A Great Community Initiative!

A local community and Parish Council working together to bring change…

A Hampshire village has launched a scheme to replace all disposable cups in their village with a reusable mug that will be free for users with a simple £1 deposit.

The Overton cup will be available in all the shops and cafes along Overton’s high street, including the greengrocer, “who does a lovely soup from his leftover vegetables”, according to Alison Zarecky, chair of Sustainable Overton. Customers pay their deposit (plus another £1 if they want a lid, which are non-returnable) and then return the cup once it’s been used to any deposit point in the village.

As of last year, the UK was using about 2.5bn disposable cups a year, with a 2017 government report concluding that only one in 400 was being recycled. Reusable coffee cups were becoming more common, but with the risk unclear during the pandemic, many coffee outlets stopped accepting them. However, many health experts now believe that reusables are low risk.

Overton cups are shown off outside the local greengrocer
Overton cups are shown off outside the local greengrocer. Photograph: Supplied

But the Overton cup is just one of a number of initiatives being put into practice in the village. “The parish council declared a climate emergency in 2019,” said Zarecky. “And then we called for volunteers, and set up Sustainable Overton, and so many people came forward. It was really quite wonderful.”

They began thinking about what they could do, and established links with other groups around the country. They have set up a nappy library, thanks to a grant from Hampshire county council, and are establishing a community energy project. They also have a plastics team, and have trained up “energy champions” to help people to green their homes, including a thermal camera hire service so users can work out where their house is leaking energy.

“We’ve learned a lot from what other places have done,” says Zarecky. The cup scheme was inspired by a similar idea in Shrewsbury a couple of years ago, while Ashton Hayes in Cheshire, which has been working on a carbon neutral community since 2006, was “inspirational”.

But there were also questions that they could not immediately find answers to, and so they have produced toolkits for setting up a climate group. “It’s been a massive learning curve.”

The next step? To encourage more villages and towns to set up their own community energy groups. “In Hampshire we only generate about 1.8% of our own energy,” says Zarecky. “There’s a lot of roof space here.”

Even though they were unable to meet in person during the pandemic, more people have volunteered for the group in the last year than ever. “I think we know this is important and we want to do something meaningful about it.”

Article courtesy of The Guardian

UN World Environment Day 5th June 2021

For details go to –

World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and
action to protect our environment, this year the title is Ecosystem Restoration and will see
the launch of the UN’s Decade of Restoration.

An Ecosystem is a natural environment which includes plants, animals etc. that live and
interact within that environment. An ecosystem can be a single pond, river, forest, desert or
the ocean, they range in size vastly and most have been impacted by human activities in
recent years. Ecosystem Restoration assists the recovery of ecosystems that have been
degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving those that are still intact. Healthier
ecosystems, with richer biodiversity, yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger
yields of timber and fish, and larger stores of greenhouse gases etc. 

Causes of Ecosystem Decline
There are many causes for ecosystem degradation/damage. For instance, harmful policies
such as subsidies for intensive farming or weak tenure laws that encourage deforestation.
Lakes and coastlines can become polluted because of poor waste management or an
industrial accident. Commercial pressures can leave towns and cities with too much asphalt
and less green spaces.

Benefits of Ecosystem Restoration:
Between now and 2030, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial
and aquatic ecosystems could generate $9 trillion USD in ecosystem services.

Restoration could remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the
atmosphere.Improved quality of life for a vast majority of the planet.

Potential Slowing down of climate change effects

The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment,
whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.

For further information follow the links below or contact your Environment Managers:

Autumn PACE pull out

Here’s a link to the first PACE pull out, which was included with our Autumn Parish Council newsletter. This contains information and tips relating to the Climate Emergency we face. Please read, share, act.

Click the image below to view!

Defining our pledges

Our second meeting, held on the 23rd of August, focused on defining our pledges and areas of action as a group. We are also working to assign group members to each of these areas.

The list of focus areas is as follows:

  • Tree planting / Pollinator sites / Re-wilding
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Planning
  • Encouraging move away from fossil fuels

We have also set about announcing our presence with a view to forging links with similar groups and bringing about the change we want to see.

We will publish further details as the above list develops into something more fully formed.

Setting things up

Following our declaration of a Climate Emergency in our Parish Council meeting in June, we have formed a sub-group to focus on this issue.

We have since had our first meeting and have another in the planning for September.

Please contact us if you would like any further information or to offer your support.

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