Green Coffee                     Feb 2014
The next Green Coffee is on Tues March 4th, 9.30-11am at the Gooseberry Bush, 115 Kingston Rd   SW19 1LT. You are very welcome to come along to this. If not, the one after is planned for Tues 1st April - so please put those in your diary. 
At Feb Green Coffee, we heard from Jane about exciting new plans from the council to increase recycling from flats and houses across Merton and from Georgina about a new radio station Wandsworth Radio with a programme focussing on sustainable living - Green Wandsworth. Since Green Coffee, we received the details of the fabulous Collywood Arts Festival 2014 - see HERE and start booking your tickets!
** Please don't forget to collect your empty coffee bags and coffee sticks, and bring them along to Green Coffee or deposit them at the Polka Theatre.
Latest News
Merton's overview and scrutiny panel looks at issues and problem service areas, and tries to get action. They are currently asking for ideas about what they should be reviewing next.  See HERE  Send in any ideas by 31st March.

What's On?

25.2  8pm
FILM: Dash for Gas
Kingston Env Centre

1.3 - 18.5
Collywood Festival

3.3 - 9.3
Climate Week

5.3  2-4pm
Make a Shopping Bag

St Mark's Church SW19

18.3  7.15pm
Community Forum
Drake House SW19 4ED

Big Dig


Find past issues of Green Coffee Update HERE

Feb Green Coffee   - what happened?

1. Climate Week; Big Dig & Chelsea Fringe
By registering your project with an event, you get publicity and attract volunteers and other support.
Climate Week is 3rd to 9th March, raising the profile of projects to encourage sustainable living.
Big Dig is on Sat 22nd March, attracts volunteers, providing a kick start to gardening projects at the beginning of the growing season.
Chelsea Fringe is from 17th May to 8th June and highlights interesting gardening projects and ideas e.g. linking gardening with recycling. Inclusion in the Chelsea Fringe brings along visitors and inspires others. Curt is now a local co-ordinator for The Chelsea Fringe, so please contact him at to find out more about it.
2. Merton's Mega Recycle
Merton is about to launch the Mega Recycle, a new scheme to increase recycling in the borough. Jane Alexander, the council’s Recycling Encouragement Manager, explained how incentives will be used to encourage more recycling, especially in flats.  Every home will receive a leaflet, a sign-up form and a ‘cling-to’ sticker reminding people what can and can’t be recycled. See the leaflet HERE

Residents will be encouraged to sign up online or by filling in the sign-up form. They will then be entered into a prize draw to win a monthly top prize of £250 and 10 runner-up prizes of £100. If selected for a prize, their recycling box will be checked to make sure it has been put out and contains at least 3 types of recyclate.

Flats will receive special bags for storing things to be recycled. A prize of £10,000 will be awarded to the block of flats or estate which increases its recycling by the biggest percentage by weight. 

Primary Schools can be nominated to win a top prize of £5000, as well as runner-up prizes. Participating schools must hold an assembly to highlight recycling, display the Mega Recycle banner and give children a sticker to take home.

Merton is introducing these new measures after winning £655,000 from DCLG’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme – Jane and the council were congratulated for securing this extra funding. The new scheme will be launched on 24th March, accompanied by plenty of publicity, two liveried-up trucks and a recycling song! Look out for more information on the new website which will be coming online soon -

Some more recycling information:
  • A little contamination will not always mean a contaminated load has to be landfilled
  • Bottle tops should be taken to Lush on Wimbledon Bridge or put into the hard plastic bins at Garth Rd 
  • Very wet cardboard or paper is not accepted for recycling
  • Starbucks recycles coffee bags
  • Videos can be given to the Salvation Army in Wandsworth or can be recycled in the hard plastic bins at Garth Rd, but only if the magnetic tape is removed as this gets tangled in equipment
  •  Recyclate should not be contaminated with food, so rinse out tins and plastic containers and compost contaminated cardboard. Food contamination is un-hygienic for the bin-men to handle, attracts vermin and may make the recyclate unusable.
  • Access to Garth Rd without a car – some members were able to get in when on a bike, others were not.
  • Information about reducing and re-using waste should be included in literature about recycling.
  • Merton Council’s annual survey found that residents were as concerned about litter as they were about crime. See the article in WimbledonSW19  HERE
N.B. It was noted in the meeting that video tape can be used as ties in gardens or knitted into rugs. Alice has looked into this and found warnings that this tape is coated with potentially toxic metals including chromium which can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled. So it would be best to avoid using the tape for craft. 

In response to a request from Adam, Jane has been working on a trip to the Materials Recycling Facility in Crayford in Kent. This has proved difficult to organise, but she’ll get back to Green Coffee when progress has been made.

POST MEETING NOTE: If any community groups, church groups or residents’ associations would like a talk on recycling and the Merton Mega Recycle, please get in touch with

3. Greening Business
There is still time for businesses and community groups (including churches) to join the Greening Business programme, but time is running out as it ends in April and there are few places left. Merton Chamber of Commerce is currently seeking funding to extend this programme.
4. Turning T-shirts into mats
Alice turns T-shirts into strips and crochets these into a mat. Find out more by contacting her at
5. Wandsworth Radio
Georgina told us about a new radio station to be launched in early March. This will be a not-for-profit internet based service for listeners in Wandsworth and beyond, and will broadcast music, community information and talk based programmes. Georgina will be hosting the Green Wandsworth programme and is looking for news items and for people wanting to come onto the programme. She would like to focus on positive things people can do to make their lives more sustainable. Get in touch with her at

It was suggested that Georgina contacts John Irwin, a cycling campaigner in Wandsworth and Richard Tracey the London Assembly Member.

Georgina has worked on green issues for 15 years, as an environmental consultant and with WWF, where she advised companies how to improve their environmental credentials. She has worked on many projects including conflict minerals, chemicals in baby bottles, the biofuel-powered Virgin flight, Marks & Spencers' Plan A and Unilever palm oil sourcing. Companies are increasingly recognising that improving their environmental accountability has benefits such as positive PR, saving money, as well as reducing their environmental impact. 

6. Climate Change now in geography ‘A’ level
Following a campaign in which some Green Coffee members took part, the new geography ‘A’ level includes a module on climate change and health. Climate change had been eliminated from the original proposal for geography. Juliet recently gave a presentation on climate change and health to a conference of doctors and this could be altered to use in schools.
7. Big London Energy Switch
Merton residents can see if they can get a better energy deal through the Big London Energy Switch. The deadline for registering is midnight on 17th Feb and the auction is on 18th Feb. Find more info in the leaflet HERE. Or contact Merton’s Climate Change Officer email or phone the Council on 020 8274 4901
8. Election Hustings?
The local council elections and EU elections will be held on Thurs 22nd May. In the run up to these elections, Charles is organising a Q & A session at Merton Seniors Forum. If anyone else is thinking of arranging hustings, then please get in touch with Green Coffee as some GC members may be interested in helping with this. Charles announced that he is planning to stand as a candidate for the Green Party for the local elections.
9. Love Wimbledon stakeholder meeting
This is on Wed 5th Feb and is an opportunity to find out more about what Love Wimbledon is planning this year and to ask questions.
POST MEETING NOTE: find a review of what happened HERE
10. Brewing in Wimbledon
There have been no further developments reported on the plan to use locally grown hops for brewing Wimbledon beer. The William Morris pub may start brewing its own beer, so there is potential to have a similar tie up there.
11. Films
Kingston Environmental Centre will be showing ‘Trashed’ (looking at the impact of mounting trash on health) on 10th Feb and ‘The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas’ (about fracking) on 25th Feb. Find more info under EVENTS below.
The ‘Take Back Your Power’ film looks at smart meters and grid technology. If you would like to borrow this film, then we can put you in touch with Ingrid who is kindly offering to lend it out. The film highlights concerns about health risks from radio waves and loss of privacy. However, others are keen to get smart meters installed to help them manage their energy use and to get automated meter readings. 
12. Merton Cycling Campaign to meet MP
Stephen Hammond MP has kindly agreed to meet MCC to discuss what MPs can do to make cycling more appealing.
13. Green Roof for Bin Shelter
Charles has been consulting with Curt on how to put a green roof on his bin shelter. He hopes to grow veggies and strawberries there.
14. Mini-Holland: impact on Gladstone Rd
Merton Council will learn this month whether its proposal to greatly improve cycling and walking has won money from Boris’s Mini-Holland fund. If it does, then traffic will be diverted away from part of Wimbledon Broadway. There are concerns about how this will impact surrounding residential roads, such as Gladstone Rd. Details of how traffic will be managed have not yet been worked out.
15. Report: ‘Does Britain need to renew Trident?’
Local MP Stephen Hammond debated this question with disarmament expert Rebecca Johnston on front a large audience in the Mansel Rd Centre on 23rd Jan. Although the debaters had strongly held opposing views and penetrating questions came from the audience, the meeting went well under the chairmanship of Rev Andrew Wakefield. For a report on what was said at the meeting, see the latest Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition/CND newsletter HERE Joanna was congratulated on the informative newsletter she puts together each month for Wimbledon WDC-CND.
16. Make your own Shopping Bag
Juliet and Suzanne are holding another bag-making session on March 5th during Climate Week. This uses the Mors Bag template and people can bring their own fabric or choose from a range of beautiful fabrics at the event. Find more details under EVENTS below. Information about the nationwide morsbag initiative is at Or contact
17. Clean up the Wandle with a Hay Bale
The Wandle Trust is looking at how hay bales can be used to grow mushrooms and then the fungal root mat used to filter out pollution in the river. Find an explanation of how this would work, see HERE

POST MEETING NOTE: The Wandle Trust has been asking for volunteers to accept a hay bale in their garden for 3-4 weeks whilst the fungus grows and some Green Coffee members kindly volunteered. However, the Wandle Trust now has enough volunteers for the current pilot. If this is successful, they will roll out a much bigger project and will be looking for more volunteers at that stage. 
18. Donate a Veggie Bag
You can now donate a healthy veggie bag to someone struggling to feed their family. SCF has teamed up with Sutton Food Bank and offers a special reduced rate on its medium sized bag. Just go to the Sutton Community Farm’s website HERE 
19. Knitting for Oxfam
Oxfam in Wimbledon is encouraging people to take home yarn, knit (or crochet) something and donate it back to the shop. There are some knitting patterns on the Oxfam website HERE but no indication that this is a nationwide scheme.
Note: Our trusty Green Coffee knitters are currently occupied by their ‘Wool against Weapons’ knit – see HERE
20. Fayre & Square
The lease has been renewed on this shop which sells the work of 8 local artisans and is staffed by young people with disabilities who can learn retailing skills. The shop is located near Debenhams on the Upper Ground floor of Centre Court and is open all day Wednesdays and Thursdays, plus the last Saturday of each month.
21. Sustainable Merton - latest news
In 2014, SM is working with Merton Council to pilot Dig Merton, a council scheme to help people use their local green spaces to grow veggies, fruit and flowers. Find out more at the webpage HERE
SM is also building a network of Climate Champions, to encourage people to have a more sustainable lifestyle. And there are plans for a Sustainable Handbook. This will be available online and in hard copy and will provide practical local advice on topics ranging from draughtproofing your home to making your garden better for wildlife.
SM is also working with the council on its climate change strategy and recently planted fruit trees in Phipp’s Bridge. Find out more on the SM website HERE or contact to get the SM newsletter. Sustainable Merton is happy to publicise any green/community project around Merton, so please send them your story or event details.
22. Wandle Trail closure
The Wandle Trail will be closed for up to 10 weeks, from Plough Lane northwards to Trewint Street. This is to allow widening and resurfacing of the path, to make it more accessible. A diversion along Weir Rd has been signposted. Find more info HERE
23. Cycle Parking – more needed esp. in Wandsworth
Recently Merton Council has installed more cycle parking around the borough but more is needed. However, Green Coffee noted that the cycle parking situation seems a lot worse in Wandsworth.

Tues 25th Feb  8pm
FILM: The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas
Kingston Environmental Centre, Fountain Youth Centre, 1 Kingston Road  KT3 3RE

Fracking film, followed by a discussion on the issues it raises for us. All welcome.

1st March - 18th May
Collywood Arts Festival

Fantastic range of events includes cookery lessons and nature classes, as well as music, poetry, storytelling, dancing classes and art exhibitions and workshops. Find the programme and book HERE

Wed 5th March   2-4pm
Make your own shopping bag
Chapter Room, St Mark's Church SW19 7ND (behind Wimbledon Library)
Come along to this friendly group and make a bag you can be proud of! Learn some basic sewing techniques or help others to do so. Bring your own fabric or select from the range provided. Find the venue HERE.

Thurs 18th March, usually from 7.15 - 9pm
Wimbledon Community Forum
Drake House, 44 St. George's Road   SW19 4ED

 Have your say on local issues. Your opportunity to get answers from council officials and councillors. Find the venue HERE


Merton Green Parents
Coffee in the Wood, 99 High Street, Colliers Wood

 How do you balance the demands of being a parent and leading a more sustainable life? It can sometimes be difficult. Merton Green Parents provides a place to 
swap sustainable parenting tips and meet other like-minded parents.
 Also see the Facebook group 

Coffee in the Wood is a new cafe, providing cakes from local bakers, nice coffee and sometimes live music! It is also a Recycling Point for baby wipes and baby food packets.

Green Drinks
Hand & Racquet pub, 25-27 Wimbledon Hill, SW19 7NE
Sustainable Merton is looking for people to help restart Green Drinks. Two people have already offered to help but
 they can't commit to being there every month, so 
one or two more people are needed. Green Drinks is a great opportunity for people to get together for a purely social meeting. If you'd like to get involved, then please contact

Second Fridays   from 9.30am onwards
John Innes Gardening Group

JI Gardening Group is currently meeting every second Friday. To find out where to meet up, please contact  Bring secateurs and a trowel. 

Chick & Pea
Merton Abbey Mills

Buy unpackaged whole foods and home supplies. Bring along glass jars and other containers to fill up with fair trade and organic oats, grains, pulses and dried fruit. Also eco household products for refillable containers. 
every Wed morning 10am - early afternoon
Phipp’s Bridge Community Allotment

Join Gillian and her friendly group to grow fruit and vegetables. Disused land has been turned into a productive garden through people working together. You are welcome to join in, regardless of your gardening expertise - and you'll have the opportunity to take home some lovely fresh produce. If you would like to come and have a look or get involved, then please contact  Gillian tel. 07956 170141 

Second Saturday  10am - 2pm
The Windmill Market
St Mark's Church, behind Wimbledon Library   SW19 7ND

The next market will be on Sat 8th March. To find out more or to book a food or craft stall, please contact 

Last Sundays   10.30am - 12.30pm
Free Bicycle Surgeries
Deen City Farm, 39 Windsor ave Merton Abbey   SW19 2RR
No need to book, just pop into the garden for a free checkup for your bike. For more information, contact Louisa on or tel. 8543 5300.
new mid-week time 
Rag Rug Making
Learn how to use recycled materials to make beautiful bags and rugs. To find out when the next session is, call Thelma on 020 8540 2536 or email
Fridays 2.30-4.30 pm
Colliers Wood Community Garden
at the back of Christ Church Hall, in Colliers Wood
Join Nick, Peter and friends for some gardening. For more information, contact
Every Saturday, 9am-1pm
Wimbledon Farmers’ Market
Wimbledon Park Primary School, Havana Road, SW19 8EJ
A chance to get your groceries direct from local farmers. Find out more HERE