book online & check website for departure point, times & maps

Join us for a food trail to celebrate the launch of the Flexitarian Restaurant Award, featuring restaurants and cafés leading the way in making eating out better for the health of people and planet! Choose a pre-paid discount group tour to visit a selection of local eateries and try tasters of exciting plant-based dishes, or print out one of our free maps and pay-as-you-go.

No More Taboo: Breaking down taboos-by laughing!
Doors 7.30pm, Start 7.45pm Roll for the Soul £6/£5 concession, book online

Laughing is proven to improve your health. So come join us for a comedy gala, poking fun at the taboos that still exist in our city. Periods, women’s empowerment and sustainability will be the common themes for the evening. From improv to stand-up, performers will amuse
and bemuse attendees helping break down taboos. All proceeds go to No More Taboo’s work with homeless women in Bristol helping them to have a happier, healthier period.