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Sunday 22 April 2012

Visitors to the islands....

I'm a bit behind on "blogging"! So this is about a visit to the island over a week ago by Orkney Zero Waste, a  local community run recycling/re-use organisation. Several folk  from "OZ" came out to give advice on recycling/resuse, home composting, how to reduce waste with food and other handy tips. They've been going round the community with their "roadshow" and had been keen to come out to Graemsay. I help out a bit as a volunteer, updating their website and facebook page. I was keen to get OZ out here as we have nothing in the way of formal recycling provided by the local authority on the island and I know folk are interested.

So the day started with a craft session that ended up lasting most of the day and included all the "kids" on the island, young and old!

Firstly there was the chance to make wee "chooks" from recycled fabric. Young Becky above is being creative and making a shark! There were bits of sewing or ready made chooks waiting to be stuffed with "chicken guts" (recycled fabric, wool etc), either way I announced I don't *do* craft and so had someone make one for me ;-)  As you can see above, she sits proudly on my dresser.

There were spinning tops to be decorated (made out of old CDs, bottle tops and marbles - remember marbles!).

There was also an activity for the boys or those not interested in sewing - a rocket made out of recycled "stuff".  It was a huge success and despite the heavy showers, kids young and old were having a go to see who could get the highest "rocket" launched.  It was a close thing between the boys and the girls - if you discount the cheating on the boys side! Boys will be boys....sigh.....

The "before" (with lovely Fay, the OZ "SteptOZe Yard" manager) and - er - no we aren't recycling children (pram behind Fay), but Sarah, also of OZ, was out with her wee baby Callum to help out.

And after construction - young James leading the way....... (Photo  taken by Irene of Breckan)

And then the rest of the boys joined in!

J & B wanted to make some modifications as they thought they could improve on the Mark I rocket....

Meanwhile between showers folk from the island dropped in and had chance for a blether (chat) over a cup of soup, tea, or coffee, with some sandwiches and home bakes available too. I used them all as guinea-pigs  for my home baked biscuits (cookies). Everyone survived!  Though the kids were a bit "high" with all the sugar and excitement - but fortunately they all went home with their parents and weren't my problem - tee hee!

So, although it was a serious topic of recycling - we all had great fun!  We have no formal recycling facilities on the island as the local authority feel unable to provide us with anything because we only have a "lift-on/lift-off" ferry. That's a shame as many folk are genuinely interested. However Orkney Zero Waste gave us some ideas and also routes to recycle mobile phones and printer cartridges. And importantly helped introduce the kids to a bit of recycling. Every little helps!


  1. That all looks like great fun. You can make lots of things out off other peoples rubbish, even if your craft skills are limited.

  2. What a good idea for a community day, Sian, and it obviously worked. Shame about your lack of the recycling facilities which the rest of us take for granted. Perhaps it may lead to a bit more "make do and mend", as my parents would have called it.

  3. Very good idea , future generations should face waste problems and this is a clever way to get them involved ! :)
    It seems to have been a very good day for everyone !

  4. How wonderful to have a fun day while learning excellent reusing and recycling skills. How high did the rockets reach?

    1. Um.... well a few metres high - depending on who was in charge and the "cheating" that went on ;-)

  5. It begs the question: Do you have a garbage dump on your lovely small island ?

    1. We have large bins (the type you see outside restaurants) and our rubbish is collected weekly by the local authority who employ someone on the island to do that. They then take one of the bins off full and return it empty. But there is no sorting of the rubbish, it all goes in one bin. Though apparently a lot of our rubbish is shipped up to Shetland to fuel a giant community heating plant there. So it's sort of recycled. just not very "green" given the miles!