Tune into Churnet Radio today (Thursday 16th December 2021) to hear the wonderful Sally Perry talk about all things Refill, Plastic Free Communities, and tips for a sustainable Christmas!!
12:30 midday! Give Sally some support 👏 Churnet Sound
Feeling inspired to join the Refill Revolution and support the Staffordshire Moorlands to become Plastic Free? Join the growing community of keen zero-waste beans Plastic Free Staffordshire Moorlands

Plastic free Leek

Please help if you can!!

   A message from Sally Perry, our Sustainable Consumer coordinator.

We would love Leek to become a Plastic Free Community and we have made a start but to get things done we need YOU!!

To achieve Plastic Free status we need to do several things.

• Set up a Steering Group to move it forward
• Ask the Town Council to pass a motion supporting it.
• Hold at least two events, promoting it.
• Sign up 12 local businesses to become Plastic Free Champions. (They make three swaps, removing plastic items in their business and replacing them with alternatives.)
• Sign up 30 Plastic Free Allies (local schools, organisations, societies, clubs, etc.)  They make a pledge to reduce their plastic use.

At the moment we have a Steering Group of one – me!   We only need 5 people including someone from the Town Council.
I really can’t do it on my own. It would only involve two or three meetings a year and visiting / making contacts with local businesses and organisations to sign them up.

If you would like to help, PLEASE let me know. Also, if you work in a local business or are involved in any clubs or organisations, please get in touch and we can sign your group up and help you reduce your plastic use.

Thanks in anticipation,


refill sticker logoWE NEED YOUR HELP
Reduce, reuse, refill, repeat!
The Refill scheme is gradually growing in Leek with more premises being signed up to it. This is very pleasing as the need to reduce single use plastics and other packaging is very important for our environment. The scheme helps get the message out there that we should be reusing what we have rather than getting a new bottle, package, box, cup, etc. each time we buy takeaway food or drink.

We are also at the very beginning of becoming a Plastic Free Community which means that we want to encourage businesses and the public to move away from single use plastics as much as they can. Both of these initiatives require volunteers to help them become successful.

At the moment we only have three people who are helping with the Refill Scheme, and one person has signed up most of the premises. We need a larger group who can help with visiting shops, cafes, pubs, etc. and ask if they would like to be signed up. Not just in Leek, but across the Moorlands. It is very easy and training and materials are provided. So far, we have found all the premises we visited very welcoming and happy to be part of the Scheme.

Plastic Free Communities need a group of people to be on a steering group. It would only meet two or three times a year so it isn’t a huge commitment in that respect but would be very important in driving things forward. The group would talk to local businesses to see if they could reduce their single use plastic, ask Town Councils to support us and organize events in the community.

If you feel you are able to help with either (or both) of these projects, please get in touch. We really need your help.
Email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More information on both schemes can be found at https://www.refill.org.uk/ and https://plasticfree.org.uk/

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you

Sally Perry

Sallys bottles picThe marmite of the plastic world! Some people love them and others don’t; not quite understanding what the point is of stuffing an empty plastic bottle with more plastic  I have been making ecobricks for a few years now. I can’t say I love them though. To make them properly is bloomin’ hard work and very time consuming. But that’s how it should be.

However, it is a very powerful way to take responsibility for your own plastic. It opens your eyes to just how much you use and certainly made me vow to use less. You never buy plastic bottles to use either. That defeats the object. Either beg them from friends and neighbours or, like me, litter pick them.

An ecobrick is a plastic bottle, with a screw top, which is stuffed very tightly with other single use plastics. From biscuit wrappers to cut up blisterpacks. It is all chopped up very small and stuffed into the bottle. It has to be a certain density and when it is complete you can log it on gobrik.com where it is given a number and checked to make sure it has been made properly. This is a kind of quality control so that bricks can be used safely for different projects. As you log, it tells you how much plastic you have kept out of the world!

The idea behind ecobricks is that the world has far too much plastic in it. Most of it single use. Ecobricks are a way of dealing with this problem. They were first thought of in the Philipines where there is a huge plastic pollution problem. It is a way to reuse something that will last for hundreds of years. To use the plastic for something useful and long lasting. The ecobrick website (ecobricks.org) talks of not greying the planet, as we are doing now, but greening it by removing plastic from the environment and using it for something useful and long lasting.

Furniture ecobrix‘Bricks’ can be used to build many things. They can be joined together into modules to make stools, footrests or side tables. People often make covers to go over them.

If they are used outside they can be made into seating, raised beds, walls and shelters. The list is endless. If used outside they need to be covered in cob to protect them from the light.

Some of the ‘bricks’ I have made have been sent to projects round the country but ideally they should be used locally.  At last it looks like we have a local project.
In March 2019, just before the first lockdown, I attended a ecobrick workshop at the Friends Meeting House in Leek. (The Ecobrick organisation organises lots of courses.)  I loved it. I had already been making bricks for a while but found the course very useful and it is always good to be with like minded people. We decided that it would be great to have a local project. Then someone suggested a planter in the Meeting House garden. That’s as far as we got, since Covid struck then.

Now that we are opening up, we are beginning to discuss it again. The idea is to meet regularly, plan the project, make ‘bricks’ and use them to build a planter, which will then be covered in cob.

So, if you are interested in becoming involved with the project and helping to remove plastic from the environment please get in touch with us -

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I’ll let you know how we get on.

Sally Perry

Coordinator Sustainable Consumer Group.




Food waste appIn the UK food waste is a huge problem, but it doesn’t have to be.  If you only buy what you need and eat up / freeze leftovers you shouldn’t have a problem. A lot of waste is caused by supermarkets, however, if unsold produce gets thrown away.

In this age of technology, there are Apps which can help with this enormous problem. I have looked at a few. Some are very straightforward and others seem too complicated to bother with as they need updating with what’s in your fridge and whether you’ve eaten it or not!!  Also, some of these apps depend on you buying everything from a supermarket where it can be scanned, so if you buy from local shops such as greengrocers they don’t work properly.

Some also depend on lots of people in your local area using them too.  There may be a case for identifying the most promising and promoting them, so that they do become efficient.  Read on for details of seven of them and see what you think.

Borough market 2In the UK we throw away 10.2 million tonnes of food waste each year, thus creating more than 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to that of 3.5 million cars. This results in huge environmental consequences. 108 kg of the food we buy per person each year, is wasted at home and gets thrown away. The Grocer magazine highlights the problem of Supermarket food waste and urges supermarkets to help solve the problem, explaining how vast amounts of edible food “from the UK’s retail and food manufacturing sector is wasted – equivalent to 250 million meals going uneaten”.

Supermarket demands for visual perfection, plus sales of multi packs and free offers, contribute hugely to our food waste and landfill, with rejected ‘imperfect’ produce left at the farm.