Please Support Our Crowdfunder - read on for 582 reasons why you should!
We’re now just weeks away from closing the doors to ZERO, our fantastic first home, which will be sorely missed by all. Our lease ends in September, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate - not least the fact that when we signed the paperwork we knew we might get the boot after just 6 months. It's proven a risk worth taking, and 2 years later we’ve cemented the charity as a core part of Guildford.
In that vein, we thought we’d recap the impact we’ve had since we opened our doors in Nov 2021, partly to acknowledge all the hard work and successes of the hundreds of people involved, and partly because we’ve got a big favour to ask - we've launched a Crowdfunder, and we need your help!
Just some of the many volunteers who help run Zero Carbon Guildford's activities
We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved on volunteer power alone - but we can’t sustain this forever. As a result, today we have launched the Crowdfunder to help with the transition period away from Friary Street, and we would be hugely grateful if you can contribute to ensure the vital work of Zero Carbon Guildford can continue.
You can donate here, and not only can donors receive rewards, but each donation is match funded, and we'll get Gift Aid. So a £100 donation will actually give the charity £225! We know times are tight at the moment, but if you can donate, please do, and help us continue our award-winning work. (note donations are only matched up to £250. You can of course donate however much you like, but only the first £250 will be matchfunded.)
We'll be making an announcement on a new premises set up within the next couple of weeks, but if you need a reminder of how your contribution will support the crucial work of restoring our local environment, reducing energy costs for residents, and reducing waste and emissions locally, then we've got a recap below of how we've managed to save a whopping 582 tons of CO2e through projects and events inside ZERO alone - not even counting the work that takes place out in the community through energy surveys and business engagement!
And let's not forget the big news of 2023 - ZCG being awarded the Innovative UK Community Project award by the Climate Coalition. This was a fantastic nod to all the hard work put in by volunteers over the last couple of years.
Mark & Izzy showing off our Innovative UK Community Project award!
And it didn’t stop there...a couple of days later we were all pretty shocked to hear the name Zero Carbon Guildford being mentioned in Prime Minister’s Questions as a leading example of grass roots community action to tackle the climate and nature crisis. Of course those words would mean a lot more had we not seen the same politicians subsequently announce new oil & gas licenses and the abandoning of net zero targets...which, let's be honest, is not surprising in a broken democratic system where an Environment Minister can secretly hold £70,000 of undisclosed shares in Shell, one of the unaccountable companies making billions in profit whilst the average person struggles to simply heat their home.
Despite the inability of global governments to put the health and future of their residents ahead of corporate profit, and the refusal to unlock the potential of new economies to maintain a status quo which benefits only the very wealthiest on the planet, we can only keep on doing what we’re doing. Building a strong coalition across demographics and political views provides the quickest way to do drive ambitious climate action by ensuring we bring a majority of citizens with us, and that we don;t just keep preaching to the choir. Otherwise we simply play into the hands of those stoking division, preventing action whilst climate systems edge closer to tipping points, and destruction continues from the Med to the Swiss mountains to South Korea to the US.
So let’s take a look at exactly what we’ve been doing whilst global leaders fail to keep up with the pace of change, and again, make the request that if you can afford to donate some funds to help us continue our vital work, please do so.
The community fridge continues to go from strength to strength - in fact we've already saved more food waste in the first 7 months of 2023 than we did in all of 2022! The Fridge is our largest CO2e saving project - this is because food waste creates methane, which is over 20x more potent at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, hence the magnified impact - and importance of reducing a totally avoidable problem. (Check out the CO2e explainer box below if you aren't sure what it means).
61.97 tons of CO2 equivalent prevented!
23,533 kg of food waste saved!
That's the carbon equivalent of....
What's Coming Up - Although the objective of ZERO's Community Fridge is to cut waste, it also provides a much needed service to local residents. Whilst it's there to cut food waste, it's provides key support to many locals, and it plays a role in alleviating isolation. We will be making every effort possible to ensure a seamless transition for Fridge users as we transition.
At average rates of food and CO2e savings this year, in 2023 we we'll be on track for saving 17,268 kg food and 45,450 kg CO2e through the Community Fridge - an increase of 28.2%. Huge tip of the hat to all of those involved.
RIVER QUALITY TESTING
Our citizen science water testers currently sample the Wey and Tillingbourne. The project is making real waves, and there are some very exciting updates on the horizon, which we can't say too much about, but stay tuned!
360 samples conducted
78 local testing sites
203 volunteers trained as river testers!
What's Coming Up - World Rivers Week 2023 is just a month away! And to mark the occasion we'll be running a number of activities, including the inaugural Guildford River Run! Grab your trainers and your best fish or sea monster costume and join us to run, walk, or skip the Wey. We'll be raising awareness of the poor state of our rivers, and funds to contribute to the wider ZCG crowdfunder! Sign up today!
Also that day our pals at National Trust will once again be hosting the Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf. Start your day with the run, then head over to Dapdune Wharf for activities for all the family!
LIBRARY OF THINGS
ZERO's Library of Things was kitted out thanks to funding from National Lottery's Together for Our Planet grant, and allows residents to borrow useful items free of charge. This cuts consumption and production, as well as waste - and frees up clutter from your house. It's only been running since November 2022, so the stats below are just 8 months...from a standing start!
47 items stocked in the ZERO Library of Things
221 borrows to date
5.68 tonnes CO2e saved
That's the equivalent of....
It's really hard to quantify the practical work done on the energy front. We delivered an impressive 180 residential energy surveys - all free of charge - to residents earlier this year, but the carbon savings are hugely dependent on what steps the householder takes when we leave. This year we'll be able to better track those steps, and continue to establish ZCG as an independent and unbiased source of information on retrofit and energy efficiency.
180 residential energy surveys carried out in 8 weeks!
36 energy champions trained across Surrey
598 energy efficiency measures given out to help create cosy homes
Retrofit community created for advice and experience sharing
What's Coming Up - ZCG's Energy Circle has created a Retrofit Community to allow residents on a retrofit journey to share impartial advice, stories, and recommendations. There will be more energy-focused events coming up in the coming months. And keep your eyes peeled for a HUGE pending announcement on the energy survey front! We have very exciting news about a significant upscaling of the residential assessments project we ran between Jan - March 2023, with the aim of expanding right across Surrey in what might be a UK-first! 🧐
BABY CLOTHES LIBRARY
About 90% of the figures below came from rentals of the Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library boxes, which come in intervals of 3 months, and the borrower returns once their child outgrows them, ensuring as much re-use as possible! We're really stoked to have been able to support SHBCL expand, and with word spreading there's been a massive 700% rise in rentals from last year to this!
681kg 2nd hand clothing sold or lent in boxes
2.91 million litres of water saved versus buying new!
This is the equivalent of...
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS NETWORK
The SBN started as a partnership with University of Surrey, and continues to expand work with key partners. Working with SCC's LoCASE team, the SBN has been referring local businesses to the Net Zero 360 course, with around 70 small & medium enterprises creating Science Based Targets Initiative-aligned net zero plans. (See below for explainer on 'carbon neutral vs. net zero, and how an SBTi target can help you (and businesses) avoid greenwashing).
Around 70 businesses supported with creating SBTI net zero targets
13 microbusinesses given free energy surveys
What's Coming Up - The SBN has a newly formed panel of strategic advisors, and will be back in September with increased practical support for Surrey's small & medium businesses. Industry in Surrey is currently one of the slowest decarbonising areas. There's huge pressure on SMEs just to survive, but decarbonisation and sustainability plans can not only save businesses money, but put sustainable businesses ahead of their less ethical competitors as new laws bite. If you know any Surrey businesses send them to the SBN and let the team prove it!
We collect 20+ Terracycle streams in ZERO - items which can't be recycled on the curbside, and deliver them to the collection point in a fully electric van. The items are either recycled for another use by the brand manufacturer, or in some cases turned into other items such as benches or playground tiles. These processes used still require energy, so where possible try to buy zero-waste products. Guildford has 2 zero-waste shops, ZERO, and Solar Sisters, at the top of North Street.
500.2kg of plastic saved from landfill / incineration
1,118.2kg of CO2e savings versus virgin plastic production
That's the carbon equivalent of....
What's Coming Up - At average rates of Terracycle recycling so far this year, in 2023 we will send 490 kg of plastic to recycling, an increase of 129%. Terracycle collections raise money for charity. Cheryl at KTC Recycling runs the collection points, and every delivery we make generates more funds for her chosen charity Kicks Count.
GREEN READ SHARE
Our community library provides great condition books free of charge. Want to learn how to rewild your garden? Find out how just a handful of people own almost all of Britain's land? Understand how 7 billionaires came to control 80% of the UK's media to suit their own goals? Green Read Share is the place to go!
407 books currently in the library
525 loans so far
That's the energy equivalent of...
(Vs. buying new books made with recycled paper)
ZERO WASTE SHOP & CAFE
A huge chunk of the cafe & shop emission savings come from replacing cow's milk with oat milk (about 5 of the 6.87 tons!). It makes virtually no difference to the taste of coffee (in fact most people say it's better), and the better ones are decent in tea too. Cow's milk is 4x the carbon emissions of oat, so if you drink hot drinks it can make a big dent in your personal footprint over the course of a year.
6.87 tons of CO2e avoided
A very conservative 525.4kg virgin plastic avoided
1 .91 million litres of water
That's the equivalent of...
The team who maintain the vertical farming towers have their last Friary Street harvest nearing its end! Over the last 4 months they've held a Spring Borage Bonanza event, serving afternoon tea with cakes and tea made from hairy borage, as well as propagating and growing dozens of plants up at Rosamund Community Garden for the pallet living walls built for the Guildford Goes Wild event. These did a great job in demonstrating what you can do to help the reverse the nature crisis even when you have limited space.
Roots from the soil-less tower plants, the Spring Borage afternoon tea, and growing seedlings for Guildford Goes Wild
What's coming up - The vertical farming team and Seedleaves have been looking at the potential to set up vertical farming projects at schools across Guildford and Surrey. There's a huge amount of education and collaboration to be had around more sustainable food systems, not least given the fat the UK imports 40% of the food we eat, putting us at serious risk of food insecurity due to increasing threats of drought. It's a strong message to encourage anyone to get involved in climate action.
And last but not least, our largest event. We organised monthly kilo sales with To be Worn Again knowing the enormous impact of the fashion industry and its hampering effect on curbing emissions. It's still been shocking to see just how much of a difference it can make to buy 2nd hand vs new, with kilo sale generating our biggest carbon & water savings.
19,610 kg of second hand clothing sold
490,500kg of CO2e avoided vs. buying new - that's 500 tons!
84.9 m litres water saved vs. buying new
That's the equivalent of..
What's Coming Up - Sadly, September will be our last kilo sale for a while, as we simply won't have the space in a new premises to accommodate it. Still you can continue to cut your own emissions by using some of the many options for lower impact shopping, such as 2nd hand sites Vinted, DePop Shop, more ethical clothing sites like Project CeCe or Ethical Made Easy, and if in doubt ask someone with Ethical Consumer to check the credentials of a retailer to help you avoid greenwashing.