Springhead Sustainability Fair Demonstrates A Use For Waste Plastics

More creative and sustainable living fairs will be held at Springhead following the success of the inaugural event on Bank Holiday Monday.

350 people travelled to the Fontmell Magna-based rural centre for talks and workshops on creative recycling or to buy environmentally friendly products.

Springhead Trust Executive Director Edward Parker is pleased by the turnout. “This has really engaged with the local, younger people and we’ve been absolutely delighted with the response,” said Edward. “Focusing on the environmental issues has really brought people out.”

Edward Parker

Shaftesbury businesses ‘Decor by Georgie’ and ‘Pretty Things Preloved’ arranged the fair in partnership with Springhead. The range of retail stalls included zero waste products, natural soaps and plant-based baked goods. Local wood crafts, jewellery-making and artists were also represented.

Edward says that the growing interest in sustainable shopping helped to drive the crowds. “It’s become much more mainstream and it’s been brilliant that people have picked up the idea of single use plastics and more sustainable living. With all the interest in climate change, it has fitted into what we’ve been doing gradually and slowly over many years,” Edward said.

Georgie Faulkner Bryant (right) from Decor by Georgie and Lucy Fish from Pretty Things Preloved

Springhead has been at the forefront of the environmental movement for decades, as Edward explained. “The Springhead Trust was set up in 1973 by a person who was a very far thinker in terms of environmental issues. The Soil Association, the organic movement, was born here at Springhead and we had philosophical thinkers here in the 1950s and 1960s, discussing environmental issues. They were talking about green miles in the 1960s.”

Edward has been personally involved in environmental campaigning since the1980s, when the issues were not so-widely understood and accepted. “It wasn’t mainstream, and you were considered to be almost anti-society when you were worried about deforestation. I think it’s great that people in a wider context are thinking about how their lives affect the world, in a broader sense,” he said.

Hannah Christopher from Shaftesbury-based beauty product company ‘Handmade Luxury Creations’ was one of the event speakers. She explained how she was putting her waste plastics to good use by making eco bricks. “You get an empty plastic bottle and fill it up with any plastics that can’t be recycled. And the company Eco Brick use those to create park furniture and planters in communities,” Hannah said.

Hannah Christopher

“The purpose of the Eco Brick, the filled plastic bottle, is to replace a cement brick. It’s used in the same way. They are put together with cement or with silicon. It is literally replacing a red brick, cinder block or a cement block with a plastic bottle to ensure that plastic doesn’t end up in the ocean or in landfill,” said Hannah. “It could be very colourful. It would be quite great to see people just fill one up with red plastics and yellow plastics and to have an assortment.”

Hannah explained how she approached her eco-bricking. “When you finish with the bottle, for example a Coke bottle, rinse it, let it dry and then fill that with your clean, unwanted plastics. Once the brick is full, you can go online, on to Eco Brick and find shops that take them. My company is registered as a drop off point for Eco Bricks. Every three months I drop off Eco Bricks to any projects that are going on.”

Jasmin Miles

Hannah has become more aware of how much plastic she has been using. “I managed to get a bin liners worth of plastic into one 2 litre bottle. It was quite astounding. It does make you really consider your personal plastic use. I just save up my plastics throughout the week in a bag and then, as I’m putting it in the bottle, I consider ‘could I have purchased it without plastic? If so, where can I get it from?’ It makes you more aware of what you’re buying and does reduce your plastic consumption,” said Hannah.

Lucy Barfoot

Hannah embarked on her plastic free journey when she realised how much plastic is used in the bathroom. “The bathroom contains so much throw-away plastic. There are shampoo bottles, shower gel bottles, toothpaste tubes and your toothbrushes. If you have just a regular toothbrush you’re getting rid of that every 12 weeks. That is four toothbrushes per person each year. Times that by your lifetime and our family of five could probably fill up our house in toothbrushes. They will go to landfill and stay on the planet forever. I started by creating some soap bars and shower gel bars and it snowballed from there really,” she said.

Like Edward and the event organisers, Hannah says she was encouraged by the huge support for the sustainability fair and she hopes to book her space for the next one when that is announced. “It’s been fabulous. It’s really heart-warming to see so many people support sustainability and becoming a more eco environment.”