Refill scheme in Hastings

Along with Surfs Against Sewage we’re establishing a Refill scheme in the Hastings area. We’re asking venues, cafes, bars, restaurants etc if they will agree to refill water bottles for free in an aim to reduce the amount of single use plastic being used.

The Refill Scheme is taking the country by storm! Refill recently won Gold at the Global Good Awards for ‘Best Environmental Behaviour Change’. There are now over 1600 Refill stations across the country and that number is set to rise steeply as London joins the movement with the support of Thames Water and London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Refill now have a new promotional video which had 150,000 views on Facebook in its first few days.

Refill Hastings now has 23 stations signed up and we will continue to sign up more. We are now receiving support from a newly appointed regional coordinator who is helping us with the formalities and a promotional plan.

We’ve just set up a Refill Hastings Facebook Page  so do give us a like!
Don’t forget to download the Refill App to find all refill stations or to add one yourself! If you want to sign a venue up to the scheme do let us know and we’ll give you a sticker for the window and the necessary info.

Recycle Food Waste Petition to HBC


Food waste:
– smells, attracts vermin and seagulls, and contributes to CO2 emissions in landfill sites.
– could be turned into valuable compost.

Hastings Old Town residents said in recent surveys that not knowing what to do with food waste was one of their main local concerns.

Lewes District Council will save 4000 tonnes of CO2 over 5 years by recycling food waste. They will also produce soil conditioner from the waste that can be sold to bring money back into the community.

We call on our Council to provide regular food waste collection services for Hastings residents. This will reduce the problems of bins attracting seagulls, reduce CO2, and encourage people to reduce their own food waste.

Sign the Petition to Hastings Borough Council now

Image © Beccy McCray

Our visit to Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility

A truly fascinating and educational morning was spent by 14 Transition Town Hastings folk at the Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton last week.

We found out they don’t actually recycle Hastings and Rother recycling waste – it goes to Crayford in Kent!

Before the sorting begins

We did get to see how they process all of Brighton’s recycling, as well as fly tipping and commercial waste and learn about what they do and don’t recycle.

They employ  a team of people to sort waste as well as relying on machinery to filter out paper, steel and aluminium. Machines suck up paper and steel cans get pulled away by magnets. They mostly sell on paper, steel and aluminium made into large bails and sometimes shipped to China!

Seems we need more industries in the UK prepared to buy recycled materials to manufacture products. At present, more than 50% of materials recycled in the UK are exported and often manufactured into down-graded products – instead of becoming raw materials for UK industry.

According to our guide at Hollingdean many food companies are reluctant to use recycled plastics because of fears that people will not buy their products (like plastic milk bottles that look slightly grey).

Non recyclables collected at Hollingdean end up in the Newhaven Incinerator down the road where energy is generated and fed into the National Grid.

Also at Hollingdean and other Veolia sites they are working with a new (and secret) technology to recycle coffee cups.

We think every school pupil in the country should visit these sites to find out what really happens to our waste.

Takeaway Food Packaging Campaign

We are currently in the planning stages of developing a campaign to support and encourage local takeaway food outlets to make the transition to sustainable packaging.

Too many times have we walked along the seafront and seen those dreaded polystyrene food containers blowing their way along the beach, or we go into a new and recommended cafe, only to be disappointed when they serve up your takeaway in a polystyrene box.

From speaking to businesses who’ve already made the transition, it was relatively easy and cost effective. Let’s make Hastings stand out as a green flagship town!

If you’d like to be involved please get in touch by email.

New local community swap shop of art, goods & services

We’ve recently discovered a new place on Kings Road, St Leonards. Bargain are running a community swap shop of art, goods & services at Bargain, until late September (potentially longer).
Open Saturdays 10am–5pm + by appointment
More info:
Current offers:
Could be a way to find a new home for unwanted items/materials but you can exchange pretty much anything – services & skills included.
Happy swapping!

Household sustainability talk

It’s quite hard to get your head around which of our actions create the largest CO2 emissions. Also how much do we need to reduce to keep temperatures from rising by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels?

Ian Smith’s talk on Household Sustainability at Nico’s Kitchen last Saturday provided some answers. Many thanks to Nico’s Kitchen for hosting.

The talk, which you can download below, encouraged us all to consider our personal contribution to global carbon emissions.

Did you know that travelling on a cruise creates more CO2 than flying in a plane?*

Also, turning your thermostat down by 1°C could save 8-10% on your heating consumption?*

However, we all need to make big changes to our lifestyles to reach the ideal target of 2 tonnes of CO2 a year!

Download Household sustainability presentation file.

*Statistics above and in the presentation come from Carbon Conversations.

We’d really like to hold some Carbon Conversations for local residents. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.

Waste Meeting Minutes 24/9/15

As many more new people attended we introduced ourselves and what our interests are:

SM- Too much packaging on food! Discussed the over use of plastic bags and so HEN campaign was mentioned. Hastings Environmental Network wants to start a Takeaway Packaging Campaign.  Also, legislation will be passed on Oct 5th to have supermarkets charge for plastic bags. Food compost-where to put it? (Presently keeps it in freezer and a friend takes it away in bulk!) Would like to lobby HBC for food waste collection.

GH- Interested in everything TT/waste. Part of the problem is we’ve been brought up thinking a throw- away society was good, it created jobs etc.

FL- Just moved here as a HBC (Hastings By Choice), used to live in Germany where they had 9 bins outside for various recycling bits! Then lived in Manchester centre where there was no recycling at all…Interested in food waste collection too and in the sense of utilising left over but perfectly good food. Would like to form a partnership with COOP maybe, to use their food waste? (Rose Ratcliffe?)

KD- As an architect, interest in energy waste in buildings. Would be up for giving energy saving advice on old buildings.

David Almer- Interested in solar panels and other forms of renewable energy.

Tom- aerobic digester, small ones cost approx. £5,000, the problem is where to put them? Discussed how Government subsidies for renewables are being cut by about 90%. This will effect people’s investment in it in terms of buying into renewable energy and will impact the industry as many envisage their businesses ‘going under’.

AC- Heard on radio was saying Gov. subsidies too expensive as renewables have been so popular and proving efficient so too many people want the subsidies. (Wasn’t that the point!!).

William- Impressed by the book Waste by Tristram Stuart, William knows him and I thought we should connect him and Chris Coverdale together? Discussed how people are using old cooking oil to re-use and generate energy. Some guy from Rye is selling oil to takeaways, paying them back a bit to take away the used oil and then selling it on again as bio-deisel!!!

KD- talked about how to get oil tanks around Hastings for people to put their used cooking oil in, but it wouldn’t be enough for just residents it would need to be on a larger scale or not viable. And how would you police it? Someone will chuck something else in it. Talked about asking Southern Water to donate as they have problems with people putting oil down the sink-but it has to benefit people’s pockets for them to bother doing it?

Discussed Food compost campaign and talking to HBC
Discussed No Plastic Bags Campaign/helping HEN with theirs?
Discussed using food waste from supermarkets

Waste Group Meeting Minutes – 27th Aug 2015

What are our interests?

Chris C- brought along some info on his take on waste which is very much about delving into the systemic issues around why and how we create so much waste and how we can change our processes in the first place to prevent waste. Life Cycle Analysis (L.C.A.); How do we alter the system process? Barr has stopped doing bottle returns (why?); Put pressure on businesses to use re-usable/refillable containers; Proposal: set up working group to propose laws to bring in re-useable packaging; Green Growth.
ACTION-Wants to research this more and create TT think-tank to lobby HBC, laws, policies etc.

Chris P- Composting (kitchen waste); Rubbish as a metaphor for the way we treat our environment in general; Mindfulness towards refuse and how we can help support this in wider community; HBC inaction on stated policy (pressure required). ACTION- Research packaging-free shops. Share shop (Frome) -research. The People’s Supermarket – check it out and share with others.

Tom R- Companies reducing their waste by doing things more online ie banks sending multiple statements. Was working with Richard Watson on getting funding for an Anaerobic digester (turns compost into methane gas)in Hastings area, many complications and needs £50-70,000 to set up. ACTION- Research community composting clubs

Alison- Community composting, getting HBC to let people use spaces in parks to grow food, saving them money, businesses could maintain ‘plot’ too and put ad up to explain. HEN (Hastings Environmental Network) is initiating a waste campaign focusing on Takeaway packaging. I think it would be good to ask to meet HBC to discuss how we can work together on waste issues, get community involved and save them money ie. growing food anywhere we can, letting people use spaces in parks to save HBC money, community compost bins, Share Shop (Sue Dawson/McManus?)- having a shop to share and borrow tools etc (with no rates or rent from HBC), etc more ideas please! ACTION-to research what Germany are doing. Contact Adam Clamp re packaging campaign- how can we help?

Ended with a sense that we wanted this to be quite a politically pushing group?
Next Meeting- Thursday 24th Sept 6.30-7.30pm at WRH

Visit to Brighton Real Junk Food Project


Several members made a visit to the Brighton Real Junk Food Project with Hastings Matters. They intercept edible food and serve it on a pay as you feel basis. Find them Wednesdays at the Churchill Square market and Fridays at the One Church.

The visitors were really impressed with the organisation and are considering doing something similar in Hastings.

Here are some observations by Carol Ridge.

Set up

  • Community Interest Company with six directors.
  • Ten chefs who include people who prep.and cook. Three to four people hold Food hygiene certificates.
  • Individuals are responsible for various tasks. Book keeping, Food collection etc


This group is from the community and includes anyone with a day to spare. It may also include people with mild learning difficulties. Volunteers are introduced a few at a time.

Food collection

Food is collected from supermarkets and shops/markets. Lidl supply a large proportion.


One Church in Gloucester place Brighton. Fully equipped kitchen with large ovens, work surfaces and dish washer. Crockery and utensils are provided by the church. Three shelves are allocated to the project in the pantry for “Dry stores”.

Diners pay as they wish but we saw many that did not pay at all. Biodegradable take away containers are provides for those who wish to take food home with them. There is also a small area where people may help themselves to items such as boxes of cereals, fresh fruit and snacks. It depends what is available each week. Any number from one to three hundred people are fed.

Diners from all sections of the community

The day we visited diners included the young and the elderly but on this visit there were more young people. The unemployed and the employed, the poor, the disabled, students, single mothers and their children and whole families. Even a group of international young people who were part of the “Couch surfing “organisation.

The atmosphere is so upbeat and positive.

Any unusable food waste is sent to SILO. This is a restaurant that has a super compost machine.


You can visit their website at

Vision Day at the White Rock Hotel.

On Saturday 18th April 2015 we had our visions event at the White Rock Hotel, a fantastic afternoon when more than eighty people came together to contribute ideas for a more sustainable town. Here is a taster of some of the ideas discussed, including a few quirky ones:

Food growing

  • Community Gardens
  • Edible bus stops / guerilla gardening
  • Garden matching schemes


  • Car free days on the seafront
  • Travel passes for integrated transport system (including new funiculars to the West/East Hills)


  • Local currency
  • Skill share/swap


  • 100% renewable energy owned by Hastings Community
  • Bio-digesters to generate energy from local garden waste


  • Rent reform / Land tax control
  • CPO / planning reform
  • Eco-housing including Eco Open Houses


  • Community composting
  • Packaging-free shops
  • Acknowledge the value in waste and use it.

Also, the presentations about Transition Town Lewes, Community Fruit and Veg Project, Trinity Wholefoods Coop, Energise Sussex Coast and a short film of a TED talk emphasised the power of community.

As such, it feels important to consider the following in the future work of Transition Town Hastings:

  • work with existing community groups
  • bring people together to create a friendlier and safer environment
  • bridging age gaps through common activities
  • developing Transition Streets
  • encouraging broader engagement

We were excited to discover lots of people at the event had valuable skills to offer and we hope to see these in action soon.

On Monday 25th May at 7pm there will be a core group Transition Town Hastings meeting in the Notley Room at the White Rock Hotel.

This meeting is for those wishing to be involved in deciding the next steps. We will be looking at how we form and facilitate working groups, develop projects and raise funds. (Photos © John Cole).