Making St Albans a better place to live during Sustainability Week

Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall - Credit: Archant

Becky Alexander looks at this year’s Sustainable St Albans Week

We live in a beautiful part of the country, and have been named one of the best places to live for our schools, parks and access to London. But we are not a very “green” city, compared to Brighton, Bristol and Bath. There is plenty we can do as individuals, families and businesses, without a great deal of effort.

One very hard-working group of people, Sustainable St Albans, is doing a lot of the work for us, and have put together a great program of events to give us all ideas and new options.

Look out for the brochure around the city which lists the events taking part during Sustainable Week November 19-26. I am going to take you through some of the foodie highlights. Being more green might seem a lot of effort, but what seems like hassle now will hopefully be the new normal in the next year or two. One of my bugbears is the amount of disposable coffee cups we get through as a city. Most are not being recycled, because we are putting them in bins or they are coated with plastic inside making them useless to paper recycling. Can coffee shops do something about this? Discount if we use a recyclable cup? More on this soon...

Did you know that UK households waste more food each week than supermarkets? This seems impossible – why are we throwing away so much food? It is the reason why our local council is giving us those small bins as bread, peels, fruit, salads etc have gone in landfill for years. This is now improving but still people throw food in the main bins.

Looking at our local waste figures (this is a thing!) in St Albans we throw away bread still in packets, bags of salad, half-eaten pots of fridge things every week. Why not take part in the Food Waste Week and keep a note on your phone of what your household throws away. Go to to keep a log and you can enter the draw to win dinner at Lussmann’s. My family is taking part and I can see already where we are being wasteful (rejected veggies, unpopular yoghurts etc). I’ll tell you how we get on in my next column.

Some of the foodie events include a workshop on Using your Leftovers. Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall has done some fab programmes on this and there are some good books out there. One workshop takes place on Sunday (20) at The Green Kitchen. The Cobbled Kitchen is also hosting a class on Friday November 25

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Aylett Nurseries and Trestle Theatre are giving away coffee grounds for use in your garden (I am sure lots of us can do this from home too). Lovely Camphill Trust coffee shop on Catherine Street is doing a Sustainable Lunch all week, so if you are in town why not head here? The Green Kitchen Cafe near Oaklands College is focusing on vegan food, so pop in for leaflets, ideas and a chat.

The Beer Shop on London Road (finalists in this year’s Food & Drink Awards) are offering a discount on all reusable bags and flagons – you then fill them up with beer to take home. Just along the road, Charlie’s Coffee & Company are offering a discount on funky reusable coffee cups if you take in the Sustainable Week program. You can then use this each morning at the station on your way to London and feel very eco.

Cook in Harpenden is offering a discount on all vegetarian food during the week if you take in the program. They are also challenging you to go meat-free for the week.

On Saturday (19) there will be a stall on the Charter market explaining how you can sign up for an allotment, which would be an amazing project for next year. On Sunday (20) pop in to the Quaker Meeting House on Upper Lattimore Road where they are selling home-made produce.

I don’t have space to mention every event so do pick up a brochure. I think you will be surprised at how much is going on, and how small changes can help make a difference to our city.