Planet South Bank aims to trial plastic waste options


On Saturday 21 October, following our Repair Cafe, Planet South Bank hosted a community recycling talk to explore some possible solutions for better disposing of plastic waste and ways to avoid single use plastics.

The event included guest speakers from Terracycle, which provides recycling initiatives that extend the lifespan of plastic items otherwise bound for landfill, and ‘I Am Reusable‘, a local online store that enables consumers to ditch single use plastic items in favour of those that are reusable and plastic free.

Why was this important to us? Currently, the only plastics that City of York Council can recycle at the kerbside are plastic bottles.  Despite many people’s best intentions  – i.e., filling their recycle boxes with all kinds of other plastics (margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and plastic trays and cartons are often thrown in) – anything that’s not a plastic bottle is only going to end up in landfill or contaminating the load.

The council is hedging its bets on a new incinerator (at Allerton Park; due to open in 2018) to provide a “solution”, opting to burn any household waste that is beyond its recycling capabilities. Not everyone is happy with this approach and the passing of planning permission for the incinerator in 2010 by City of York and North Yorks County Council was hugely controversial, generating petitions and protests. Given this unease, and the urgency of the plastic pollution problem, Planet South Bank and friends are planning to take their own action on dealing with plastic waste locally.

So far, we’ve spoken with and surveyed local traders on Bishopthorpe Road in York, not only to get some insight into their waste content but to see if we can garner their support for trialling solutions in the area. In the near future we hope to create a pilot scheme giving local people increased access to more diverse plastic recycling options, one of which is Terracycle’s Zero Waste box scheme.

We had a Skype call with Terracycle to discuss the huge range of plastic items they can recycle (reuse and upcycle) to lessen the need for the use of virgin plastic. Some of the recycling options are free, including: McVities biscuit wrappers, pens, cigarette butts and Garnier personal care products. In addition, Terracycle provides the means to recycle almost any other plastic item through a paid-for service.

Planet South Bank will be active in encouraging the implementation of the free recycling programmes, seeking locations to host community drop off sites (pen recycling in schools, etc). We’ll also be seeking other organisations and businesses to host the paid for waste boxes, providing the community with a place to better dispose of their waste. This will be done where a correlation exists between the products they sell/provide and the waste it then creates. We hope that those we approach will be receptive and see value in the initiative as a means of being ecologically responsible, whilst potentially attracting new custom from those who come to use the service.

‘I Am Reusable’,  from the Leeman Road area of York, also came along to the event and showcased some of their many non-plastic and alternative products. Their  message was simple: you as a consumer can buy better to cut your waste, and in some cases even your costs, by taking advantage of reusable cup use discounts at many coffee retailers. Take a look at their store and view a video of the presentation.

We look forward to keep you up-to-date with developments in the near future and we welcome any comments, questions or offers of help!

Rich Hearn


Why is plastic so detrimental to the environment?

  • Almost every piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet in some form and half of the (+) 350 million tonnes of global annual plastic production will be used once, then thrown away, with only a small fraction being recycled.
  • Plastic harms wildlife, which can get caught in it (e.g. netting of plastic can holders) or eat it (from bottle tops to bits of plastic bags)
  • (+) 5 trillion tiny pieces of plastic are afloat in our oceans, broken down by UV rays, waves and salt, to create micro plastics. These have subsequently been filmed being eaten by plankton, representing the introduction of plastics in to the wider food chain: plastics absorb chemicals and toxins that are free-forming in the ocean, once consumed by (fish) they build up and are then eaten by humans.
  • Burning plastic in the open air releases hormonal disrupting, toxic, phthalates that have been proven to interfere with growth, early development in children, reproduction and the metabolism. (Emissions from modern incinerators are highly regulated and controlled.)


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Craft-y-Crawl: list and map of participating makers


Craft – y – Crawl Sunday 12th November 2017 12 midday – 4pm
List of participating venues (in alphabetical order) with map

A. Bishopthorpe Road , The Winning Post, YO23 1NZ
Kim Chambers – animal artist selling original artwork, prints and greeting cards,
including festive cards
Sophie and Carlos – brightly painted tin decorations – Christmas themes and Day of the Dead
Jane Milliner – cards including unicorns and Pegasus
Ed Clews – Music, film and pop culture illustration cards and prints. Plus fuzzy animal faces
Charlotte Dawson – copper and silver jewellery, experimentation with patina and incorporating found objects
Sylvia – hand knitted items including tea cosies, cushions and bags

B. 28 Charlton Street, YO23 1JN
Petra – Handmade jewellery – necklaces, earrings, bag charms, bracelets,
All individual items and very reasonably priced.
C. Cromwell Road, Bishophill, The Golden Ball, YO1 6DU
Nell – handmade unique cards, gifts, block prints and accessories. Plus birds, birds!
Vagaries of Mine – Folk art and literature inspired original art, cards and gifts
Smitten – Paper crafts and other curiosities
SkipArt aka Dan George – Unique paintings on reclaimed slates and wooden doors
Cat Tails of York aka Anna Harding – Original art, prints and cards
Winifred Taylor – Folk art inspired gifts and cards

D. 1 Norfolk Street, YO23 1JY
Naomi Whittaker– colourful handmade fused and stained glass.
From Christmas decorations to coasters to candle holders, plates and window panels.
Lots of glass to brighten up your home or give as gifts.

E. 86 Nunnery Lane YO23 1AJ
Mim Robson/Keeping it Crafty – Land and Nature art, colourful mandalas made from flowers and natural materials, large scale sand art, craft workshops including textile and paper crafts
Kayti Peschke – Caboodle magazine. A print magazine created to showcase the work of artists, makers and passionate individuals. Meet Editor and York local Kayti and grab a copy at a special discount rate.
Rachel Croft – Pen illustration with watercolour. Cards, lampshades and drawings.

F. 79 Russell Street, YO23 1NN
Sarah Penn and Madeline Evans – hand knitted accessories, scarves and shawls, hats and mittens made in natural yarns, including hand spun and dyed. Also fabric jewellery, cards and Christmas decorations and a live Spinning demonstration

G. 82 Scarcroft Road, YO23 1DD
Di Hennell – ‘My Material World’ Eclectic mix of gifts, using a variety of materials. Brooches, bracelets, notebooks, Christmas decorations, hangings and more.
Plus York Prints by Roger Inman.

H. 3 Scott Street, YO23 1NR
Pie Waller – Carved eraser stamps, daft badges, pompon bunting, special hyacinth bulbs.
Lu Mason – brooches and mobiles
Kate Akrill – Skullduggery Ceramic snowflakes and soap dishes
Joy Simpson – cards and prints

I. 10 Trafalgar Street, YO23 1HT
Isla Macneil “Ingenues” Children’s activities,workshops and costumes based on inspirational women. All handmade by Isla and a selection of local workers and manufacturers.

J. 33 Wentworth Road, YO24 1DG
Sally Stone -Hippystitch –jewellery and notebooks
Lucy Monkman Illustration, Colourful and contemporary, cards, stationery and prints
Alyson Cowen – What’s To Be Done With Her, handmade children’s clothing
Helen Batchelor – By Helen, Beautiful flowers from yarn and fabric

K. 35 Wentworth Road, YO24 1DG
Sue Dennis – cards
Ruth – flying birds and cards
Meredith – cards and prints

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Bikes to umbrellas: Repair Café fixed it!

Our Repair Café returned to Clements Hall in York on Saturday 21 October, and once again saw a wide range of items given a new lease of life.

In the hands of our skilled volunteer repairers, we managed to fix or part-fix a total of 27 items, including: 5 bikes, 3 laptops, hair straighteners, a sewing machine, an umbrella, an espresso maker steam head, a pair of curtains, various items of clothing and jewellery, as well as encouraging a visitor to refurbish a piano stool. Only five items proved unfixable.

We were pleased to welcome Ey-Up Cycling and Lance Bumstrong back to the bike crew, who were kept busy, as were Carwyn Edwards and Ben Weaver on electricals and electronics. Thanks also to new volunteers Matt Bibby and Peter Barclay, who also joined the techy team. Lyndall Nicoll did a sterling job on jewellery and Gill Cossham and Ruth Jennaway hand- and machine-stitched clothes and curtains. We couldn’t have managed without our team of general helpers who shared reception, café and triage duties: Imelda Havers, Rosie Baker, John and Bronwen Gray and John Bibby A very big thanks to all those that helped,  and not forgetting the bakers – most especially Liz Court, who provided a fantastic spread of cakes, biscuits and tarts, including allergy friendly ones.

Attendance was significantly down on last time (around 30): we think this was due to the timing (first day of half term) and also the event being on a Saturday morning (the previous repair café was on a Sunday afternoon). Ironically, we had chosen the date because it coincided with International Repair Café Week, and Saturday itself was  the official Repair Day! Still, it seems what really matters is timing it to suit people’s busy schedules, and Sundays tend to be better for this (and afternoons better than mornings).

We hope we can repeat the event in the Spring (March or early April).  We may also consider doing drop in clinics at other venues for specific items (jewellery or bikes, for example). In the meantime, we are keen to build up our bank of volunteers, so if you would like to help out another time, please email us. If you have a venue in the greater South Bank area of York that you would like to offer to host a repair café or drop in  clinic, please get in contact!



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Arty – or Crafty? Join the Crawl that puts makers on the map




Next month sees the return of our Craft-y-Crawl, a Sunday stroll round the streets of the greater South Bank area of York (including Bishy Road and the streets off it)
The event, on 12 November (12.00-4.00pm) offers a chance to visit local artists and craftspeople in their own homes, who will be displaying and selling a range of handmade items, including jewellery, prints, stained and fused glass, Mexican tin decorations, cards, eraser carved stamps, Christmas decorations and other exciting and unusual items!
As a participating artist/ craftsperson you can exhibit in your own home, pal up with a friend or two in your house or theirs, or book a table at The Winning Post pub on Bishopthorpe Road (this is a new initiative for this year).
To be part of the event, email giving your contact details and a description of your art/craft. Closing date for participants is Thursday 2 November (6.00pm). A £5 booking fee applies, to cover printing and advertising costs. This can be dropped off to the organiser, Pie Waller, at 3, Scott Street YO23 1NR (or contact Pie on 01904 639595 or mobile 07761 642160).
A map and list of participating addresses will be posted on the website and on our Facebook page before the event.


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Repair Café returns!


Following our successful first Repair Café in April, Planet South Bank is putting on another event on Saturday 21 October (10.00am-1.00pm) at Clements Hall in York.

The date falls in International Repair Café Week 2017 (14-22 October) when communities around the world will be organising similar events. There are now over 1,300 Repair Cafes operating globally, with 92 in the UK.

Monitoring by the Repair Café International Foundation shows that, in the past year, approximately 250,000 kilos of waste were saved collectively and that the most popular items for fixing were bicycles, vacuum cleaners and kettles.

Our experience from our April event confirms the popularity of small electrical items; chairs, lamps, clocks, jewellery and textiles were other popular items brought in for repair. Overall, we managed to repair 60 items, with only five items found to be not fixable at all.

As before, we will be relying on volunteer experts to do the repairing, and would like to hear from anyone with appropriate skills  to help us. We have got some volunteers already, but could do with more to help with electricals and electronics (computers, DVD/CD players, etc), as well as general repairs (eg furniture), clothing and accessories. To volunteer, contact

Once again we will be able to offer bicycle repairs, thanks to the team at Ey-Up Cycling, so if your bike needs mending, please bring it along.

bikes 1

If you have anything in particular that you want fixing, it is helpful (but not essential) to let us know in advance – it gives our repair team a better idea of what to bring. Please bear in mind that our repairers cannot take on very lengthy or complicated repair jobs at the café, as this wouldn’t be fair on others waiting. If we can’t provide help on the day, the repairers will often suggest alternatives.

There is, of course, some waiting at the event – and that’s what the café bit is about! Visitors are given a number on entry by our friendly receptionists, and while you wait your turn there’s a chance to have coffee and cake and talk to other people. We’ll also provide colouring materials to keep children occupied.

If you are in to home baking and would like to support this entirely volunteer-run event, we would be very pleased to receive donations of cakes, buns, scones or pastries. Last time, some amazing cakes were donated  but we were unable to cater for people with allergies, so any gluten-free, nut-free or dairy-free options would be especially welcome.


The Repair Café will open at 10.00am and finish at 1.00pm, allowing us time to clear up and get ready for our Recycling Talk at 2.00pm. This will include presentations by Terracycle and i am reusable and will, we  hope, be the start of an initiative/pilot for greater plastics recycling in this area. It is open to all and we are particularly keen for local traders to get involved – if you can’t come on Saturday (we know you’re probably busy trading!) a follow up event will be held to get your views.

The best way to get updates on the Repair Cafe is to join the Facebook event for it; but we will post further information on our website too. You can also follow us on Twitter @YorkPlanetSBank


Venue: Clements Hall, Nunthorpe Road, York YO23 1BW (opposite Scarcroft School). Please attend on foot or by public transport

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Street Re:Cycle is biggest one yet!

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Planet South Bank’s Street Re:Cycle on Sunday 17 September was its most popular yet.

Thirty one households took part in the South Bank-wide event, which ran from 11.00am until 3.00pm (although most packed up at 2.00pm when a heavy downpour commenced).

The event, which took place in front gardens and yards (and some back yards) in York streets from Clementhorpe to the Knavemire, saw local people putting out their unwanted belongings and either selling, giving them away or collecting for charities.

Some even offered food to tempt the “punters”, with fresh banana bread and buns on offer, while free cooking apples were given away courtesy of Abundance and Edible York.

This year a new dimension was added to the event  with the services of GoodGym York, who ran around between the participating households, acting both as messengers and couriers for those who wanted heavy or bulky goods carrying home.

While the overcast weather proved a dampener towards the end of the event and footfall was variable, a number of those that responded to the feedback survey said they particularly enjoyed the neighbourliness it encouraged.

“Kids on our street entertaining themselves and visiting each others’ stalls” wrote one respondent, while another commented it had been useful “for the fun and community”.

While the number of participating houses was up this year, the event still needs greater take up to really prove successful and targeted promotion in participating streets/areas would be beneficial.

The event was widely publicised with paid promotion on Facebook, over 2,000 postcards delivered door to door,  promotion on Twitter, posters in shops and on noticeboards, a listing in the Clements Hall newsletter (also hand delivered to local households), promotion at the local ward committee meeting and by Nunnery Lane Residents Association and write ups in The Press and York Mix. Some respondents still felt the event needed wider advertising, however.

Next year we can look at promotion in City of York Council newsletter and will seek to get more support from the wider One Planet York network – hopefully other parts of York might consider doing it, too!

York is twinned with Munster and one respondent commented that, in Munster, people putting their unwanted stuff outside their houses happens regularly, once a month on Sunday mornings. Perhaps we can learn lessons from our European twinned city!

Planet South Bank would like to thank everyone that took part with such gusto. If all those who took part this year can encourage one or two more households on their street to do it as well next year (and we get some sun) it could be a very impactful event.

In the meantime, we feel pleased that we are making good strides in community building and recycling!


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South Bank gets into shape for big Street Re:Cycle

Press release for immediate release:  12.09.2017


Streets in the South Bank area of York will be alive with community activity this Sunday when the fourth annual Street Re:Cycle event gets under way.

To date, 29 households have signed up to take part in the event – a community-wide “yard sale”, organised by voluntary group Planet South Bank – which is supported this year by GoodGym (pictured).


GoodGym limbering up for the Street Re:Cycle event (photo credit: Kate Lock)

The Street Re:Cycle, which gives people the chance to get rid of unwanted possessions, as well as to pick up previously owned items that others no longer want, is designed to reduce waste, promote reuse and encourage neighbourliness.

The event takes place from people’s front (and some back) yards on Sunday 17 September from 11.00am to 3.00pm across the wider South Bank area of York.

A map and list showing participating households can be viewed on the Planet South Bank website and Facebook page, with printed copies available from Sainsburys on Bishopthorpe Road. The hand-drawn map has been produced by artisan and Street Re:Cycle organiser Pie Waller.

cropped map

Map and list of participating households (drawn by Pie Waller)

The GoodGym team will be stationed at Cherry Tree Corner, at the intersection of Bishopthorpe Road and Scarcroft Road, and its members – who combine running with good deeds in the form of energetic voluntary work – will be available to help out, run errands and act as “porters”, carrying items home for people (12.00-3.00pm).

“This is the first time we’ve done it with GoodGym, and I hope there will be enough work to keep them active, so do use their services!” said Planet South Bank organiser Kate Lock.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a clear out now that the summer’s over. It’s not a commercial event – it’s much more about getting to know other local people and sharing things. Many people simply give away their stuff away or collect for charity.

“At the end of the day it’s about preventing items going to landfill and prolonging their usefulness for as long as possible. We don’t always need to get brand new stuff.”

The group encourages householders to donate items that are not rehomed to charity shops, or to recycle or repair as appropriate. All participants are responsible for clearing up afterwards and keeping the area tidy.

The Planet South Bank group, which was formed in 2010, has this year been given some funding by City of York Council’s Community Waste Fund to run a series of recycling-themed events, of which the Street Re:Cycle is one. The group has also run a successful Repair Café and clothes mending workshop and will be running another Repair Café at Clements Hall on 21 October (10.00am-1.00pm) followed by a recycling presentation and talk.

To find out more, and view the list of streets and map, go to or

GoodGym can be contacted for assistance on the day on 07473 933335.

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