Great Big Green Week: Small swaps, BIG difference

Got the date in your diary? The GreatBigGreenWeek is happening between 8 to 16 June 2024.
This year’s theme is swap together for good.

The Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.  Every year, people come together to support action to protect the planet, with events all around the country.

From picnic and poems, to wildlife gardening, making bug hotels, woodland trails – there’s something for everyone. There are even opportunities across Great Big Green Week to share ideas about mindfulness and upcycling clothes!

Find our what’s happening near you:
greatbiggreenweek.com/find-an-event/

Buying Less, Sharing More

This year’s theme is ‘Let’s Swap Together for Good’.  The idea is to encourage everyone to explore swaps that reduce waste and encourage the re-use and recycling of goods, promoting the concept of buying less and sharing more; or sharing knowledge, skills and ideas. You could even swap recipes, have compost demos, talks about rubbish and recycling, film screenings about nature and the environment.

Examples of swaps that are easy for most of us to take part in  are repair cafes, seed swaps, vegetable swaps, clothes swaps, book swaps, knowledge swaps and even skill swaps by swapping skills in repair cafes or allotments.  Friends can swap fast fashion for second hand finds, neighbours can swap tips on insulation or electric vehicles, or toddler groups organising toy and equipment swaps – every swap adds up to make a big difference, so be inventive!

In this article, we look at small steps for everyday swaps that won’t break the bank and aim to help you save money in the long run:  seed swaps plus small swaps in your supermarket shopping choices that not only help nature and the environment, but can also help your wallet too.

Seed Swaps and Plant Swaps

 

 

Seed swaps are events where gardeners meet to exchange seeds. Swapping can be arranged online or by mail, especially when participants are spread out geographically. Swap meet events, where growers meet and exchange their excess seeds in person, are also growing in popularity.

Most seed swaps happen in autumn, winter or early spring, when seed crops have been harvested and when it’s not too late to plant the seeds for the following year. There are many ways to organize a seed swap, from small gatherings of friends to elaborate productions with workshops, meals, and more!

Ann Marie from our service in Chichester tells us how they have been taking part in plant swaps at their shared allotment:

“We have an allotment at the St James Allotments in Chichester and we have group sessions twice a week. 

We’ve always been part of the allotment association, but not really had much time to get involved.  This spring the council gifted the allotment association a plot of land that can be used as a ‘community plot’. 

All plot-holders have been invited to get involved in designing and developing the plot – it’ll be a space for us to experiment with new plants/growing methods, create a wildlife patch, do workshops/communal events, etc.

 

We’ve had a lot of fun getting involved with creating a wildlife pond and building a fence around the area: 

One of the first ideas we had was to create a space for plot holders to share/swap seeds and plants. Every gardener has spare seeds from their spring orders and then as the growing season comes to an end, lots of gardeners harvest seeds for next year. Some plot holders grow heirloom varieties, which are really delicious and really interesting – some have been passed down through generations!  

So far we’ve had wildflower seeds – there’s a big push to grow in harmony with nature this year – we’ve already noticed the difference in the number of insects and birds visiting/living on the allotments. Gardeners have shared their spare tomato plants and herb plants, which have been very gratefully rehomed by other plot holders. 

We’re sure that as people become more familiar with the community plot and the opportunities for getting involved, interest in the projects will grow and we’ll have a thriving, supportive community develop.”  


Everyday Environmental Swaps

Your Richmond Fellowship Environmental champions share some of their favourite everyday swaps which make both a difference to the environment, and help their wallets!

Delphis Eco Bathroom Cleaner

“I find this more effective than popular, well-known bleach-based bathroom cleaners (which makes it last much longer) and it has a really lovely, lemony smell making it very pleasant to use, especially in a smaller space.

I also find the Delphis floor cleaner really effective too.”

CD

Available from Waitrose, online at ethical stores and Amazon.

 

 

OceanSaver Eco Laundry Sheets 

 

“I find these clean just as well as some of
the fancier, more expensive well-known
brands) plus every purchase donates
to UK Ocean conservation”

AMG

 

 

Available from Tesco, online at ethical stores and Amazon.

 

 

Did you know, when your kitchen dishwash sponge goes bobbly,
it’s already releasing micro-plastics into the water supply?

 

 

Eco Loofas/Kitchen Dishwashing Scrubbies

“A colleague got me on to these:  I bought a pack of these over a year ago and I’ve
only used one so far!”

CD

Available widely online at ethical stores and Amazon.

 

 

 

Method Plant-based Cleaners

These are just so pleasant and effective to use. 

The spray works really well and covers the surfaces efficiently.  The new spray nozzles are even more comfortable and better to use than before.

With such a great range of scents too, who’d want to go back to chemical products?”

NW

Available in most major supermarkets,
cash & carry stores, online at ethical stores and Amazon.

 

 

 

OceanSaver Eco Dishwasher Tablets

“I find these clean just as well as some of
the fancier, more expensive well-known
brands) plus every purchase donates
to UK Ocean conservation”

HJ

Available from Tesco, online at ethical stores and Amazon.

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