News & Views

Beans on Toast, the Dalai Lama and a whole lot more..

Alice Doyle07.2015

In case you missed us we were at Glastonbury running our lock up.

One of our fab volunteers, had such a great time she wrote a blog all about it. By Fran Romberg.

Glastonbury Festival is an event that needs no introduction. It’s a euphoric fiesta of music, arts, friendship, protest, peace and happiness that attracts hundreds of thousands of people of all different ages and backgrounds. Although the Foo Fighters unfortunately couldn’t make it we at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre could! It’s the biggest event on our calendar here at Brighton Peace and Environment Centre and we were out in force providing coach services from Brighton and London and property lock up’s at the festival. Here’s our run down of our experience at the festival.

Our coach service using the Big Lemon was as popular as ever and this year we launched our service from London, which was a fantastic success! The Big Lemon Coaches are the perfect alternative to travelling by car as it’s more eco-friendly to travel on one big coach than lots of individual cars and the Big Lemon coaches are run on recycled chip oil. Taking care of the environment is one of the central themes of Glastonbury Festival and we aim to encourage people to continue this outside of the festival too.

We also help run several of the property lock ups on site. It’s an extremely useful service where festivalgoers can drop off their valuables and we take care of them- for free! Leaving you to have some good old worry free fun! At the lock ups you can also get free toilet paper, challenge 21 wristbands to use as ID at the bars and charge your phone for the bargain price of £3. Our team of volunteers did an incredible job and helped make many people’s festival experience stress free so a huge well done and thank you to all those involved.

The rest of the festival also featured many events, activities and experiences, which fit in with our ethos at BPEC. The Green Futures Field featured a plethora of activities and information dedicated to creating a global consciousness for solving environmental problems including up-cycling workshops, a solar powered stage and a permaculture garden.

The Left Field tent was host to a variety of radical speakers, debates and musicians talking about important issues such as TTIP and feminism. Pussy Riot was there and was even introduced by our favourite songstress turned activist Charlotte Church!

The Greenpeace area was also a must-visit, revolving around an ocean theme highlighting issues facing our waters such as over fishing, pollution and conserving the Great Barrier Reef. It was home to a giant trawler that really put into perspective the destructive capacity of these boats.

Shangri-La featured some excellent political artwork this year as the hedonistic haven hosted an election theme. Beans on Toast gave an excellent political performance there that is worth checking out if you can.

Last but not least of course was His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself turning up to give two talks sharing his wisdom on compassion, friendship and peace. If you missed it there are links available online.

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What a load of Rubbish

Alice Doyle07.2015 Community, Events, Projects, The C-side Challenge

This month’s theme as part of the C-Side Challenge, is to talk Rubbish. If you recall the bin strikes, the seagull ripped bin bags strewn across the city revealed just how much Rubbish there is to talk about.

Stats say that there is around 600 million tonnes of products and materials enter the UK economy each year BUT only 115 million tonnes of this gets recycled. Food facts show that we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink EVERY year from our homes – most of which could have been safely consumed.

As a One Planet Living City the long term aim is “Reducing waste, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill”. But how do we achieve Zero Waste?  Zero Waste is a philosophy and design principle that no longer takes the cradle to grave approach, but instead a cradle to cradle or circular economy approach. This includes ‘recycling’ but goes beyond recycling to address the vast flow of resources and waste through human society.

Zero Waste maximizes recycling, minimizes waste, reduces consumption and ensures that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace. There are some great examples of what people are doing across Brighton and Hove to achieve just this.

Brighton Waste House

Designed by Duncan Baker Brown and with permanent planning permission to remain as a Community Sustainability Centre on Brighton University campus, the materials for the build were sourced locally by Freegle. Discarded construction materials and other unwanted stuff (so called ‘waste': stuff that is not currently recyclable or reusable) was also collected locally from all sectors.

The project has created a model for affordable, good-looking, well-designed housing that can be made from waste. It has involved students, schools, residents, businesses and other community groups and organisations and the waste to evolve a truly lowcarb project.

Magpie Recycling

Magpie Recycling began life in 1990 at Hanover Community Centre.  Three volunteers collected drink cans and glass, plus office paper from a small number of local residents and businesses, including the Universities. Since then Magpie has expanded its range of commercial services to include kerbside advice consultation, a Manufacturing Workshop for electric powered converted milk floats as well as a Furniture Project, where Magpie collect donated furniture free of charge and sell it on at cost to those on low incomes at Shabitat.


New Laines based restaurant Silo, is designed from back to front, always with the bin in mind. The production of waste has been eliminated by simply choosing to trade directly with farmers, using re-usable delivery vessels and choosing local ingredients that themselves generated no waste. The compost machine set inside Silo, turns all of scraps and trimmings directly into a compost used to produce more food… Closing the loop.

If any of these issues are something you would like to learn more about then join one of our FREE workshops running in September. Just This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a place. Remember waste isn’t waste, it’s just stuff that’s in the wrong place!

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Feed bellies not bins – the Real Junk Food Project

Alice Doyle07.2015 Community, Events, Projects, The C-side Challenge

As part of this months waste theme for our C-Side Challenge, we spoke to Sarah Betts, a Director of the inspirational Real Junk Food Project. In the UK, 15 Million tonnes of perfectly edible food ends up in landfill each year, some of it before even reaching the supermarket shelves.

What is the inspiration behind the Real Junk Food Project?

We started the cafe in February after hatching the idea in November 2014. We have been able to hire the One Church Cafe on Fridays to cook intercepted food and serve it on a Pay as You Feel basis, opening between 1.00-3.00.

The aim has been to feed people who are in food poverty. We have over 200 amazing volunteer supporters behind us. Our volunteers not only help to intercept food that would otherwise go to landfill, but also weigh, prepare and cook the food. Some food cannot be reused and what we cant keep, or leftovers, are composted using Silo’s industrial composter. We have a lot of compost looking for good homes too.

The project has been brilliant at connecting people within the community, and some of our volunteers who have been out of work or feeling isolated, have developed new skills, confidence and new friendships, from working on the Real Junk Food Project.

How do you feel about food waste.

What is difficult to tackle are public attitudes towards food waste. For instance at a supermarket, if one item in a netted bag of oranges has a small blemish, the whole bag will be discarded. Another issue are perceptions towards the uniformity of food, in that non-uniform vegetables will be discarded based on size or shape. Some supermarkets have a big surplus and negotiating our way around food legislation can be tricky. You cant sell waste food, which is why we developed the Pay-as-You-Feel concept.

We work closely with a large local supermarket, wholesalers, farmers and grocers from whom we collect edible food destined for landfill. Since February we have diverted 7,812 kilos of food and turned this into meals to feed 3,500 people.

What has held us back has been storage space for our intercepted food, so if anyone has spare storage space we can use we would love to hear from you. We have successfully crowdfunded for some shipping containers and once we have secured a premises later on in the year, we will open 7 days a week to tackle food waste and food poverty across the city.

What lessons can we learn?

We have as a team put in a lot of hard work, and learnt a lot negotiating the hurdles that we have come across. Our inspiration is to take the power back and help people and create hope. As we launch our second Pay as You Feel Cafe in Hollingdean and our plans for a Dedicated Real Junk Food Café, we feel we are achieving this.

We will soon be able to host workshops and provide local community projects and artists with a space to showcase their work. We will also be giving talks in schools to educate children about food waste and would like to explore ideas around the Gift Economy  which places more value on people, their time and effort.

If you can offer space for the Real Junk Food project to store food, want free compost or could volunteer, then please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) Or you can help by making a donation. For more see Facebook or Twitter.


Cat Fletcher talks Rubbish

Alice Doyle07.2015 Business, Community, Education, Events, The C-side Challenge, Uncategorised

Did you know that in Brighton and Hove our recycling rate was 25.2% last year while the national average is 42%? And the council spend £26 million a year of the city budget on household waste services. With 75% of all our rubbish going to landfill, there is much we can do across the city to reduce, reuse and recycle.

As part of this month’s theme on waste we are running our second Conversation Cafe on Tuesday 21st July at the Marwood. The aim is to engage people around the theme of Reuse and the Circular Economy, and also to recruit to our two Autumn Carbon Conversation workshops as part of our C-Side Challenge.

The event will be led by Cat Fletcher, a waste and reuse activist behind Freegle, the internationally acclaimed Brighton Waste House and also the more recent Reuse Depot.

The structure for the event will run 6.00-7.30. Cat will give a 20 minute talk and then in small groups discussion will be led on:
1 Reasons for Reuse as opposed to recycling.

2 What opportunities and networks exist to reuse, to be part of the sharing and circular economies in Brighton and Hove.

3 How to reduce your carbon footprint, and save you time and money.

The event will be held at the Marwood Cafe and there will be free tea and cake for all that participate. Why not come along and be part of the Conversation?

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Brighton’s great Green Centre

Alice Doyle07.2015 Community, Education, The C-side Challenge

One of our top volunteers, Fran Romberg, talks to Melanie Rees of the Green Centre.

Since you last spoke with BPEC, how have your projects developed and do you have any new ones?

Our Reduce / Re-Use / Recycle Drop in on Tuesdays and Thursdays continues to be our core work; it is very well supported and the amount of donations we receive has increased year on year. We continue to process donations into 3 categories; re-use, charity and recycling. Our 2nd hand market goes from strength to strength and we have introduced special deals on every Thursday of the month to encourage people to buy 2nd hand. We now support 13 charities through our re-use scheme and this is one of the projects we are most proud of. We are constantly looking for new opportunities to recycle and now recycle a wider range of items than ever. We have just been voted in the top 50 Recycling websites in the UK. Our monthly Rag N’ Bone continues to be as popular as ever and Mary and Buddy the horse are in their 4th season with us. It is AMAZING to see a horse trekking around East Brighton and even more AMAZING to see the children’s faces when they meet Buddy and hear the stories of residents who remember back in the day when the Rag N Bone was a weekly occurrence.

The Mile of Potatoes food growing project grows each year and while we have not managed to grow a mile of potatoes in any one year we will continue to nurture this project every year. The La Colosa Gold Mine Campaign has been a work in progress since 2011, slowly unfolding and our decision, 2 years ago, to develop the on-line  photo petition into an exhibition culminated in the opening of our permanent exhibition, on site, at our Open Day this year, on July 25th. It has been a long and emotional journey and so many wonderful people have helped make it happen. We are delighted that we have such a strong connection with our friends in Colombia and in turn that they feel supported by us.

The BIG new project we have begun is the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth. Following in the footsteps of the Bolivian Government who passed a Law in 2012 giving Rights to Mother Earth, we are campaigning for a similar law in this country. Unlike Bolivia who’s approach is a top down movement, we decided after a year attempting to engage with the UK Government that we are pursuing a bottom up approach. We have chosen one of the Laws and are encouraging people to adopt that on a personal level. Law number 3 is the Right to clean water and we are about to launch this campaign in Brighton & Hove through our Facebook page and a yarn bombing exercise.

Do you think that there is progress being made in terms of waste and recycling in Brighton and Hove?

Yes I do think there is progress being made in terms of waste & recycling in Brighton & Hove. I know from our point of view, the sheer quantities of waste and recycling we process. I know from my relationship with Cat of Freegle that the sheer volume of stuff being diverted from landfill is increasing year on year. I met with Jan Jonker from the Council 2 weeks ago to discuss the latest developments in the Council and I am very encouraged by their plans. I think it is unfortunate that the Green Council inherited a problem related to inequalities in the pay scheme for female workers and particular positions and that their efforts to sort this out, with a deadline imposed, led to strikes in the waste and recycling teams. This unfortunately gave an inaccurate view of what is actually happening with waste & recycling. The data from the Green Centre, Magpie, Shabitat and Freegle are not included in the Council figures and I believe this would also paint a very different picture of how well the city is doing.

How can others get involved to support the work at the Green Centre?

People can get involved in many ways; 



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The office is normally open to the public at the following times:

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Outside of these hours please leave a message on 01273-766610 or email and we will contact you as soon as possible. 

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