Recycling Blog

Blog for posts that are specifically about the Recycling Group activities
Published by Shirley Pryor on 21 March 2014

Words by Jo Payne

Big Bike Sale is Back Again on Saturday 29 March

For the third year running, St John’s Family and Friends (the Academy’s PTA) is holding their Big Sale for second hand bikes and other large items on Saturday 29th March, from 10 ‘til 12.

If you wish to sell, items will be accepted and labelled between 9 and 10 am, at St John’s, in the area immediately outside the Sports Hall, which is easily accessible from the car park.  Prices will be agreed on registering your item with 75% going to you, the seller, and 25% to the PTA.   Buying and selling takes place between 10 and 12, after which sales proceeds and unsold items can be collected until 1pm.

This year the Bike Sale is bigger and better than ever and has been expanded to include large outdoor toys (such as quad bikes, table tennis tables, trampolines etc.), garden furniture and pet items (e.g. aquariums, hamster cages, rabbit hutches, dog kennels).

Tea, coffee and cake will be available to buy on the day from our outdoor café and selling should be brisk all morning.

Why don’t you dig out anything your family has grown out of and come and see if there is anything you wish to acquire?

All enquiries to Lesley Fernley or Jo Payne via e-mail to stjohnsfamilyandfriends@hotmail.co.uk or call 01672 516167 and leave a contact phone number, so we can call you back.

Published by Shirley Pryor on 26 October 2013

 How to have a new look this Christmas without costing the earth?

Buying a new outfit for every Christmas event is expensive and uses yet more of the world's diminishing resources, in manufacture and transport. For a local solution to your needs, go along to SWISH and SWAP, 7.30-9.30 on Wednesday 20th November in Marlborough Town Hall. Tickets are only £5 and include a glass of bubbly. (See below for more details, provided by Jo Payne of the Recycling Group):

What is a swish?

Swishing is a way of rejuvenating your wardrobe without spending money.  The idea is that you dig out up to 5 items you no longer wear and swap them for items from other people's wardrobes.  

How does it work?

•    Bring between 1 and 5 items of clothing, (clearly labelled with size) on hangers.
•    You will be issued a token for each item, which can be exchanged for a 'new to you' item. Image
•    There will be a nominal £1 charge for each item you enter and they must be in good, clean, saleable condition and appropriate to the season.
•    We will accept good quality ladies dresses, coats, jackets, skirts and trousers, shoes, handbags, evening bags and scarves.  No jewellery at this swap.

Bring items along, at 7.30 on the night, to the Town Hall.   While they are arranged, you can enjoy a complimentary drink and browse the rails.  Business will start in earnest when the Swish is declared open at about 8.15 pm.

There will be a bar and a raffle with great clothes-related prizes - something for everyone!  All sizes are welcome and we expect to have a vast range of clothes and shoes available.  We have already received donations of over 30 items of ladies clothing, in larger sizes, to start the swap off.

All clothes left over at the end of the SWISH will either be sold on behalf of St John's Family and Friends or donated to the local Hospice shop.

For further details, or to get involved,contact Lesley Fernley on 01672 861595 or Jo Payne on 01672 516167 or e-mail stjohnsfamilyandfriends at hotmail.co.uk

Published by Lorna Harvey-Frank on 23 August 2013

Swop Stall August 2013


Give & Take - Swop Stall

The idea for a community Swop Stall was born from a conversation about the Gift Economy and the fact that we all have more stuff than we need.  When we started, we had no idea how to do it or if it would work, but we got going anyway and now, some 3 months on, things are beginning to really take off. 

The ripples of what started with a bit of clutter clearing from our own shelves and cupboards are now spreading as those that came by and took items now bring their return swops to add to the table of goodies.  The chief concern was that at the end of the day we might end up with a ‘pile of stuff’ in the middle of the High Street.  But magically, and with a lot of fun, everything seems to find a home by the end of the day, leaving just a few oddments in the box to be stored away ready for starting off next time. We’ve had a wide range of swop items:  pretty summer skirts and tops, jewellery, plates, cups and glasses, bed linen, fabric remnants, garden tools, children’s toys, books, DVD’s , computer accessories and even a Scalextric set.  The fastest swop to date was an electric sander – gone in 5 minutes;  the most amusing perhaps, a nodding dog, which made a whimsical birthday gift, closely followed by the 'racing grannies'! The plant and seedling swop in May was very popular.  If anyone has a glut of vegetables in the garden, how about a vegetable swop?  Possibly the most unusual so far was a standing wrought iron candelabra.

At first people sometimes felt uncomfortable about just taking something, it felt awkward.  We are conditioned to see everything in terms of monetary value. But value is really quite relative.  Something I might no longer cherish could still be of value to someone else.  It is really refreshing to watch items come and go with a ‘smile’ and a ‘thank you’, it leaves you with a warm fuzzy glow and a sense of satisfaction.  What started as a project for keeping things out of landfill is sowing the seeds of something greater.  Unlike Freegle, swopping on the High Street gives a feeling of connection, a chance to meet and share with others, an experience of the potential of community, and if you’d like to trade time for a swop and help out on the stall for an hour or two, you’d be very welcome.

We still have a couple of things on our ‘big items’ list to find homes for:  a child’s bike (suitable for a 5/6 year old), a piano (needs tuning), but the shelves have gone!  Maybe one of these has got your name on them?  Come along to the next Marlborough Communities Market on Sunday 1st September (and  15th September), from 10-4pm,  and get swopping! 

Published by Shirley Pryor on 28 June 2013

The long-promised Marlborough recycling directory has gone "live". See it here or on the Recycling Group's home page. It is based on Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's recycling directory, published in 2005. So much has changed since then, that it has required a complete re-write. Emma Croft, the Trust's Waste Minimisation Officer, gave us an electronic copy of the original to work from. Emma has seen the result and sent her congratulations.

We wrote it for Marlborough, but the tips and links could be applied anywhere - we've already had an enquiry from India, which led me to amend the front page slightly. The idea was to be as practical (and pragmatic) as possible, giving readers several options. We have tried to focus on Reduce, Reuse and Repair wherever we can.

It is not yet finished (and probably never will be, as things seem to change constantly). We still have some pages to load and topics to research. Please help us by giving us feedback and let us know if you have any other ideas or suggestions.


Published by Sam Page on 29 April 2013

Written by Lorna

Do you have things that you no longer want or value? 

On 19th May to coincide with Love Your Local Market Week there will be an opportunity to swop unwanted items for something you may always have wanted or would at least use more.
Here’s how.  Bring along small items such as unwanted books, CDs/DVDs, toys and bric-a-brac/small household items to the Marlborough Communities Market Give & Take Swap Table between 10am and 4pm and you might make someone’s day and go home with something for yourself – all for FREE!
The Give and Take day is a community recycling event organised by the Transition Marlborough Recycling Group to promote the 5R’s – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and re-educate.  The aim is to save valuable resources from ending up in landfill and to encourage sharing and caring for our community and environment.  Full details and flyers will be available at the Market on 5th May on the Transition Marlborough stall.  You can also contact Lorna on 07969 537248 or email me at lornaharveyfrank@btinternet.com


Published by Shirley Pryor on 05 February 2013

Back by popular demand...
Saturday, 23 February, 10am onwards
Outside the Sports Hall at St John’s, Marlborough

When St John’s Family and Friends (the PTA for St John’s in Marlborough) ran the Big Bike Sale for the first time last year we sold (or sent to Africa) 98 bikes.  We had bikes of all shapes and sizes, across all price ranges.  Business was brisk.
This year we are expanding the sale to include bikes, skateboards, rip-stiks, scooters, go-karts, bike racks, trampolines*, table-tennis tables, basketball hoops and other  large* or outdoor toys which young people grow out of, but can be sold to other families.

This is how it works:
•    Decide how much you want to charge.
•    Put your name, phone number and price on a tag
•    Drop it off at 9 am on Saturday 23 Feb at St John’s School, Granham Hill, Marlborough
•    If it sells, Family and Friends will take 25% commission, you get the rest
•    Collect money or unsold items before 4pm

*For items which are too big to bring along, make up an ad (including a picture, description, name, address, price) for our marketplace board.  We will display the item during the day and let you know who is interested.

If you want to buy bikes or other items, we will be open for business from 10am and running an all day, outdoor café with hot drinks and snacks.

Any questions call Jo on 07766 721799 or e-mail at jopayne at tiscali.co.uk or Lesley on 07784 094253 or e-mail at lesleyfernley at aol.com



Published by Shirley Pryor on 23 June 2012

Do you have old, unwanted, unloved computers lurking or languishing in your home or business? Bring them along to the Transition Marlborough Computer Amnesty at the Marlborough Communities Market on first Sunday of each month in Marlborough High Street/Town Hall. Green Machine Computers Ltd, a local company, will refurbish them and sell them on at low cost.
The company was set up by Simon Crisp in 2011, when he left a large computer company, following redundancy. Simon identified huge wastage in the market: businesses and families threw away computers when upgrading and yet there was a lack of low cost, reliable computers for people in need. Someone receiving  benefits, whose washing machine packs up, will be pointed to a company such as Refurbiz in Devizes, who offer refurbished white goods at low cost; there wasn't an equivalent for computers. That’s when Green Machine Computers was born.
Simon offers a free collection service for waste computer and electronic equipment. The company then uses what it can to refurbish/rebuild a new machine (a huge environmental benefit), whilst recycling other components. The computer will then be offered to families on benefits/ low income, students or anyone who is in need of a low cost computer solution.  This offer is a complete system for £100, delivered and installed in their home. In addition, for each machine put back in the market place, a donation is given to charities in the local area, for example Afrikaya (Devizes) and  Helen and Douglas House.  Recently, Simon also made a donation of a laptop and  mobile phones to a charity that was taking them to Gambia.
If you cannot wait until the market, you can contact Green Machine on 01488 670350 or email: info at green-machine.org  Simon will also take printer toners and mobile phones for recycling. Click here for Green Machine's website


Published by Shirley Pryor on 06 May 2012

Why Compost?
Making your own compost ticks many of the Reduce, Re-use, Recycle boxes:
Reduce the need to buy compost, which will...
Reduce the use of plastic compost bags. These are made from oil, a non-renewable resource, and many are made from non-recyclable plastic, which ends up in landfill
Reduce the use of peat, another declining resource, and prevent damage to rare habitats
Reduce waste going to landfill, which in turn will...
Reduce the amount of methane produced from organic materials decomposing without access to air and water. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climatGreen Johanna compostere change. (Composting does produce carbon dioxide, but this is far less potent)
Reduce number of bin liners as less waste is going in dustbin
Reduce cost, as once the container is made or bought, composting is free
Reduce the use of fertilisers, many of which are oil based
Reduce water loss from soil by mulching plants with compost
Re-use old pallets by making a compost container with them
Re-use old carpet as a cover for compost container or to wrap round and keep it warm in winter
Recycle fruit and veg peelings, shredded paper and cardboard, grass cuttings, annual weeds, tea leaves and coffee grounds, sawdust, nettles and so much more...
There are several good books on the subject. I like Green Guides "Compost" by Rachelle Strauss, available from Marlborough library. If you prefer to talk to someone, you can contact the Wiltshire Wildlife trust's Compost Ambassador for Marlborough at: compost at transitionmarlborough.org

Published by Shirley Pryor on 14 April 2012

Lambent Productions have been commissioned by BBC4 to make a television documentary series about the history of waste management in Britain. You may have seen the BBC4 series 'The Secret Life of the National Grid', and before that, 'The Secret Life of the Motorway'. Now, 'The Secret Life of Rubbish' (w/t) will be somewhat in the same vein. A look at the history of an important, but often over-looked, part of Britain's infrastructure - the waste management system. Our historical series begins at the end of the Second World War, and ends at the end of the twentieth century. From the days of make-do-and-mend to the throwaway society.

We are seeking the witnesses who might provide vivid testimony in our television documentary. Any initial contact would be an informal chat on the phone and would involve no commitment to appear in the programme. However we are looking for people who are happy to tell their stories in front of the camera. Moreover, I am looking for film archive of significant turning points in new technology and new practice in either collection or disposal. I am also interested in waste composition analysis studies from the 60's onwards which tell us useful information about our changing waste streams to landfill, incineration and recycling. 


This television series is commissioned (ie paid for and shown on) BBC4 and is being made through a production company called Lambent Productions (www.lambentproductions.co.uk). My contact details at Lambent are below.


Finally, if you know elderly members of the community who remember salvage, make do and mend, and the difference the Clean Air Act made to burning one's own rubbish at home in the 50's please let me know.


I look forward to your response and thank you for your time.


Josh Beattie

Assistant Producer

Secret Life of Rubbish - BBC4


T. 01273 648380


Email: josh at lambentproductions.co.uk

Published by NickSted on 01 April 2012

The Art of Compost

Here is a useful chart from the Green Johanna handbook ( www.greenjohanna.se ).  This is a composting bin which you can buy at a subsidised price courtesy Wiltshire Council.

Micro-organisms, which break down the waste, themselves need a balanced diet of one part carbon rich material to two parts nitrogen rich material.  You will need to layer your compost to give the little chaps a chance to breed and munch up your waste:


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