Trip to see recycling facility 22 June

How does your waste in St Albans get recycled?

Thursday 22nd June 8.30am – 15.30pm

Booking is essential – See more and Book your place click here

Veolia, St Albans City and District Council’s waste and recycling collection partner, would like to invite residents of the St Albans District to a tour of the Materials Recycling Facility, in Rainham.

This is where the recycling collected in the District is taken to, to be sorted and sent on for reprocessing into new products.

We expect the day to be as follows:

  • Welcome
  • Site induction and PPE
  • First group – Presentation of the site =PRF recycles plastics for all the UK MRF etc..
  • Look at input and output materials
  • CMRF tour
  • PRF tour
  • Second group if required
  • Lunch with questions, informal discussion for the group that is not attending the tour
  • Depart 13.30-14.00

Electric Sunday! June 18th

Electric Bike Day – family friendly event
Sunday 18 June 10-4pm – come and join us!

Verulamium Park – between Athletics Track and London Gate.

E bike day flyer A5picWould you like to drive less, not worry about parking fees or fines and reduce your carbon footprint?

 We are bringing a whole host of electric bikes to Verulamium Park  on June 18th.

The event is part of National Bike Week

2, 3 and 4 wheeler bikes will be available to ride on site, from commuter and recumbent bikes, to family bikes that can transport small children and even bikes used for carrying cargo for businesses.
Food and Drink bikes will be on display.

If you’re feeling energetic you can even ride a bike and blend your own smoothie. See more details click here

Come ride a bike with us on June 18th, between 10-4pm; we’ll be between the Athletics Track and London Gate.



General Election questions to the candidates Friday 2nd June

Hustings 2017 pic

Following the events in Manchester, the main St Albans Cathedral Hustings event was cancelled – so we have joined forces – and combined our ‘Better World’ Hustings* which was to focus on the environment and social justice, with the main event. Please come along and join the discussion.

If you can, please submit questions on the environment by Wed 31 May to :

Some ideas re questions and links to more info…

Did You Know? The bank holiday heatwave  started with a new record for solar power generation which blazed to a quarter of the electricity mix on Friday afternoon.

The nation’s solar panels scorched the previous record set last month by generating 8.7GW of power, more than nuclear and coal power combined.  

Solar power was the second most used generating technology behind gas-fired power and made up around 25pc of the UK’s electricity, its highest ever share of the market on a working week day.

Note: The Better World Hustings is organised by St Albans Friends of the Earth, Global Justice Now, and Transition St Albans to provide a forum to hear candidates’ views on social justice and the environment.


Asparagus – skills session Sat 22 April

Saturday April 22nd, 1.30pm – 3.00pm
You will learn about planting and looking after asparagus plants and plant an asparagus seed to take away

Organised by FOODSMILES ST ALBANS Hammonds End Farm, Harpenden, Herts AL5
At FoodSmiles members grow organic veg together, sharing skills and learning about growing, we share the harvest once a week

Open Food Gardens springs into action!

Kick away the winter blues and get inspiration for growing your own at our first Open Food Garden of the year on Saturday 29th April 3-pm. Bring a friend, or a neighbour and explore how other food gardeners do it!

2017 pic Open Food Gardens at April 7th

Incredible Edible St Albans Wed 5 April 10.30am Courtyard Cafe

Incredible Edible in St Albans – interested?

FoodSmiles St Albans are starting Incredible Edible in St Albans.
Find out more at this talk on Wednesday.
Wed 5th April, 10.30am
Courtyard Cafe, Hatfield Rd, St Albans
All welcome – entry £5 including coffee

Come and hear FoodSmiles member Sahira Ward talk about Incredible Edible Dunstable and how it came about, and how you can get involved in Incredible Edible St Albans – food and flowers to share, planted by the community for the community, enhancing the town centre and our lives.
Info about the meeting is also on facebook click here to see

Incredible Edible is an inspiring scheme, opening up food growing (and eating free) for all the community.
For more information about how Incredible Edible got started in Todmorden, Yorkshire, click here

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