Spending on new goods is encouraged through advertising and seen as a mechanism for economy growth, but how many of the goods we buy are really necessary and how much fossil fuel is associated with these goods? Our cupboards often contain items we seldom use. We sense that more people are realising that happiness gained from a shopping trip does not last long but decluttering our lives has a more lasting impact. Take a look at the Story of Stuff for a thought provoking video.

Reuse and Recycle
A circular economy is one in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them, then recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of their existing service life. It is an alternative to the linear economy of make, use and dispose. Circular economies are often discussed in terms of manufactured products, but goods often end up with consumers, so its critical that when consumers have finished with an item it is reused or recycled to maximise the material content. A more circular economy will, reduce waste, improve productivity, address resource security and scarcity issues and reduce the environmental impacts of our production and consumption.

Transition Town Letchworth support initiatives to help reduce people’s consumption and also promote organisations and events that facilitate reuse, repair and repurposing. TTL introduced ‘garage sales’ to the town. TTL currently have a number of activities to tackle the issue of waste and welcome new volunteers to help with these activities:

  • TTL are the Community Leader for a project implementing the Surfers Against Sewage Community Toolkit to reduce single-use plastic and gain Plastic Free Letchworth status . Have a look at the projects Plastic Free Letchworth webpage to find out more.
  • We are gathering ideas on a vision of a circular economy in Letchworth and feeding these ideas into our waste authorities consultations.
  • TTL recognise that it is not always easy to replace all plastic items. To reduce plastics items that are sent to incineration or landfill, TTL support and promote collection points for hard to recycle plastics. These plastics are recycled for rewards by local charities and schools through a scheme set up by Terracycle. Click here for a list of products you can take to a collection point on the corner of Campers Ave and Westbury place (SG6 3SR) on a Saturday. Recycling can be dropped off (under a sycamore tree and next to a green picket fence).
  • TTL organise Litter Picking events as part of its Plastic Free Letchworth activities.
  • Watch this short video as an introduction to a community initiative to introduce a Scrapstore / Repair Cafe in Letchworth.



Plastic Free July

Over the last few months we’ve had so much else to worry about that plastic pollution has taken a back seat. But the problem hasn’t gone away, so perhaps now is the time to take action again. As government advice on the places where we need to wear facemasks widens from public transport to inside shops, we need to reject disposable face mask options. Lots of local people are making masks out of scrap materials, and retailers are now selling washable, biodegradable masks, which do not cause unnecessary waste. As it is ‘Plastic Free July’ it would be a good … more

Make Do and Mend

Developing new skills, or remembering old ones, to make stuff we can’t go out and buy… As individuals we can help repair the climate by mending and repurposing items rather than sending them to waste. With shops and service industries closed it has been less easy to replace and repair our ‘stuff’ during this crisis. However, with more time on our hands we have had the opportunity to make and mend things. Fixing things can sometimes prove a challenge, with objects often designed to discourage this, it is amazing how hard it can be to change some watch batteries without … more

Lifestyle changes to limit Covid-19 also help to repair our climate

We are in the grip of the Covid-19 crisis. It is restricting us in all areas of life, and causes so much suffering. But we know it will pass, and afterwards we will re-orient ourselves. Other topics will re-emerge, one of which will certainly be climate change. How will we look back and reflect then? Here a few numbers on our carbon footprints, and what effect the current restrictions have on it. Taking into account UK production and import of goods, the average person in the UK produces 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per year. To gradually achieve … more

What next for our waste collections?

Due to Coronavirus staff shortages NHDC has taken the decision to suspend food waste collections and the garden waste service. Over a two week period we used to have five separate collections from our properties and this is now reduced to two. If an alternative solution had been proposed of a three weekly service on all bin types would this have been preferred? Many of us I suspect have space in our bins to go three or even four weeks before collections, and if we squash packaging a bit more before it goes in the bin we could make better … more

Letchworth’s New Years Community Litter Pick

The Plastic Free Letchworth team were out for their first litter pick of the year on Sunday, cleaning up an area of the Greenway where it borders the town’s industrial estate. Glyn Holt, who was there with his daughter Ffion told us, “it was great to have other families helping out on what was a FRESH frosty morning. During the hour and a half we had no trouble filling ALL the reusable bags that ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ provide to Plastic Free Communities. The area is clearly a popular place for a snack, and we found a range of single-use take … more

Transition Town Letchworth response to NHDC declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’

North Herts District Council declared a Climate Emergency at its meeting on 21 May 2019. Transition Town Letchworth (TTL) formed in 2008 and have been undertaking activities to tackle climate change with a local perspective. TTL activities range from helping individuals make lifestyle changes through to strategic activities, like producing a proposal for a cycle network. TTL are keen to work with the council on projects to address climate change going forward, as TTL have done in the recent past with the Plastic Free Letchworth project and the project to install additional cycle parking at community venues and schools across the town. The council … more

A Plastic Free Picnic

Transition Town Letchworth’s have partnered with Letchworth Heritage Foundation on Field Day, 6th July 2019, to host an event on the Greenway. There will be craft activities, games and a storytelling session followed by a litter pick between 1pm to 2pm. Attendees are being encouraged to bring a single-use plastic free picnic and we are looking forward to seeing how attendees meet this challenge. Here are some ideas on how to avoid single use plastic when picnicking: Bring your drink in a reusable bottle. Pack up your sandwiches in a reusable container, paper or foil, rather than wrapping it in clingfilm or a … more

Letchworth, the UKs first garden city, is the first town in Hertfordshire to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status as it takes action on single-use plastic.

Letchworth Garden City has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way on tackling throw away plastic. The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community Approved status by Marine Conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment. Transition Town Letchworth, a charity whose aim is to tackle climate change locally,started the campaign in January 2018 with a lively public meeting which was fortuitously aligned with the final episode of Blue Planet II. Registering with the SAS Plastic Free … more

Tackling Climate Change One Milk Carton At A Time

Recently we have seen high profile public campaigns seeking to persuade those in office to take action to address climate change. As individuals we regularly feel disempowered. But sometimes there are some politically difficult problems that individuals can get on with solving, leading by example. As part of the Plastic Free Letchworth team we have been talking to local schools about switching from milk in cartons with straws to bottles of milk and reusable beakers. Cool Milk, our local school milk provider, are implementing solutions that will reduce the overall volume of plastic waste associated with school milk. Some schools … more