Kick The Consumerist Habit – notes from June’s Transition Tuesday

After our meeting on consumerism on the 9th June, I said I would provide references, so here they are. The presentation slides can be downloaded from below. The first half of this file contains A4 slides and the second half has the same slides, but with explanatory notes. At the beginning of the talk, we showed the excellent “Story of Stuff”, which can be viewed at We watched the original video from 2007. There are several more recent films on the site. E F Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” (1973) is one of the seminal texts of the environmental movement. … more

Tips for a Green(er) Christmas


One of our members received this list of tips for having a more ethical and greener Christmas.  The whole “living sustainably” arena can be fraught with unintended consequenses so I wondered what you thought of them.  Are they sound?  A bit grinch-like?  Are there more practical things we could do?  For example, point 3 about renting a Christmas tree… I’m not sure I’d know where to begin doing that!  But a bit of greenery brought in from the garden can make good decorations in place of a tree. Please cast your cynical eye over it and let us have your … more

Giving scrap wood a new purpose


Are you one of those people who walks past skips and peers in, thinking “I can’t believe they’re chucking that out!” or even “If I could just get my hands on that I could make something else out of it…”?  If so, you’re not alone. Transitioners will be amongst the first to say we have to start re-thinking what we commonly know as waste and consider it to be resource with a future use.  Which is why we were so pleased to hear about the wood-recycling social enterprises springing up round here.  They collect waste wood from local businesses, sort … more

Let’s talk about food waste


The subject of food waste has been a hot topic ever since NHDC announced they were no longer going to be providing compostable liners for our food-recycling caddies.  In fact from the number of letters The Comet received I think the topic deserves it’s own name: WasteGate. TTL has received some correspondence on this subject too, from people concerned that this change will reduce the amount of food recycled, but also asking what they should do with their food waste now.  The answer can be found on the Council’s website, but if you’ve only got a minute the answer is: … more

TTL’s trip to Cumberlow Green Composting Facility


A group of five TTL members visited Cumberlow Green Composting facility on 3 October, togged up in our wellies ready for a wet farm yard visit.  We were met by Mark Simpkins (Contract Manager for Hertfordshire County Council) and James Hodge (the owner of the site), who both gave us a tour. We were seeing the site which for obvious reasons was after the day’s work had finished and the workers gone home. Each day the collecting lorries take their morning’s collection straight onto the weighbridge at the front of the site. HCC pays for the weight of each load delivered and … more

Letchworth Shopping Challenge – How much choice is enough?


Some of you may have been wondering why things had gone a bit quiet. I have realised one of the stumbling blocks to a Christmas present blog….It all has to be written in the run up to Christmas! So apologies for the extended gap in posts. I have been busy shopping (and baking, writing, wrapping etc) so I’m now going to do my best to make a few last posts to bring you all up to date with how I’ve got on. So, rolling back a couple of weeks, I was still in the midst of shopping (I am a … more

Alternative Christmas – our December Transition Tuesday


We had a lot of fun at this meeting discussing ways to avoid the over-commercialisation of Christmas while still supporting local businesses and having fun making our own decorations, wreaths, gift tags and wrapping paper. Lots of useful ideas emerged, see the below files for notes taken.         presents_for_christmas christmas_cards_and_wrapping_paper food_for_christmas Any problems opening them, please do let us know. Also highly recommended on the night was Money Saving Expert’s Xmas manifesto and the Pre-NUPP –No Useless Presents Pact where you can email friends to agree not to buy for each other, in a really kind way! … more

Letchworth Christmas Present Challenge – Second up, Secondhand!


Ok so secondhand stuff might seem a strange suggestion for a Christmas present. Perhaps you are starting to pity my family (maybe you did already). But those of you who know Letchworth probably already know that we have quite a lot of shops here selling “pre-loved” goods. This is great for those who like to see things recycled rather than wasted, and those on a tight budget. Would a secondhand present lead to tears into the turkey on Christmas morning? Well, when you look at the range and quality of the secondhand goods on offer in our town centre, I think buying … more

Letchworth Christmas List Challenge

So this is me. And this first blog post is about my self-imposed challenge to buy as many of my Christmas presents as possible in Letchworth this year. I should introduce myself to those who don’t know me. I’m Camilla Hamilton, I’m 35, married with two children (a boy and a girl of 4 and 2 respectively) and I live in Letchworth. Maybe at some point soon I will write something more about myself on my website (don’t bother looking, there isn’t anything there now!). It probably would be relevant to my take on all this, but that is … more

March Clothes Swap


Our March Transition Tuesday ‘swishing’ event (clothes up-cycling) went brilliantly.  Many clothes and accessories came with one owner and left with another, therefore avoiding more high use of chemicals and water in cotton production and use of sweated labour in producing new ones. Clothes that were left went to the Hospice shop the following morning as a little thank you for loaning us their clothes rails. Local clothes maker and teacher Rachel Bagenal gave information and help to those wanting to get sewing. See I especially liked trying things on behind the special curtain! … more