Book your Green bin composting visit

plasticpiginwasteEver wondered what happens to your green waste and food waste?

The council are putting on a second free tour of the local composting facility in South Mimms, together with a look at the new Anaerobic Digester taking all our food waste –  on March 7th 10.30 – 12.30pm.

To book your place see:

The first trip during Sustainable StAlbans Week was fully booked, and was a surprisingly enjoyable experience: below Liz Sefton gives us a creative look into the tour:

Pedant Power for the Green Bin!

Agrivert sign‘Two of my favourite things came together in the Sustainable St Albans’ tour of the Agrivert Composting facility at South Mimms:  the magic of composting and an enduring love of heavy plant and machinery.



Sgt-Major turned Eco-Warrior

I have always wondered about those neat, steaming, but oddly unsmelly,  heaps of brown stuff at the side of the M25.   Then Stuart, the Sgt Major turned Eco-Warrior,  who runs the Agrivert Composting facility, entered my life and a wonderful welly-wearing morning enjoying an industrial tour became a highlight of my year.

So, you ask, what happens at South Mimms

Six men, with their big yellow scoopers and a straddle turner, plus the all-important grading machine, make tonnes of lovely compost out of the grass, leaves, and prunings in our green bins.   In summer, they take in over 300 tonnes of green waste from 5 District Councils, including St Albans, and turn it into compost of a standard suitable for agricultural purposes – supplying nutrient and structure to local farmers’ fields.   In winter it is reduced to 150 tonnes a day.


Composting Tunnel

The Agrivert team knows exactly which streets put what in their green wheelie bins –  because every lorry-load of green waste is checked in separately. Then the waste is tipped out into a huge bay, mixed, then piled neatly into one of the 15 large, long, insulated composting tunnels which meet optimum width and height requirements for good composting.   Air is pulsed through each long heap to speed composting and the temperature is monitored to ensure that bugs and weed seeds are killed and to ascertain when the composting bacteria have slowed in their work.   This process is repeated with remixed materials in a second set of tunnels where the composting bacteria become re-enlivened and the end-product further refined.

mistintunnel.jpgIt is very cosy in the composting tunnels, and not at all smelly.   However, after the warm-up comes the cool down!



The Straddle Turner

The almost finished compost is stacked in long piles outside where a wonderful machine called a ‘straddle-turner’ – does what is says as the driver steers it back and forth along the piles.   Large sticks and roots, and far too many alien items, remain in the compost at this stage.

Finally, the sifter and grader sorts the compost.  It removes the foreign bodies (which should not have been in the green bins to start with),  and the large odd bits of uncomposted woody material, and piles up lovely sweet-smelling, brown stuff which is all ready for the farmers’ fields.

plasticThe ‘should never have been included’ old shirts, shoes, toys, DIY rubbish, etc removed from the compost, is sent for landfill,  and the ‘oversize’ woody material, which has been sifted out, is sent back to the beginning of the process: here it is useful in providing necessary aeration to compacted green waste, such as grass clippings, helping to speed the next batch of composting.   They don’t waste much at Agrivert!  



With their ‘green waste in and great compost out’ process the Agrivert site at South Mimms is a local asset we should all be proud of.

And now, understanding the industrial composting process better, I, am proud to be a total pedant about what goes into my green waste wheelie bin:  it’s green garden waste and woody prunings only for me!  ‘

Liz Sefton Feb 2017


What’s happening in 2017?

We would love to see you at our Transition St Albans Open Meeting tonight, Tuesday Jan 31st 7:30pm The Barn at The Horn, St Albans, AL1 3TE

The agenda includes an update and news about all the projects planned for 2017, plus opportunities for getting involved. Most of all, there will be time for some networking and to chat informally to both regular members and those new to TSA – and refreshments – either from the bar, or tea and coffee.


News and updates on all things related to practical, local action on climate, community and environmental sustainability

Want to keep the heat in your house?

Why not borrow our Thermal Imaging Camera. If you live in St Albans District including Harpenden you can borrow the camera free!

You need to book in for one of our free short training sessions, then you can use the camera to identify hidden heat escaping  from your property.

To book a session look on our updated web page here and email us.


Second St Albans Sustainability Week proves district is keen to keep it green

Herts Ad 02 December 2016

Over 100 events took place during Sustainable St Albans Week

Over 100 events took place during Sustainable St Albans Week

Local residents were not the only beneficiaries of Sustainable St Albans Week, as popular green spaces also received some extra attention.

More than 100 events were organised in connection with the themed week which ran from November 19-26, with over 1,800 people taking part in activities relating to environmental sustainability.

St Albans Verulamium Rotary Club partnered up with Earthworks and residents to plant 5,000 crocuses in Verulamium Park – also the scene of a community litter pick.

Green was the theme, too, over in Sandridge, where at Heartwood Forest representatives of the Woodland Trust planted trees alongside residents in the UK’s newest forest.

The St Albans Sub-Aqua Club put on a film for divers about sharks, and walkers were invited to a guided stroll along the Alban Way, run by the Countryside Management Service.

Churches also showed their support, with St Paul’s Church in Blandford Road, St Albans, hosting 104 people during a vegetarian supper and talk by Steve Hughes, from the environmental Christian charity, A Rocha UK.

St Luke’s Church in Cell Barnes Lane, meanwhile, organised a sustainable café at its Christmas fair, which was enjoyed by 70 visitors. There were 10 events put on by local faith groups, including a home produce sale organised by St Albans Quakers.

Local businesses also took part, with special offers available throughout the week, allowing residents to save money on everything from beer and coffee, to pharmacy items, and even fish and chips at Godfrey’s in Harpenden.

The St Albans branch of the RSPB catered for youngsters by encouraging them to make garden bird feeders, for feathered visitors.

Schools and youth groups, including Cubs and Guides, ran activities engaging children on environmental issues, including the production of food.

St Albans district council’s trip to the Agrivert composting site was fully booked, and was so successful there are plans to repeat the tour.

One participant, Liz Sefton, reflected afterwards: “It was so sad to see the amount of plastic bags and all sorts of other foreign bodies that contaminate the compost. We saw masses of plastic plus all sorts of other non-compostable items such as DIY stuff, shoes and even old shirts.”

Local green thumbs attended a wildlife garden event put on by the RSPB, and a poetry recital about butterflies, presented by Dr Richard Harrington who headed the Rothamsted insect survey, was organised by charity group, Save Butterfly World.

Catherine Ross, chairwoman of Sustainable St Albans Week, said she was pleased it was “so successful, and I want to thank all organisers of the events for doing such a great job”.

Friday and Sat events

We’d love to see you at the events! Join in, learn something. Enjoy.

Friday 25th November

veolia_popupFri 25th Nov: Recycling lorry in town centre –
meet ‘Munch’!
Find out why it’s important to use your new food waste caddy instead of your landfill bin. Learn which items go in which bin. Munch is a dustcart book character showing how to recycle right. Children can meet him and talk to us all about recycling! FREE. 9am – 4pm Outside the Town Hall, St Albans. A Veolia UK event.

bahaitrees-2Fri 25th Nov: Illustrated talks and exhibition on TREES
Trees – illustrated talk, projected pictures and exhibition. Hear about the life of St Barbe Baker and the international organisation for trees, of which he was the founder. Continuous repeating 1 hour presentation. School age and above.  FREE. 10am – 4pm Drop in Jubilee Centre, Catherine Street, St Albans, AL3 5BU. A Baha’i Faith event.


blueberry-bath-bomb-1Fri 25th Nov: Fruity Beauty Workshop – Make
your own natural cosmetics
Fancy making your own body scrub or moisturiser? Join WEN to learn how to make gorgeous organic products. Take away your creations.£20. To book: 10.30am – 1pm at The Courtyard Cafe, Hatfield Road, St Albans (Note: this venue has been changed). An event by The Womens’ Environmental Network.

cobbledkitchenpicFri 25th Nov: ‘Lovely Leftovers!’ Cookery Class
Come and cook a range of delicious dishes all made from typical leftovers. All ingredients and equipment are provided, just bring a few lidded tubs to take home what has been made. £35. Book places and pay through website booking page: 12 noon – 2pm The Cobbled Kitchen, 69 Harpenden Road, St Albans, L3 6BY.

artFri 25th Nov: Recycled Art Project
Get arty and create your own recycled art project.Art Session: Friday 12 – 2pm Aimed at people with mental health issues, or with learning difficulties.  Cost £5. To book a place Tel: 01727 838671.  Trinity Community Project at Trinity Church, 1 Beaconsfield Road, St Albans AL1 3RD.


Breathing Space Day Spa and Studio. Photo Copyright 2011 Pete Stevens http://www.creativeempathy.comFri 25th Nov: Yoga vs Pilates
Want to know and try the difference? Then book the workshop and decide. Free . To book, phone reception 01582 462223. 12.30pm – 2pm
Breathing Space, 2 Thompsons Close,
Harpenden, AL5 4ES. A Breathing Space event.



cyclingFri 25th Nov: Circular bike ride around St Albans
We will be leading a bike ride around the St Albans Green Ring
which circles the City. The cycle ride is suitable for people of all
ages and abilities. Approximately 6 miles. FREE. We will continue unless severe rain/ snow/ice! Call 07518 169292 to check. 1.15 – 3pm
Start and end at Verulamium Museum Car Park, St Michael’s, St Albans, AL3 4SW. St Albans Cycling Campaign event.

tsacameratextFri 25th Nov: Use our thermal imaging camera to
reduce your energy bills!
Would you like to know where heat is leaking out of your
house? Learn how to use our Thermal Imaging Camera. Book to borrow it FREE for a day. FREE. 6pm – 7pm
Park Hall, Leyton Road, Harpenden, AL5 2LX.

air-pollutionFri 25th Nov: Air Pollution – Invisible Killer
Public meeting featuring an expert panel, including audience questions and panel answers. Speakers from the British Lung Foundation,  the Campaign for Better Transport, and the Green Party. Refreshments available. FREE. 7pm – 9pm Main Hall, Trinity United Reformed Church, 1 Beaconsfield Road, St Albans District Green Party St Albans, AL1 3RD.

phil-williamsFri 25th Nov: Harpenden finale: Sustainability
The Way Forward
A captivating talk about sustainability by renowned speaker Phil Williams. How we can create a sustainable future for our children. A rare chance to hear locally from a national expert. Followed by Business Need to Feed Awards and a drinks reception. £5, £3 for under 16s. Book via Eventbrite  7.30pm – 10pm Park Hall, Park Hall, Leyton Road, Harpenden, AL5 2LX.

Saturday 26th November


Sat 26th Nov: Making Connections

Everyone who has helped with an event for Sustainable St Albans week is invited to this speed networking event. Come prepared to be inspired, share what you’ve achieved and make
connections with others inspired by the week. Tea and cake included. Free. Please book via Eventbrite, so we know numbers 10am – 11.30pm Council Chamber, Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

affinitysquadSat 26th Nov: Water Saving Squad
FREE water saving devices to help you save water, energy and money! We will also be on hand to offer tips, advice and to talk all things water efficiency. FREE. 10am – 3.30pm
Clock Tower, High Street, St Albans, AL3 4EL.

healthyhomesSat 26th Nov: Herts Healthy Homes – helping you keep warm and well this winter
Promoting the Herts Healthy Homes service to St Albans residents. The service exists to ensure that vulnerable residents get the help they need to be healthy through winter. FREE. 10am – 4pm
Market Stall, St Peter’s Street, St Albans. A Groundwork Herts event.

christmasmarketSat 26th Nov: Make a gift bag at the Christmas
Learn how to make gift bags from recyclable materials to use again and again. A more  environmentally sensitive solution to
all that wrapping paper at Christmas!
Take away a completed bag, or a set of instructions for making one at home. FREE. 10am – 4pm The Community Chalet, St Albans Christmas Market, St Albans Cathedral, AL1 1BY.

ellisbirdfeederpicSat 26th Nov: Make and decorate a bird feeder from recycled cartons and bottles
Make and decorate a birdfeeder from plastic bottles and cartons. Fun drop off art session about getting creative with our recycling! All materials, a drink and snack are included. Children’s art session for age 6+. £14 per session; £22 if booked with session on 19th. Book online at 10.15am – 11.45am Fleetville Junior School, 228 Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 4LW.

tree-warden-4-web-page_tcm15-7550Sat 26th Nov: Trees in St Albans – their management, maintenance and protection
Find how the District’s trees and wooded landscapes are cared
for and protected for future generations to enjoy. The walk is
aimed mainly at adults, but children are welcome. FREE.
If high winds or heavy rain, the walk will be cancelled, the leader will be at the meeting point at the start time to confirm this. 11am – 12.30am Clarence Park, Clarence Road, St Albans. Meet at the Park Keepers Cottage, near the Clarence Road entrance to the Park. No parking in Park. SADC event.

reindeerforsaleSat 26th Nov: Christmas Fair and Open Day
Buy Earthworks’ famous reindeers, wreaths, crafts (all made by Earthworks). There will also be spiced apple juice, mince pies and refreshments; a chance to do a craft activity and hopefully Father Christmas will be visiting too. FREE. 12pm – 3pm Hixberry Lane, St Albans,
AL4 0TZ.

Sat 26th Nov:  sandridgeA Sustainable Neighbourhood Plan for Sandridge
Come and learn about the Sandridge Neighbourhood plan and how it promotes sustainable development. FREE. 2pm – 5pm
Sandridge Village Hall, High Street Sandridge, AL4 9DD. Sandridge Parish Council event.



futureoffood_nSat 26th Nov: Finale  Debate: Future of Food – what is the key to Sustainable Food
A panel of experts will give their views and take your questions to help us get to grips with the issues. The debate will be recorded by Radio Verulam. We’ll then break into discussion
groups to continue exploring the topics and look for some answers for St Albans. FREE.
Book via 2pm – 5.30pm Council Chamber, Civic Centre, St.Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

You are invited…

Sustainable StAlbans Week Finale Events:

Friday 25th November Harpenden finale: Sustainability -The Way Forward


7:30pm – 10pm Park Hall, Park Hall, Leyton Road, Harpenden, AL5 2LX.

Click here to book for this captivating talk about sustainability by renowned speaker Phil Williams from Plan-it-Eco. How we can create a sustainable future for our children. A rare chance to hear locally from a national expert.

“For a full hour, you could have heard a pin drop as he gave anecdotes of the time he has spent in the Amazon jungle alongside shocking information as to how decisions we make every day are affecting the future of our planet.  Phil left our audience feeling inspired and up lifted but also mindful about the choices we make.” – Tara Clark, The Green Triangle, St Albans

Followed by Business Need to Feed Awards and a drinks reception. £5, £3 for under 16s.

Book via Eventbrite  

Sat 26th Nov 2pm:   Finale Event ‘The Future of Food – what is the key to Sustainable Food?’

2pm – 5.30pm St Albans Civic Centre Recorded by Radio Verulam.    Click here for more info and to book your place.


A panel of food experts will give their views and take your questions.  The debate will be recorded by Radio Verulam.  Discussion groups will explore the topics and look for local solutions. FREE.

Panel includes:

  • Achim Dobermann, the Director of Rothamsted
  • Ian Piggott, local farmer (conventional and organic) and chairman of the national charity Farming and Countryside Education
  • Jeff Heine from Global Justice Now
  • Mary Barton, Herts Vegan and Vegetarian Group.

Come and take part in this exciting debate and be part of the recording!
Book via Eventbrite  2pm – 5.30pm Council Chamber, Civic Centre, St.Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

makingconnectionsMaking Connections – speed networking for anyone involved in organising events

10am – 11.30pm Council Chamber, Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3JE.

Everyone who has helped with an event for Sustainable St Albans week is invited to this speed networking event.

Come prepared to be inspired, share what you’ve achieved and make connections with others inspired by the week.

Tea and cake included. Free. Please book via Eventbrite, so we know numbers

Wed 23rd & Thurs 24th Nov events

We hope you can join in! There is so much to do and see: All listings on the website, some need booking:

Wednesday 23rd November

cdaWed 23rd Nov: Dig and Plant in Community Garden St Albans
We have the plants/shrubs and now we need help to dig and plant them in our fantastic community garden! If rain: Contact Christine on 07816 925364. free . Donations gratefully received. You will receive an email confirmation and directions. To book a place please email: 10am – 3pm Community Garden St Albans, Hixberry Lane,
St Albans, AL4 0TZ. (Same Lane as Earthworks). CDA event.

affinitysquadWed 23rd Nov: DAIAD ‘Open Water’ Coffee Morning
The DAIAD project is helping households in St Albans save water. We are holding a coffee morning to discuss the project and sign up those interested in participating. free . Book:
morning-tickets-28137096814 10am – 1pm
The Green Kitchen, 419 Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL4 0XP.

householdwasteservice_tcm15-55346Wed 23rd Nov: Recycling Roadshow
Speak to the Council’s Recycling team – learn about the recycling facilities available, have your questions answered, find out what items can be recycled where and get information on local reuse facilities. FREE. 10am – 4pm St Albans Market.

healthyhomesWed 23rd Nov: Herts Healthy Homes
Promoting the Herts Healthy Homes service to St Albans residents. The service exists to ensure that vulnerable residents get the help they need to be warm and well through this winter. FREE. 10am – 4pm St Albans Market. Groundwork Hertfordshire event.

tree-planting1Wed 23rd Nov: Help plant a forest
Spend a day or half a day helping to plant England’s largest new forest. Please dress appropriately – it’s likely to be cold and muddy. Snacks and hot drinks are provided but please bring lunch. You can just come for the morning. Please arrive promptly. To book FREE. Email This event will go ahead in all weather except deep snow. 10am – 12.30pm or 3pm Meet in Heartwood Forest car park just north of Sandridge AL4 9DQ. A Woodland Trust event.

purpleWed 23rd Nov: Purple4Polio – planting crocuses
Join St Albans Verulamium Rotary Club with partner Earthworks to plant 5000 crocuses as part of Rotary Worldwide campaign to eradicate Polio. FREE. If rain: Phone 07733 326232. 10.30am-2.30pm The grass between the drive at Westminster Lodge and the Swimming Pool. AL1 2DL.

bridgeatalbanwayWed 23rd Nov: St Albans Super Highway-Guided Walk
Join CMS to find out more about the fascinating history of the Alban Way, its wildlife and the plans for the future. FREE. Meeting by the gate onto the Alban Way at the back of Morrisons car park. Visit
Rain: Call 01992 588433 or see website. 10.30am – 12.30pm Parking in Morrisons Car Park – 244 Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 4SU. Countryside Management Service event.

street-party-pictureWed 23rd Nov: Would you like to have a street party in your road?
Come and meet the Our Street Party team and get information and help on how to set up a Street Party in your street. FREE. 10.30am – 11.30am @ The Gallery Café, Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans, AL4 0JQ.


chalklogo-tidied-brighter-squareWed 23rd Nov: Playing Out… What it is and how you can get started
Come and have a coffee with the Herts Playing Out Team and find out how to enable your children to safely play out in your own street. FREE. 10.30am – 11.30am @ The Gallery Café, Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans, AL4 0JQ.


verulaimiumparkWed 23rd Nov: Verulamium Park Walk and Talk
To find out more about the park and how it is managed. FREE. We will reschedule if weather is bad – please call 07931 518215. 11am – 2pm Meeting at Verulamium
Museum, St Michael’s Street, St Albans, AL3 4SW.


Pond with lillypads and woodland for habitat study at Bayfordbury

Wed 23rd Nov: Environmental Management and Sustainability lecture
Sustainability lecture with speakers Miranda Cambell, National Trust, and Alister Leggatt, Affinity Water. FREE.
series 7pm – 8.30pm Lindop Building, College Lane Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield AL10 9AB.

Thursday 24th November

tyttehhangerpitThurs 24th Nov: Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits Nature Walk
A morning walk around Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits. We expect to see visiting winter wildfowl and thrushes. Bring sturdy footwear. Will go ahead if it rains. £1. Booking can be via an email to: 9.30am – 12.30pm Willows Farm car park,
Coursers Road, AL4 0PF. Car park 1 on RHS. Follow RSPB signs. RSPB event.

sjlThurs 24th Nov: Sustainable Schools Training Day
An opportunity for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils from local primary and secondary schools to gain new ideas about how they can contribute to sustainability. 9.30am – 2.45pm The  Farmschool, Annables Farm, AL5 3PR.
FREE. Schools can register by emailing

bricket-woodThurs 24th Nov: Bricket Wood Common – Heritage, Biodiversity and Managing for Future Generations
Join our ranger led guided walk and learn more  bout the heritage, wildlife and sustainable management of Bricket Wood Common. An historic and secluded site, rich in biodiversity.FREE. Event will go ahead in light rain. Contact 07587 632379. 10.30am – 12.30pm School Lane, Bricket Wood,
AL2 3XT. John O’Connor event.

traidcraft-stallThurs 24th Nov: Fair Trade Chatterbox Coffee Morning
Refreshments and good company, augmented with sustainable
advice and information including: gardening and composting;
cycling including bicycle checks and maps; a Fair Trade stall;
sewing bee – clothes repairs. FREE. 10.30am – 12 noon Marlborough Road Methodist Church, Marlborough Road, St Albans, AL1 3XG.

greengrantsThurs 24th Nov: Funding workshop: how to apply for green grants
Does your community group, school or social enterprise have loads of ideas for environmental projects, but can’t find the funding? Come along for info & advice. Choice of hourly sessions 3-4, 4-5, 5-6 free . Book by Eventbrite: 3pm-6pm The Hub, Civic Centre, St Peter’s St, St Albans, AL1 3JE

sustainable-earthThurs 24th Nov: From Global to Local – How the Council is taking action to address sustainability
Hear about our Greenhouse Gas reduction targets, Climate
Change Action Plan and the other work we are involved in
to reduce our own impacts and improve the sustainability of St Albans City and District. FREE. 4pm – 5.30pm
St Albans City and District Council, St Peter’s Street,
St Albans, AL1 3JE.


sustainablehouseThurs 24th Nov: Make buildings more sustainable by using fewer resources
Want to save money on your electricity, gas and water bills? This talk is for you. The focus is on buildings, including lighting, heating, ventilation, materials, solar energy and water use. FREE.To book contact Ann Cahill on or Ant Wilson on 6pm – 8pm AECOM House, 63-77 Victoria Street, St Albans, AL1 3ER. An AECOM event.