Category Archives: Environment

New plastic film recycling scheme for Powys communities

Town and Community Councils in Powys are introducing a new recycling scheme, developed by Welshpool-based charity Cae Post, to deal with unwanted plastic film.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the  plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Following the decision by Powys County Council to stop the collection and recycling of plastic film, waste and recycling experts Cae Post were approached by a number of Community and Town Councils to see if they could fill the gap.

Although Powys County Council no longer offers recycling collections for plastic film and suggests disposing of it with household refuse, stretchy plastic film items, such as carrier bags, magazine wrappers, bread bags, frozen food bags, cling film and bubble wrap, can be recycled.

Cae Post is working with eight councils in Powys, including Brecon Town Council, to roll out its new film recycling scheme and the results to date have been very encouraging.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, said: “We are delighted with the response to our new plastic film recycling point that has been set up outside the Co-op in Brecon. Although we were originally expecting to empty the bin once a month, demand has been so great that we are now emptying it at least once a fortnight. This shows that the people of Brecon recognise the importance of recycling plastic film and that there is a real need for the service. We would like to thank Cae Post for setting it up.”

John Harrington, Chair of Cae Post said: “We are pleased to be working with councils in Powys, such as Brecon Town Council, to manage plastic film recycling for their communities.

“The environmental impact of plastic film should not be underestimated. Studies suggest that plastic bags, for example, can take anywhere between 20 and 1,000 years to degrade, if they degrade at all in modern landfill sites. In fact, many countries around the world have now banned them. So, if we are going to use items made from plastic film, it is important that, as a society, we do what we can to recycle them.

“At Cae Post, we believe it is vital that these items do not end up in general waste and so we are pleased to offer a collection service for communities in Powys, as well as for businesses, charities and other organisations.”

While it is true that plastic film can be difficult and expensive to sort from other materials by mechanical means, Cae Post has maintained its manual sorting capacity and so is happy to offer this service.

John Harrington added: “As a charity and social enterprise, Cae Post has a mission to tackle disadvantage and create opportunity through environmental initiative. By using Cae Post to recycle plastic film, communities in Powys are helping us to fulfil our social objectives, providing work opportunities for disabled people and those who are disadvantaged in the jobs market.”

The other Community and Town Councils in Powys that are trialling the scheme include Banwy, Castle Caereinion, Dwyriw, Llangunllo, Llangynidr, Llanwrtyd Wells and Trewern.

If your community group or organisation would like to find out more about plastic film recycling in Powys, contact Cae Post on 01938 570426 or email info@caepost.co.uk.

Propagator

Cae Post develops online shop

Cae Post, an innovative social enterprise based in Powys, has recently taken delivery of a stock of recycled plastic Eco Potagators to sell in support of their charity.

PropagatorMade out of recycled yoghurt pots, these propagatorsare designed to be turned upside down once seedlings have outgrown the propagator and this then makes an attractive blue plant pot.

Cae Post believes in promoting the use of recycled materials as a way to stimulate demand for them and to ensure that recycled materials retain their value. For over 30 years, Cae Post has provided employment and access to work for disadvantaged people in the Powys and North Shropshire area combined with environmental action. They believe work is central to how people see themselves and that people with a range of disabilities, or who are disadvantaged in the labour market, should be given the same opportunity of contributing to their community through work.

As a charity and social business involved in the collection and recycling of materials – including plastics – Cae Post believes it is important that a market is created for these waste materials. This then makes it profitable to collect the materials. Without an outlet for collected recyclates, their value is much lower.

Cae Post was set up to provide meaningful work experience and jobs to people left behind in the labour market. By selling items on its website, Cae Post aims to give people meaningful work in processing the orders, packaging and sending them out. It’s not solely about making a profit but about giving dignified work to people. This is not Cae Post’s main source of revenue or the biggest activity it undertakes, but one which is crucial to their mission of combining work opportunities and environmental actrion.

As a social enterprise, Cae Post says it is always looking for new opportunities to grow the business in a way that marries its purpose of combining environmental action with tackling exclusion and inequality in the labour market.

Click here to find out more about Eco Potagators and to purchase online.

Cae Post to distribute recycled 3D printer ink

Cae Post, the Welshpool based environmental social enterprise, has become an exclusive distributor of Refil recycled 3D printer ink.

Recycled 3D printer ink - blueIn an innovative tie up with Rotterdam based Refil BV, Cae Post will distribute Refil’s recycled 3D printer filament to the UK market.

Speaking about the collaboration, Sue Packer, General Manager of Cae Post, said: “Cae Post is well known locally as an innovative supplier of environmentally based services and we are now looking forward to working with Refil to develop the market in recycled plastic filament for 3D printing.”

Casper van der Meer of Refil believes the 3D printing industry is set to boom and said: “3D printing is today’s trendiest industrial revolution. At Refil we aim to make it a sustainable one as well. Why do people continue to use new plastics, when there’s so much old plastic we can re-use?”

Recycled 3D printer ink - blackRefil’s recycled filament is made using old car dashboards or PET bottles and helps to stop some of these plastics ending up in landfill, or worse, in the sea. Recent reports suggest that ‘plastic soup’ could grow at such a rate that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

3D printing is a relatively new development and is being used to create models in 3D from extruded plastic filament.

Cae Post has championed environmental awareness for over 30 years and provides supported employment opportunities to local people. All profits from its activities are used to support its charitable work locally.

For more information, please visit www.caepost.co.uk.

Cae Post celebrates 30 years

Over 100 people gathered at Welshpool Town Hall recently to celebrate Cae Post’s 30th birthday.

Danielle Brown MBE

Danielle Brown MBE

Cae Post welcomed supporters, customers, employees and beneficiaries to the event to mark 30 years of creating work opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people.

The event was hosted by BBC Radio Shropshire presenter Jim Hawkins and the special guest was Danielle Brown MBE, Double Paralympic Archery Champion from Telford.

The celebration of Cae Post’s achievements was also attended by Glyn Davies, MP for Montgomeryshire, and the Deputy Mayor of Welshpool Cllr Hazel Evans.

John Harrington

John Harrington

Best known these days as a successful business recycling thousands of tonnes of materials each year from the homes and businesses of Powys and north Shropshire, Cae Post was originally set up in 1986 as a community organisation to create work for people with learning disabilities.

Speaking at the event, John Harrington, one of the Founders and current Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “When a number of volunteers came together to set Cae Post up, they were pioneers, innovators, social enterprise visionaries. Our aim back then – as it still is – was to provide meaningful and worthwhile activity for people whilst making the world a better place in environmental terms.

“It’s easyCae Post's 30th birthday celebrations to forget how the world of recycling has changed. In 1986 there was no kerbside collection for recycling in Powys. Today, there’s a whole industry set up to deal with our waste and separating valuable materials. Cae Post plays its part in this industry but with a massive difference: our endeavours help people gain valuable experience in the work place.

“Cae Post cannot alone create the work opportunities needed by people who, for whatever reason, face disadvantage in the labour market. The work that we have done needs to be taken up by many more businesses and organisations – but we will carry on playing our part and speaking up for those who need these opportunities.”

John concluded: “We might be in our 30th year, but there is so much more for us to do. We are up for the challenge and we will work hard well into the future to help those people who find it difficult to enter the world of work to find meaningful job opportunities.”

To find out more about Cae Post and the work it does, click here. To read about their 30th birthday celebrations, click here.

Centre for Alternative Technology Revisited

In his latest blog Sean looks back at visits to the Centre for Alternative Technology

It must be about 16 years since I was last at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)  near Machynlleth in Mid Wales.

For those that don’t know of it, it’s a pioneering education charity based in a former slate quarry, which has used the site to trial a number of alternative technologies over the years, and today it is using many of them still to power the site.

When I visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in the early days of Ethos public relations it was to discuss an ethical online web portal, which one of our clients was involved in. Times have certainly changed as far as the internet is concerned and, no doubt, that’s true in the field of alternative energy technologies too.

View from water balanced cliff railway at Centre for Alternative TechnologyI remember arriving at the site of CAT the first time, after a beautiful train journey from Manchester, and being impressed by the water-balanced cliff railway which takes you from road level up to the visitor centre.

As with many of the technologies showcased at CAT, the cliff railway works using the simplest of technologies, namely gravity. The two carriages are linked by a steel rope and when one goes down due to the combined weight of its passengers and water tank, the other carriage travels up the cliff face, with some stunning views.

On my recent visit, another ancient technology was being displayed, though with a modern twist. Burning wood for cooking and heating can hardly be described as an alternative technology, given that millions of people around the world rely on it day in and day out, but at CAT there is an innovative display of boilers that use wood pellets to produce both electricity and heat. Obviously, managed properly wood is a sustainable fuel and so provides an alternative to fossil fuels. If we want to work towards a zero carbon economy, then this might be part of the solution.

For many years, I have thought that solar panels for domestic and industrial premises should be fitted as a matter of course instead of roofing tiles, rather than on top of an existing roof. At CAT, that’s what they have on the café.

Solar panel roof at Centre for Alternative Technology

Over the past 16 years many things have changed dramatically in the field of low carbon energy generation, whether that is the growth of offshore wind energy generation or the increasing number of homes with photovoltaic cells on their roofs, but what we still have not seen is a widespread belief in using alternative technologies from the start of a project rather than as an add on.

But there still seems to be a lot of antipathy to wind and solar, in spite of their obvious benefits. Ethos public relations has worked with community biodiesel and community wind energy operators in the past and have, in a very small way, helped get the message out about the benefits of reducing carbon dependency. There is still much to be done.

So keep up the good work CAT, keep promoting the alternatives and helping to put sustainability into practice…