October’s Waste Thoughts – 2022

Before talking about the meeting, if you want to get up to speed on some environmental issues, then you could to worse than listen / watch the Ryedale Environment Groups Talks on YouTube, particularly the recent NYCC Climate Strategy one – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u5VhmY3Bw4&list=PLpGPNU6bSHTadH36xkaBHtzv-ypU-qnIR&index=8 – you will hear about some Ryedale specific things, but Jos Holmes covers all of North Yorkshire and since she gave a similar talk to CASaV it now appears that farms in North Yorkshire don’t capture carbon after all.

Full notes below, quick summary:

  • Home batteries – are they good for the environment.
  • EU food – waste exceeds imports.
  • Waste heat – shop doors and outdoor heater.
  • Public building energy use – DEC certificates.
  • Cardboard – if its clean recycle, if not compost.
  • Redcar and Cleveland – proactive council energy savings.
  • Food waste – still no date for national food waste collections.
  • World 1st – plastic recycling plant on Teesside.
  • Extending the life of clothes – CASaV bring and buy?
  • Extending the life of everything else – combined bring and take event with a Repair Cafe?
  • Paint reuse – schemes exist but not locally.
  • Global recycling – Australia.
  • Reclaim Our Sea – national protest about sewage dumping and locally about effect of work in and around the River Tees on sea life.


  • Joanna – co-ordinate further visit to Allerton Waste Recovery Park.
  • Lorna – look at pulling together list of reuse / repair organisations locally to form the basis for a newsletter item.
  • Simon – contact Tracey Flint and/or Jos Holmes to find out when local domestic food waste collection will happen.
    Response from Tracey Flint: “Ah the million dollar question!  I was at a conference last week where we were hoping for an announcement from DEFRA on the Consistent Collection consultations, what we got was a promise that we’d hear by the end of the year.  It’s very disappointing because although the latest date we have been told is 2024/25 for separate collections we have to take into consideration the time it will take to get contracts, vehicles, anaerobic digestion plants etc in place.  https://www.mrw.co.uk/news/defra-to-set-out-drs-and-consistent-collections-response-before-end-of-year-07-10-2022/
  • Fred – look for or write suitable template letter that we could individually send to businesses or use to engage our local councils in promoting best practices around energy saving.

If you have just signed up to the Waste Group, then welcome, I hope these notes of our discussion make sense.

We meet once a month to talk about topics connected to waste and plan / report progress on our ongoing activities such as the Repair Cafes, Foodshare, Refill scheme and upcoming events such as the Bilsdale Show.  If you visit the “Thoughts on Waste” page on the CASaV website you can find all our past discussions – https://climateactionstokesleyandvillages.org/waste/thoughts-on-waste/

Please get in touch if you have any questions, Simon

Notes form 11th October 2022 CASaV Waste Group Meeting



Actions from last meeting
Matter arising

  • Stokesley Repair Cafes
  • Repair Cafe Organisation
  • …..

Recent online / physical meetings

Attendees: Jenny Earle, Wendy Smith, David Blundell, Simon Gibbon, Joanna Whitwell, Fred Page, Lorna Kessell

Apologies: Kate Gibbon, Joy Smith, Pete Smith, Louise Coudan, Anne Mannix

Actions from last meeting

Pete – what happens about environmental reporting of streams
Still not quite sure but map here of Northumbria Water’s record on dumping raw sewage from their different treatment facilities, doesn’t make pleasant viewing even Swainby treatment plant had 228 hours of dumping.:

Simon – find more repairers for Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafe

Adverts in D&S and Stokesley Loop, plus Google Form – https://forms.gle/DxJXgohR6J1sPboU7

Simon – Additional visit to Allerton Waste Recovery Park.

No progress, Joanna will take over co-ordinating this.


Coop Food Share working well but with a small number of people helping, may need to think about how we can make it more robust.
Insect based dog food is being promoted as vegan dog food, not sure this is really vegan, but also is it better for the climate, probably than a meat based food, but probably not compared to a plant based food.  Depends how the insects are being produced, in order to do a full analysis of all inputs and outputs.
Interesting article in The Centre for Alternative Technology’s Clean Slate magazine about home batteries and whether they are better for the environment.  Batteries have to be manufactured requiring materials and currently between 60 and 100kg of CO2e per 1kWh of battery capacity, so a 10kWh could have an embedded carbon content of 1 Tonne.  Environmentally a battery is positive if it is used to balance the grid, i.e. the power is exported at times of high demand, but not so much if used purely internally, i.e. when the sun doesn’t shine.  The article also talked about the cost savings which are advertised as considerable, due to the rapid rise in electricity prices, but the article shows that the savings are still marginal.  Vehicle to grid technology is using an existing battery in the car, so using the available car batteries to balance the grid would be environmentally beneficial.

The EU has produced a report saying that 53million tonnes of food is wasted, which 15million more than total EU food imports (Guardian).  The report shows how much of the wastage is happening on farms and the EU is looking into how to regulate to reduce food wastage.
Waste energy – heat, it is frustrating to go into shops with their door open yet find  the shop was heated on a cold day or air conditioned on a hot day.  France is introducing a law to require stores to keep doors closed when air conditioning is in operation (France24).  Locally we don’t think this is too much of problem, with shops such as Coop and Boyes keeping their doors closed, and fruiterers having open doors but no heating, bakeries do have open doors, but probably helps with heat from the ovens.
On the other hand the prevalence of outdoor heaters – G&Tea encourages visitors to use them and it looks like some of the decking areas recently introduced in Stokesley may be looking at installing them.  If you spot this, preferably below installation, then it would be good to suggest blankets as a sustainable alternative.

Waste energy – light: Sainsburys 24 hour external lighting – day and night, at night presumably for security, but could only come on when approached and why in the day?  Wetherspoons has loads of lights in gazebos presumably to attract people in.  There is no law to stop them, and lighting is a relatively low energy consumption especially when using LED lights, turn temperature down slightly would save more energy, but excess light may well be a sign of lack of energy conservation in general.  For larger commercial/public buildings, then they should have a DEC (Display energy certificate), for example Downing Street which is pretty poor – DEC 10-12 Downing Street.  You can look for DECs here – https://www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate – Coop Springfield – expired certificate D,  Boyes Stokesley – certificate G, Wetherspoons The Ironstone Miner in Guisborough – certificate A, whereas Sainsbury’s in Guisborough doesn’t appear to have a certificate – all TS14 7DH.
Should we be writing to all these businesses to ask them to improve their energy performance or in the case of Wetherspoons and Tim Martin, congratulating him on current performance and suggesting extra things that could be done?  Timers on LED lighting, sensors on external lighting, heating on controls, etc..
Action: Fred – look for or write suitable template letter that we could individually send to businesses or use to engage our local councils in promoting best practices around energy saving.
Guisborough Eco Group has an enlightening presentation from Louise Westbury who is a councillor and cabinet member of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council with responsibility for “Climate Change, Environment and Culture“.   She has been proactively taking on other people’s jobs in council and makes the job more eco before handing it back to the job holder.  So she has eco’d the street lighting which has saved more energy than expected, arranged solar panel installation on council buildings such that Redcar library generates more electricity than it uses.  Round 4 of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) will provide £1.5billion to people in social house / fuel poverty to improve home energy efficiency.
All the energy help requires the person needing it to seek help and there appears to be a missing link to individuals, we need energy advisers to go to people or at least we be so visible / obvious that those in need find them.  Citizen’s Advice are good, will help if you come and see them giving you access to what is available.  In a suburb of Glasgow a community energy cooperative, South Seeds, has embedded itself as a part of the community with a shop on the high street.  Not only is the shop on the high street, but they regularly leaflet both on the street and door to door, so they have a great track record of engagement across the local community and people now automatically come to them for annual reviews of their energy position.
My compost bin eternally empties itself, I just keep putting new compost in, but it never gets full.  There will be liquid coming out of it which is rich in nutrients and can be used as a fertiliser, plus CO2 and methane will be being released as the microbes compost it.  Adding dirty cardboard helps to balance the compost, but clean cardboard should be recycled as described in the book “The Rubbish Book by James Piper” – unbound.

Disappointing that food waste collection does not happen locally.  Food waste was scheduled to be collected nationally by 2023 – DEFRA Article 2020.  WRAP provide a Guide for household food waste collection.

There were also plans to introduce transparency for food waste from business in April 2023, but this was delayed and I haven’t seen a revised date – Food waste transparency delay.

Interesting article here on how councils should prioritise waste collection if resources are stretched – Waste collection services – guidance for local authorities.
Action: Simon – contact Tracey Flint and/or Jos Holmes to find out when local domestic food waste collection will happen.
What happens with restaurants and food waste? 
Locally Geoff Jacques has been involved with Tim Lang as part of Feed Britain, which will presumably also be looking at food waste.
In order to try to increase reuse and repair locally, we should be looking at putting together an article we could share on community Facebook and Newsletter about organisations such as Frade which is able to take furniture, repair and offering them to people in need.
Action: Lorna – look at pulling together list of reuse / repair organisations locally to form the basis for a newsletter item.

As we have discussed often, polymer recycling is challenging due to all the different types and the need to clean / separate them before they can be recycled.

I was struck by an advertising article by Dow in last month’s New Scientist about Dow revolutionising world plastic recovery – you can read it here – https://dow.colab.newscientist.com/posts/the-coming-plastics-revolution.

Dow would be using an innovative recycling process from Mura Technologies involving supercritical steam to break down plastics. According to the article, Dow/Mura are now planning a global rollout of 600ktonnes/yr by 2030.
Back in April 2021 I went to a webinar on local companies working on advanced plastic recycling. One of them, ReNew ELP, had plans for a 20ktonne/yr plant on Teesside using supercritical steam which breaks down the plastics into simpler chemicals. An advantage of the process is that it could handle mixed plastics thus avoiding the need to separate the different incompatible plastics. The output of the process is a petrochemical stream ( similar to naphtha from oil) that can be recycled back into chemical manufacturing of virgin polymers. Overall this would avoid incineration and associated toxic fumes and landfill.
I decided to dig deeper into the supercritical steam process to find whether there was a connection with Dow/Mura. It turns out the original process is based on the work of Prof Thomas Maschmeyer in the chemistry dept of Sydney University.  In 2005, he co-founded a company called Licella Holdings which holds the original patent on his work. In October 2020 ReNew ELP obtained a £4.4million grant from Innovate UK towards the development of their planned Teesside plan. They appeared to be working in conjunction with Licella.  During 2021 commercial interest suddenly mushroomed with a series of smart moves.  Mura Technologies appeared on the scene and made a deal with Licella to obtain the world- wide patent outside Australia/New Zealand. On the 29th October 2021 Mura took over ownership of ReNew ELP. The new Teesside plant is still underway and should be starting up soon but will now be under the umbrella of Mura. It will still be the first commercial scale plant for the process in the world.
Licella Holdings quite rightly consider the Teesside plant to be part of their development output and have produced an enthusiastic Youtube video:- https://youtu.be/S1N3YqrlEPA

In  summary:Teeside plant based on Australian Professor’s patented technology; Teeside plant has been helped by £4m UK government grant; Mura acquired global rights for technology; Mura purchased Teeside plant; process uses high pressure steam breakdown the polymers to make raw materials from polymers for new polymers; ~85% efficient at getting oils out; won’t need to separate out PET from PE/PP – totally incompatible for reuse as molten polymer; should be able to cope with a poorer quality of recycled materials; Teeside plant should be on stream 2023.

Not sure the classic Swishing would work, but keen to do something that gets clothes reuse going such that your new clothes are somebody else’s old clothes.  Could we do something like Jumble sales / Bring and buy, with upcycling, perhaps combine a bring and buy with Repair Cafe which could not only repair but upcycle.  Don’t want to replace charity shops, but using charity shops are alien to some people, so we could also encourage people to use charity shops as well.

Another possibility is to run a clothes exchange plus sewing team to upcycle, change sizes, turn up trousers etc..
Factory unit in Peterlee which collects old furniture / lamps which are repaired and given away free.  Nationally British Heart Foundation are good at reuse  but only take easy to shift stuff.  The Shed / Frade in Middlesbrough, there is also a Frade in Northallerton and Guisborough.

Which is the most effective county council, at reduce, reuse, repair?  And why aren’t all county councils as good?  Winchester has shops were they sell secondhand things.

It is not surprising that people are even hesitant to do sewing repairs as the instruction manuals that come with sewing machines are so poor and Youtube videos which purport to help are just too complex.

Combined bring/take and repair cafe could get over the issue with Repair Cafes not being insured to sell / give away items to a new owner, as taking things from recycling centres is not allowed and Repair Cafes can’t sell / give away repaired products without liability insurance.

So people could take items from the Give and Take in one room and then take it to the Repair Cafe to be repaired.

Sent in details about the British Coating Federation’s PaintCare project which enables Paint Reuse / Recycling and Seagulls Paint from Leeds who repurpose spare paint into paint for sale.  Locally paint will be treated as solid waste and will paint will only be accepted if it has been solidified, it then goes into the landfill / burn stream, if in a plastic tin it will stay in the incineration stream and in metal tin it may initially be separated out, but unless almost empty will probably still go to incineration, with the metal possibly being recovered from ash.
Paintcare allows you to search for locations which accept paint for reuse, https://www.paintcare.org.uk/recycle-the-rest/, unfortunately there are no locations locally, nearest are at Hartlepool, Trudhoe and Bishop Auckland.

Guardian article on Australian Recycling article – the state of Victoria has adopted the 4 bin system which is used in the countries (Germany, South Korea) with the highest recycling rates, in fact on one of the Japanese islands villages sort their recycling into 45 different categories.  “Australia has a series of 2025 recycling targets: 100% of packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable; 70% of plastic packaging being recycled or composted; 50% of average recycled content included in packaging; and the phase-out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging.”, but no uniform countrywide standards in place.  Globally the 4 bin system has bins for glass, for food or garden organics, then combined other recyclables (paper, cardboard and some plastics), and then a bin for everything else.  In Germany for example you are charged by the weight of your other bin to encourage you to recycle as much as possible.  While Australia wants to go to circular economy, which sounds very simple but isn’t, is put across as the drive to increase recycling, but the trigger was the decision in 2018 by China to stop accepting 99% of the world’s waste, so Australia could no longer ship its rubbish overseas.

Waste of one sort or another is becoming more and more of a major issue around the UK seas and inland water, not just all the plastics, but also sewage and nutrients are a particular problem in local rivers.  The South Tees Teesworks development of the contaminated historical steel/iron works combined with dredging of the River Tees which involves dumping at sea appears to be the cause of the continued sea life die off around the local coast.

So I have been helping the Reclaim Our Sea campaign both by flying drones to film their events and by digging into the planning documents to better understand what may be the cause of the die-off.  You can find the campaign on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/reclaimoursea and there is a great video of everybody on beaches for the WaveToSaveOurSeas on 2nd October – https://youtu.be/RUzuuTlcq34.
You can read more about the current state here https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/mps-probe-disturbing-sea-creature-25236783 – a committee will decide whether to reopen the DEFRA investigation which blamed a natural algal bloom as causing the die-off and did not consider the role of toxic chemicals, since then crowd-funded research at Newcastle, York and Hull Universities has shown that while what appears to be non-toxic algal bloom did occur at roughly the right time, the symptoms shown by the dieing crabs is consistent with poisoning by pyridine which is a chemical by-product of coke manufacture and there are several historic coke ovens on the Teesworks site.

Scott Hunter writing for the Tees Valley Monitor has written several insightful articles, his latest – https://www.teesvalleymonitor.com/lethal-cocktail-stirred-in-the-tees-as-dredging-gets-underway – combined with an 3 page article in Private Eye which disclosed how the South Tees development having been heavily subsidised by public money is now a 90% private endeavour with little public accountability.

Bottom line is the environment appears to be suffering as South Tees appears to being developed quickly and cheaply.

The government’s write up of a remediation project is Chesterfield set the vision of environmental recovery, whereas South Tees vision is to “mitigate remediation”, i.e. do what is necessary vs. do it cheap.

The Avenue Landscaping and Remediation Project – one of the UK’s most significant brownfield projects – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-avenue-landscaping-and-remediation-project-one-of-the-uks-most-significant-brownfield-projects
South Tees Master Plan – https://tvca.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/South-Tees-Master-Plan-Nov-19.2.pdf

Matters Arising

Repair Cafes

Stokesley – Saturday 22nd October – 10-12

Swainby – Saturday 19th November – 10-12
The first Stokesley Repair Cafe was successful, below you will find a short article on the Cafe.

Holding cafes in Stokesley has the advantage of accessibility to spares while the cafe is going on, so people can walk to Boyes, Tindalls, etc. to get parts and so avoid people having to come back to the next one.

We are holding a meeting on 18th of October to decide how to take the Repair Cafes forward, one suggestion is to fix a recurring date, certainly for Stokesley, so that people know that on the xth Saturday of every month there will be a Repair Cafe going on in Stokesley.

Then if we start Repair Cafes in further locations then can be held on a more ad-hoc basis, but the plan would be to have a schedule for the next 6 months in place in due course for all the cafes..

The Ants and The Grasshopper – https://www.antsandgrasshopper.org/

Northallerton Climate Action and One Planet One Northallerton held a screening of this film, which is the story of a farmer from Malawi, how she farms to minimise damage to the environment and climate change, how she went to America where she hoped to convince farmers, senators and the public to take climate change a seriously as she was doing in Malawi.
The film is inspiring and it generated a lively discussion afterwards.

There is an interest in holding farming related discussions across Hambleton as the CASaV farming meeting also showed.


Article submitted to Stokesley Loop about:

24th September’s Repair Cafe at the Globe

Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafe are a member of the global Repair Cafe organisation set up in 2008, which has cafes all over the world, but only now coming to Stokesley.

The first repair cafe in the Globe took place between 10-12 on Saturday 24th of September, over 40 different items were examined.  The repairers were able to fix over 60%,  owners items were partially repaired or owners were advised where to get parts for 18% of items to come back to the next cafe, and 18% were beyond repair – too complex / too time consuming / spare parts unavailable / worn out.


The repair cafe is not just about electrical items or just about sewing, as you can see by the split of items repaired at the Globe.


The idea of repair cafe is that the life of items is extended by having mended, but unlike repair shop this is not the magic process of the Repair Shop, the repair is collaborative between the owner and the repairers.


The montage gives you an idea of the range of items that were fixed: garden tools were sharpened, ceramics were glued back together with cracks painted over, buttons on jeans were replaced, computers were sped up, zips were replaced, electric lamps were made safe, non-sucking vacuum cleaners were made to suck again, watch straps were made to fit, umbrellas open once again,……..


And as it’s a repair cafe, there is tea and coffee too.

You can find more information about Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafe at  https://climateactionstokesleyandvillages.org/waste/stokesley-and-villages-repair-cafe/ – when the next one is (22nd October) and how to get involved, or email repaircafe@swainby.org.uk.

Thank you to all the volunteers who make Stokesley and Villages Repair Cafe possible, to the Globe for letting us filled the library with repairs and refereshments, to all the people who brought their broken items and those who donate so generously to keep the repair cafe going.  Without everybody we wouldn’t be able to stop so much stuff going to waste, hope to see you at a future repair cafe.

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