Author Archives: enform

Coronavirus and the Environment Tips


Last updated 31st March 2020

We are in challenging times and the coronavirus has disrupted our lives. This has had many impacts on the way we live our lives and the environment. We have compiled this list of tips and services still operating during this emergency. Let us know if you have tips or service updates to add. e-mail

Please note some companies (highlighted in red) are no longer accepting new customers or orders at the present time so please do not contact them as they are struggling with demand.

Other Facebook groups to keep you informed are:

Colchester Borough Emergency Coordinators Group

Food storage

Please ensure your store your food correctly to reduce food waste. Check out this handy guide.

Food supplies (dry food, cupboard food)

H Gunton Ltd. Located at 81-83 Crouch Street Colchester Essex CO3 3EZ. To place orders, call on either 01206 572200 or place orders through the letter box between 9am-12pm for same day pick up. Or text orders to 07543679640 or email orders to They are offering deliveries for locations within walking distance. Their website is:

REco store (Refill shop)– Located in Tiptree – Open Tuesday to Saturday the shop will still be open, operating at safe distance. Click and collect still available and home deliveries to the following villages. TIPTREE, KELVEDON, FEERING, COGGESHALL, MESSING. Tel: 07508505270.

An ethical Life (Refill shop) – Taking orders for delivery online via & over the phone on 07340 363701. You can also email them at

Colchester Food Coop – join the food coop and have access to food when you need it, collected from the en-form office. Coop 

Un-sealed – located in Clacton, offering local delivery within a 3-mile radius with some exceptions  email   Facebook page:

Food Supplies Fruit and Vegetables (Greengrocers)

J Burgess and Sons The shop is open: 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday 8am – 1pm Saturday
Only allowing 4 customers in the shop at once. Offering some local deliveries. Located 197 Old Heath Road, Colchester, Essex, 01206 795929 and on Facebook:

M Bruce Fruit and Veg Suppliers – No longer accepting new customers  Offering fruit and veg deliveries and collection from Boxted.

Birchwood Farm Shop – No longer accepting new customers Located in Dedham, Open Monday – Saturday 8am – 5:30pm, Sunday 8am – 4pm collection and local delivery – only offering set boxes. Place orders by phone: 01206 323797 Facebook:

Bumbles Greengrocers – Located in Brightlingsea. Offering local delivery and collection from shop which is open 1-3pm. Contact number is: 07914 496681

Food Supplies – Milk (Glass bottle milk)

Colchester Dairy  email enquiries to:

Milk and No longer accepting new customers they have had to temporarily stop taking new customer, but hopefully they will be able to recruit more staff and resume again soon.

An ethical life – sell glass bottle oat milk

The crafty goat – selling goat milk, cheese and meat located in Abberton, Colchester

Lazy Daisy Dairy – A traditional dairy farm, using traditional methods, with cattle being fed on a grass based diet. Contact details: best by phone: 01255 870323 or


Re-useable cloth nappies and wipes and toilet paper 

Colchester Cloth is an advice and information service around reusable cloth nappies. They will be providing support and live videos through their Facebook page:

Try cloth nappies and get a £30 refund at Love Essex

The Nappy Lady advice, information and buying new and pre-loved cloth nappies:

Cheeky Wipes Re-useable wipes, sanitary pads and toilet paper still operating and shipping:

Re-useable sanitary Wear 

Reusable Menstrual Products Colchester chat is a local group designed to encourage period positivity and inform people of eco-friendly alternatives. website Link:

Albert Postlethwait are a local homemade supplier of re-useable sanitary wear:

The Nappy lady are selling re-useable sanitary wear

Ethical Superstore are selling re-useable sanitary wear

Breastfeeding support

La Leche League Colchester is a friendly group that offers support and information to breastfeeding or expectant mothers, it is currently offering a virtual chats through their Facebook page: website Link: and


Compost bins and water-butts – Discount compost bins and water butts for Colchester

Growing your own food:

The following local Facebook groups may be helpful:

Perrywood Garden Centre – Online information for growing your own food.

Family home gardening – A blog about home growing and gardening by a local Colchester family:

Reducing your recycling (in response to suspended Colchester Borough Council collections. Other Essex Councils are currently operating a recycling service)

Less paper Get paperless Council Tax, Business Rates and Benefit accounts Follow this guide for getting less junk and unnecessary junk mail. ​

Colchester Borough Council have advice on reducing and re-using and storing recycling waste:–to–reduce,–reuse–and–store–your–recycling#how–to–reduce,–reuse–and–store–your–recycling

Green waste 

Composting and re-using green waste advice from Perrywood Garden Centre:

Love Essex – tips for reducing waste and composting

19 Tips to Create a Wildlife Garden







Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Over the years the wildlife in the UK has taken a bit of a battering as human activity continues to take their homes and food, pollutes them with pesticides and other harmful products and if they survive that we hunt and kill them.

However all is not lost. Our gardens can provide a much needed sanctuary with benefits to our wildlife and to us as people.

It is great to sit out in the garden on a warm summers day admiring our flowers or sampling our home grown fruit and vegetables. But the experience can be enhanced by birdsong, the flutter of butterflies or the buzz of bees working to keep your garden at its best.

To attract the maximum wildlife to your garden it’s best to think of yourself as a wildlife hotel and offer them accomadation, food and drink. Take a look at our 19 tips below and see which ones you can easily introduce. And hopefully you will soon have birds, butterflies,
moths, insects and other wildlife joining you as guests at your wildlife hotel.

  1. Make sure you provicde excellent dining facilities for your bird guests by putting up a bird table or feeders in a clear space far enough away from cover where a cat might hide.
  2. Next make sure you provide a comprehensive buffet style menu by provide a wide variety of food including seeds, nuts, fruit, suet blocks and some tasty mealworms.
  3. Make sure the bar is well stocked by providing water for drinking and bathing. Consider putting up a bird bath.
  4. Plant trees and shrubs which bear attractive berries in the autumn, such as Elder, Rowan, Holly, Ivy (be careful with Ivy it grows rampantly and can take over your garden within a few years. But it does provide valuable food to birds and insects, particularly bees at an important time of the year) , Fire Thorn, Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Privet and Spindle will provide food for many species of birds.
  5. Plant trees (make sure you choose a species suitable for your garden. Don’t plant an Oak tree in a small garden. And make sure you plant it at least 5 metres or better still 7 metres from any buildings so you do not invalidate your buildings insurance)  and shrubs
    which attract insects and are good for refuge and nesting for birds.
  6. Make sure you provide suitable accomadation by putting up nesting boxes.
  7. Try to go chemical free in the garden .Do not use slug pellets as these are harmful to all animals including your pets. And do not use pesticides as these kill the insects the birds feed on.
  8. Start a compost heap which will become alive with invertebrates of many types. It will also stay frost free in winter providing a welcome food source for birds and other animals. A well designed compost heap will be beneficial to many species of insects and they will also help the rotting down process. Which will provide you with a wonderful free supply of compost for your garden.
  9. Piles of logs provide shelter for many creatures, including frogs, toads and newts and many kinds of insect make their home there. Including in Colchester the nationally rare Stag Beetle. Beetles in particular are helpful to gardeners as natural pest controllers.
  10. Attract butterflies and moths to your garden by planting nectar providing shrubs and flowers such as:
    Buddleia, Michaelmas Daisy, Dahlias, Aubretias, Perennial Yellow Alyssum, Pink and White arabis, Wallflowers, Primroses, Polyanthus, Honesty, Sweet Rocket (the latter 2 are good for the orange tip butterfly), Valerian,Thrifts, Sweet William, French Marigolds, Heliotrope, Ageratum, Phloxes, Golden Rod, Eryngiums.
  11. Leave some clumps of nettles (be careful to keep under control though as they are
    an invasive plant that will take over your garden) which are the food supply
    of small tortoiseshells, peacock and red admiral.
  12. Caterpillars of the migrant painted lady feed on thistles and caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly feed (in spring) on flowers and buds of holly. The second brood (July) feed on the buds of ivy bloom.
  13. Moths are also attracted to the nectar plants listed and some caterpillars feed on clematis, wormwood and michaelmas daisies.
  14. If you have a large garden leave some corners with long growing grasses as these are the food plants for the larvae of speckled wood, meadow brown, gatekeeper and large and small slipper butterflies.
  15. Help our bat population by putting up a bat box. – Bats eat thousands of insects and are therefore a gardeners friend. All 16 species of British bat are protected by law, harmless and many are endangered. For more information visit the Bat Conservation Trust  
  16. Set aside a corner of the garden in October for hibernating animals such as hedgehogs or frogs.
  17. Plant native wild flower seeds.
  18. Set some of your garden aside as a wild patch and encourage weeds to flourish there. This will save your time allowing you to spend more time admiring your garden. Better keep it under control though before it becomes unmanageable.Thistles and teasels are excellent plants for birds while willow herbs and cow parsley will be a haven for a range of insects and other invertebrates. Nettles are the food for the larvae of several species of butterfly and moth. But as stated above make sure you keep them under control.
  19. Now a pond. If you can have one in your garden, allows you to create your own
    wildlife water hole. Maybe not as exotic as an African waterhall but very interesting never the less.

More information

The Wildlife Trusts

More Information on your Guests

The Birds

The Butterflys

The Insects

The Mammals

The Bats







Terracycle and en-form FAQ’s


Why did en-form set up a Terracycle collection point?

We have collected a number of items for recycling or reuse in the past, including corks, mobile phones, printer cartridges and CD’s.

We have been a bit cautious as it has on occassions mean’t that we have been left with a lot of waste that we have had to pay to dispose off.

However in October 2018 we received a number of requests from our supporters asking it we could collect toothpaste tubes under the Terracycle scheme. After investigating the scheme we decided that it would not take too much effort, it would not cost us anything and these items could not be recycled through the local council plastic kerbside collection. We were unable to find out if collecting and recycling these items had less of an environmental impact
than throwing in general waste.

On the basis that we would prefer plastic waste to be recycled rather than sitting in landfill sites and potentially getting into rivers and seas and ultimately the animals that live there.

It was a very slow start but gradually built up and proved very popular with visitors and
we extended the range of items we recycle.

What items can I recycle through Terracycle?

The items you can recycle changes frequently. Check out the Terracycle website.

Also take a look at our local Recycling Directory which lists other items that can be
recycled locally.

What happens to the items we collect for recycling?

We understand that all the items we collect under the Terracycle scheme are low grade plastic and/or are difficult to recycle. The recycling options for these materials are limited and
it depends on the type of material. They are currently made into hard composite plastic items such as bins, buckets, plastic benches, compost bins etc. For more information look at this video and the three at the bottom of this page.


Does recycling these items raise money for good causes?

Yes. It does raise a small amount of money depending on the scheme. With the volumes of items such as crisp packets available quite reasonable amounts of money are raised by some collectors. However there are costs. In our case sellotape, printing, gloves and waste disposal costs.

The biggest cost however is time spent sorting, Although we are lucky to have volunteer sorters (currently 9) who take care of that. In our case we spend a minimum of 15 volunteer hours a week sorting and packaging the waste.

The other big cost is the amount of space taken up to run the project. The project takes up half of our downstairs office which equates to about £2500 based on our costs. Of course we don’t charge this to the project but it does mean we can’t use that space for other purposes.

In 2019 our figures were as follows:

Money raised from Terracycle                       £379

Less Sellotape                                                   £8
Gloves                                                                £6
Printing                                                             £30

So we raised                                                    £335

If we were to charge our other costs to the project they would be:

Waste disposal                                             £140
Premises                                                       £2500
Staff costs                                                     £6000

Totalling                                                       £8640

Luckily we don’t have to charge these figures to the project otherwise we would have made a loss of £8305 and we used the £335 to help pay our core charity costs which tend to be about £12,000 per year. A useful contribution equivalent to half our insurance costs.

What is the environmental impact of operating these recycling schemes?

As stated above we do not have all the information from the recycling process to know what the environmental impact is of the recycling process compared with disposing of in general waste. As with all recycling there is an environmental impact particularly from water, transport and energy.

We at en-form try to reduce the environmental impact by only collecting items not collected by our local council at the kerbside. And we encourage visitors to only bring items into the office when they are in Town anyway. We discourage people making a special journey by car just to drop off recycling as this is likely to have a worse envitronmental impact than disposing off in general waste.

Our view is that the environmental impact is no more than recycling other plastics, a useful product is made and the material is not sitting in landfill or worse still littering the countryside, the rivers or seas or killing wildlife.

Is it worthwhile for en-form? 

In financial terms probably not. There are easier ways to raise cash for the effort involved.

However, we are an environment charity and so it is not just about money.

We have recruited a number of new volunteers, we receive more visitors to the centre who have questions to ask which gives us the opportunity to provide environmental information. The number of people following our Facebook page and Eco Colchester Facebook Group has also increased by over 1000 and 2000 respectively in 12 months. We have recycled  275kg of waste in 2019. Not a lot but every little helps and of course we did raise a much needed £335.

Why don’t the council collect these items for recycling?

As stated above, these are not easy materials to recycle and there is no viable market for these items from the recycling companies. They are recycleable through Terracycle because the items are sorted and collected by a huge army of volunteers throughout the country. The recycling is paid for by the manufacturers. And all the items sent off for recycling are clean
and uncontaminated. As you can see from en-forms own figures this would not be cost effective or viable for local councils.


More Information





Halloween Waste – Don’t be haunted by it!








Image by Nancy Sticke from Pixabay

Guest Post by Ben Plummer*

Skeletons are hanging in people’s windows, pumpkins are in the supermarkets and the nights are drawing in which means only one thing – Yes Halloween is around the corner!

Whether you enjoy Halloween or not, it cannot be denied that Halloween produces a huge environmental impact and it only seems to worsen every year. However, there are many tips and tricks that can help you be as green as possible at Halloween (without having to cover yourself in green paint to become a zombie) Many of these also save you lots of money as well as the environment – In Britain we spend £300 million a year at Halloween – that sounds like daylight robbery to me!


Many people go in big on the costumes and makeup at Halloween. Come the 31st of October, skeletons, witches, vampires and other creepy figures will be walking the streets with Halloween enjoyed by kids, adults and even pets (although it’s hard to tell how much dogs like dressing up as pumpkins!). But many of these costumes are bought specially for this occasion and are not worn any other time. It has been estimated that every year 7 billion Halloween costumes are binned and that’s not including the many plastic props that often accompany them! Many of these costumes are relatively cheap and are made of poor quality plastic making many unrecyclable which contributes to their disposability. However, there are many alternatives to help lower the environmental footprint of your costume!

If you wanted one of these costumes you could source them second hand from a charity shop or car boot, rent them from a fancy dress shop or borrow them from a friend or neighbour! Likewise, if you have a Halloween costume that you had when you were a kid and you can no longer squeeze into, then donate it to someone who could use it!

Alternatively, you could try making your own costume. The old classic is the ghost – snipping a couple of holes in an old bedsheet that is coming to the end of its life! However, if you wanted to be more creative you could throw some bits and bobs together to design a makeshift costume. Check your wardrobe – any black clothes are a good staple for the base of a Halloween costume. You could then stick some black pieces of card to an Alice band and then you have created a cat costume. Another idea is donning a chequered shirt and straw hat and you are a scarecrow. If you wanted props, then many can be made using cardboard which you can decorate using paint or pencils!


More and more Halloween decorations seem to enter the market every year, the majority made of plastic. Plastic Lanterns, ghosts, fake fangs and the infamous plastic pumpkin (yes these are still around despite Poundland banning the sale of polystyrene pumpkins last year) are but a few! But like costumes, many Halloween decorations can be homemade and are simple to make – here are just a few ideas!

  • Toilet roll bats – Use a black pen or pencil to colour in a cardboard toilet roll, cut out some wings from black card and attach to the toilet roll
  • Halloween drawings – Draw some creepy pictures to scare any trick or treaters coming to your door. Alternatively, you could write a scary message on some paper and stick to your door!
  • Ghostly leaves – Try painting some leaves white, adding a couple of eyes with black paint or pen and you have some ghostly leaves. These could be hung on a piece of string or stuck on a front door
  • Mason jar candles – Grab some glass bottles or mason jars, put a tealight inside and this can create an eerie atmosphere around your house – Draw some creepy eyes on the bottles for some added spookiness!

Cardboard and colouring pencils are your friends at Halloween – So much can be created from them and ideas are aplenty on the internet!


Perhaps the most iconic thing associated with Halloween is the pumpkin. Many of us enjoy the ritual of carving out a scary face on a pumpkin, sticking a candle inside and putting it outside to signal to the trick or treaters that treats can be picked up from your house. But what happens to the pumpkin after – well much of it goes to waste. Around 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin are thrown out every year in the UK, with around 60% of people not saving the tasty flesh and seeds that reside inside the pumpkin. Perhaps this is understandable– I mean come on that stringy flesh really doesn’t look that appetising! However there are many ways to use your pumpkin in some delicious dishes:

  • Soup – Pumpkin soup is a real simple winter warmer! Both the flesh and the stringy insides can be used for this! To try some without the effort of making some yourself head down to Drury Road allotments in Colchester this Sunday (27th October 2019) where some will be on offer along with other pumpkin based activities!
  • Curries – Pumpkin flesh chopped up can be a great addition to a curry
  • Broth – A great use for the stringy bits inside a pumpkin is to boil them down into broth!
  • The seeds – These can be roasted with some spices for a healthy snack

If you still have pumpkin left over then dispose of it in your food waste bin or put it in the compost.


Even the treats may leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth once you realise the amount of waste produced from them! Many of the traditional sweets given out at Halloween are individually wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. These are a nightmare for the environment with most either sent to landfill or are left littered on the ground. But never fear, there are some plastic free alternative treats that you can give out to any trick or treaters that come to your door!

  • Halloween biscuits – These can be simple and effective alternative treats to give out – you could even try making pumpkin cookies using any leftover pumpkin you have.
  • Crickets – A very appropriate snack for Halloween! What perhaps may have been described as a nasty trick to play on the kids before may not be so as much now – They are slowly becoming accepted by more people in the UK and could perhaps be given out to kids as they come or perhaps disguised in a cereal bar!
  • Fruit – they may not be a fan favourite, but they are a healthy alternative to the sweet treats and can often be sourced packaging free and locally.
  • Try eco-friendly and local suppliers – If you are getting traditional treats then try and check the sourcing of ingredients (organic, Fairtrade, palm oil free etc.) or go for vegan chocolates and sweets!

I think Halloween gives you the opportunity to be creative (which is fun!) with the added bonus of this often being environmentally friendly! There are many Halloween events going on over half term for you and the kids to get involved with (check the links!) which allow you to get creative!

So don’t scare yourself too much with trying to create a faultless eco Halloween – you could experiment with some of the ideas suggested in this article or come up with your own!

Happy Halloween!

Links to some eco Halloween ideas!

Costumes and decorations

Halloween food! – Pumpkin puree can then be used in recipes for pumpkin biscuits or cakes

Halloween activities during half term

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Author Bio

Ben Plummer

Greening Colchester – A Green Action Plan

A Peoples Assembly was held by Colchester Extinction Rebellion (XR) on 4th August 2019.

A further ‘Greening Colchester’ meeting was held by North Essex Eco on 28th September 2019 inviting individuals and groups to develop a plan for Greening Colchester.

Colchester Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency and set up a climate emergency task and finish group; existing group request representation from Eco Essex

Ideas for the action plan have been sorted into 6 environmental themes and are detailed in this action plan


  • Idea to set up a tree planting association in Colchester. Like ‘Once upon a Tree’ (Southend)

1. Biodiversity Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019


1. Energy and Housing Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019


  • -Car club. Hire a car using an app. (CBC)

1. Transport Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019

Waste and Recycling

  • Terracycle are now collecting cigarette butts. Could these be collected? Advised that Colchester do have bins in the town centre for butts (but not currently recycled).
    This scheme is now closed to new collectors. Tendrig Primary Recycling Scheme have been producing a returns label for some members to return this waste back to Terracycle. However, they receive no payment for this and have limited resources so may not be prepared to offer this service for Colchester. Under no circumstances should this waste be given to Terracycle collectors. 
  • Can we encourage local cafes to give away used coffee grounds for compost? Posters and other resources are available through Eco Essex.
  • Can we form a recycling directory for people to use to see where the various recycling points are for different items in the local area?
    This is available through the en-form page (– perhaps we need to promote this more.
  • New Terracycle collection points needed. Volunteers to collect for their locality to make it easier and more accessible for the general public. Then volunteers can drop all recycling to en-form and other Terracycle collecors weekly. Other Terracycle stations are situated across Colchester.

1. Reducing waste and recycling Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019




1. Business Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019

Life at Home

1. Life at Home Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019

Schools and Churches

1. Schools and Chrches Focus Group set up 3rd October 2019


  • Support, networking and promotion of existing environmental organisations, groups and individuals to help strengthen efforts. Join forces to prevent doubling up.  Eco- Colchester can help with this.
    The following Facebook groups have been set up to promote environmental groups work and events to the public:
    Eco Colchester
    Eco Essex
    The following Facebook group was set up to help Environmental groups based in Colchester to support and network with each other. Primarily sharing best practice and providing resources and information on funding, training and best practice:
    Colchester Environment Group
  • Support and promotion of other useful Facebook groups such as The Give Away Group. Eco- Colchester can help with this.
  • Form partnerships between different organisations, schools and the council. Councils have quite good links with the schools.
    The following Facebook groups ,serving the whole of Essex and  open to any education establishment and their staff, parents and governors have been set up to help with this:
    en-form Eco Schools
    Eco Essex Education
  • Research needed into Suffolk Green Campaigns.
  • Research into Climate Coalition and Show the Love campaigns and how they work.
  • Contact Chamber of Commerce regarding green awards for local businesses to incentivise them.
  • Can we get Eco-City status?
  • Suggestions for changing Eco Essex Facebook sub ‘groups’ to ‘pages’ so you can post from the various pages making it a lot less confusing for users.
  • Suggestion for changing Eco Essex from a closed group to an open one
  • CBC are providing market stalls for environmental organisations. En-Form and Repair Reuse Recycle CIC already involved. Eco Essex may be interested to have a stall occasionally.
  • Organising a summit between Essex Uni, Colchester General Hospital and Colchester Institute. (CBC)
  • ECO Essex – Introduction to Eco Essex by Sam Pitman. Description of the 4 sub-groups of Eco Essex (Eco Essex Business, Eco Essex Education, Eco Essex Recycling Community, Eco Essex Food) ECO Essex -Suggestions for creating a website. Problems regarding this discussed, mainly funding.

Next Steps – Going forward:

-Organise ‘focus’ groups; each one addressing a particular area of concern in Colchester; e.g. tree planting focus group. Once agreed on these groups will be emailed out to volunteers for them to opt in to helping in different areas e.g. Re-Wilding, Transport, Air Pollution, Food etc.

-Once volunteers signed up, set up meetings for each ‘focus’ group.

Representatives of the following organisations were present at the ECO Colchester meeting on the 28th September:

-Alresford Parish

-Colchester Bike Kitchen

-Colchester Borough Council (CBC)

-Colchester Community Group

Eco Colchester

Eco Essex


-Essex Girls in Business

-Fingringhoe FB Group

-Keep Britain Tidy

-Repair Reuse Recycle CIC

-Route 51 Cycle Project

-WI, Climate ambassador

-Zero Waste Colchester FB Group / Rowhedge Going Greener

Eco and Refill Shops

We have a number of local shops selling Eco friendly and refill products in Colchester and the surrounding area:

Braintree The Natural Way Shop –  82 High Street, Braintree CM7 1JP

Brightlingsea  An Ethical Life – 47-49 High Street, Brightlingsea, CO7 0AQ website

Castle Hedingham BeaEco  Majendie Lane, Castle Hedingham, Halstead

Clacton Unsealed – 2a The Grove, Clacton, on Sea, CO15 3TJ

Colchester Highwoods Ripples RefillA community project set up by two school cildren in Highwoods. Initially available to friends, family and people living in Highwoods. You can refill  washing up liquid, white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (for now!). They will try to make sure they are here after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Not really an Eco shop open to the public but a great idea so we have included it anyway. If you live in Highwoods why not contact them. Even if you don’t take a look at their facebook page.

Colchester Town Centre  Colchester Food Coop – at the en-form office, 15 Church Walk, Colchester CO1 1NS. Wide range of eco goods and refills available to members. Members have 24 hour access to the shop. They also offer a bulk order service and an Organic box scheme through Bennison Farm. Website

Colchester Town Centre Repair Reuse Recycle CIC – 15 Queen Street, Colchester CO1 2PJ. Range of Eco products and refills. Open Saturdays 10am till 4pm  Website.

Colchester Town Centre The Natural Health Shop  27 Sir Isaacs Walk, Colchester, CO1 1JJ Sell refills of Ecover and Faith In Nature .

Layer de la Haye  Essex Wildlife Trust Abberton Reservoir – the visitor centre at the Abberton Reservoir visitor centre has a range of eco goods. See below.

No photo description available.


Maldon  SILO zero waste // refillery – 63C High Street, Maldon, CM9 5EP

Manningtree The Wholefood Store Manningtree –26 High Street, Manningtree, CO11 1AJ Website

Tiptree.REco Store –  Tower Business Park, Tiptree, Colchester, CO5 0LX
Well stocked and popular Eco store.

West MerseaFreds DIY Ecover filling station

Specialist Eco Traders

Woodview Gardens Eco friendly and plastic free garden products available for home delivery or from Farmers Markets and events locally. Based in Halstead.

Check Ecover filling stations as well.

Also check out Zero Waste near me  which lists shops throughout the UK with a search section.
Let us know if we have missed any. e-mail us at

Local Recycling Directory – Colchester Essex

After you have reduced, reused and repaired any items you buy the next option is to recycle what you have left. The first thing to do is to check out what recycling facilities are available through your Local Authority.

The next step is to see if any items not recycled through your local authority can be recycled somewhere else.
Check out Recycle Now for a comprehensive A to Z directory of how to dispose of items and the Love Essex recycling search facility. .

In Colchester and North East Essex the following local collection points can help you recycle even more. In some cases it will also help the local groups raise money.
– Please make sure your items are clean and dry
– Please don’t make a special journey to deliver by car

See something missing let us know at

*Baby Food Pouch Recycling

Baby food pouches under the Ellacycle scheme operated by Terracycle:

Acceptable Items (please ENSURE all items are clean – no residue product):

  • Baby Food pouches – any brand
  • Baby Food pouch caps
  • Ellas Kitchen (only- no other brands) snack wrappers
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG

Battery Recycling

Batteries don’t take up much space in landfill but are made up from hazardous materials and are a pollutant. Please recycle them through the numerous shop and supermarket recycling boxes. Basically if a shop sells batteries it normally has a recycling box.

*Biscuit Wrappers

  • All Brands of non savoury biscuit wrapper
  • All Brands of cracker wrapper
  • All Brands of cake wrapper
  • Rice cake packs

Collected by: 
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG
Tendring Primary School

Biscuit wrapper recycling info page:

Bra Recycling

Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust at the Visitor Centres

*Bread Bag Recycling

*Bread Bags (Plastic) – can be recycled at some supermarkets carrier bag recycling banks and also:
Acceptable Items
  • Any brand of bread loaf bag
The following items are not acceptable:
  • Baguette packaging
  • Bread roll packaging
  • Bagel, pretzel and crumpet packaging
  • Wraps, pitta breads, naans and garlic bread packaging
  • Croissants, brioche and pastry packaging
  • Teacakes, fruit loaves and scones packaging
  • Doughnuts, cookies and muffin packaging
  • Cake, cake bars and slices packaging
  • Pancake and waffle packaging
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG
Stanway Fiveways Primary School
Tendring Primary School

Cameras and Optics Recycling

Camera equipment and optics, including binoculars.

Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust

*Chocolate Bar and Sweet Packaging

  • Plastic chocolate and sweet pouches and bags
  • Chocolate and sweets multipack outer plastic packaging
  • Individual chocolate bar wrappers
  • Plastic chocolate block wrappers
The following items are not acceptable:
  • Breakfast, granola and energy bar wrappers
  • Aluminium foil, cardboard and paper wrappers. For example: individual foil and paper packets (like ROWNTREE’S® Fruit Pastilles or KITKAT® Biscuits) and cardboard tubes and boxes (like SMARTIES® or AFTER EIGHT®) are not accepted in this programme. These can be recycled via local council facilities.
  • Metal tins and rigid plastic trays or tubs. For example: QUALITY STREET® plastic tubs or DAIRY BOX® chocolate box packaging are not accepted in this programme. These can be recycled
    via local council facilities.
  • QUALITY STREET®wrappers as these are biodegradable via home composting.

Collected by:  
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG
Tendring Primary School

*Cleaning Packaging Recycling

Any brand of:

  • Fragrance twin pack plastic sleeves
  • Flexible stain remover powder packaging
  • Flexible cleaing product refill packaging
  • Flexible home cleaning wipe packaging
  • Flexible dishwashing tablet packaging
  • Outer Plastic sleeves
  • Dishwasher cleaner outer packaging
  • Foil inside dishwasher packaging
  • Flexible plastic dishwashing salt bags


Any brand of:

  • Plastic air freshener containers
  • Plastic air freshener caps
  • Plastic car air fresheners (except electric plug ins)
  • Flexible wipe packaging used for cleaning only
  • Flexible laundry washing capsules and pods packaging
  • Tinted fabric conditioner bottles and caps
  • Tinted rigid plastic tubs used for home cleaning
The following items are not acceptable
(Most items an be recycled through kerbside collection schemes)
  • Laundry detergent packaging
  • Toilet freshener packaging
  • Aerosols (recycle with kerbside can collection in many areas)
  • Plastic bottles and tubs (recycle with plastic collection in many areas)
  • Dishwasher liquid bottles, rinse aid packaging
  • Fragrance candles, reeds, plug ins and auto sprays
  • Soda Crystals packaging
  • Washing machine and oven cleaner packaging
  • Cardboard packaging (recycle with kerbside paper collection in many areas)j
  • Flexible wipe packaging not used for home cleaning (such as baby and beauty wipes packaging)
Collected by:
Braiswick Primary Apprentice drive, Colchester, CO4 5SE  Public collection point is outside the school pedestrian entrance on Apprentice drive
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG

Tendring Primary School

Coffee Pods Recycling


Nescafe Dolce Gusto

*Lavazzo Eco Caps –  This scheme is operated by Terracycle and
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS.  is a collection point

*Contact Lens Recycling 

*Contact Lenses and packaging:
Collected by:
Boots Opticians

Cork Recycling

For Recorked see: 

Collected by:
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

*Cosmetic Packaging Recycling

Accepted Items: All Brands of

  • Flexible plastic and metallic plastic tubes used for body creams, ointments or moisturisers
  • Flexible plastic packaging used for facial cleaning wipes
  • Eye shadow compacts
  • Lip and cheek, highlighter and bronzer sticks
  • Mascara tubes and wands
  • Lipsticks, lip glosses and lip balms

The following items are not acceptable:

  • Glass
  • Rigid plastic bottles, pots and tubs used for personal care unless not accepted by local council facilities
  • Flexible plastic tubes not used for personal care and as for moisturisers or body creams (such as hair care, shower gels, food and glue tubes)
  • Flexible plastic wipes packaging not used for personal care ( e.g. baby wipes and cleaning wipes)
  • Deodorant, body spray or perfume
  • Cardboard packaging (recycling through council recyc;ling)

Collected by:
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

Accepted Items: All brands of
  • Flexible single use mask packaging and the blue plastic film put on top of the tissue mask (used for personal care and beauty products)
  • Flexible plastic wipes packaging (used for personal care and beauty products)
  • Personal care and beauty product packaging caps, pumps and trigger sparays (rigod plastic bottles not accepted – recycle through council schemes)
  • Plastic pots and flexible plastic tubes (used for personal care and beauty products)
  • Hair colourant kits (except rigid plastic bottles and cardboard packaging)
  • Plastic roll on deodorants (aerosols not accepted)
Also check out:
Cosmetic empties are any container or item of cosmetics packaging, any brand
Collected by:
Origins counters in Debenhams.
Body Shop recycles any Body shop empty plastic bottles, tubs, tubes and pots.

*Crisp and Snack Packet Recycling


*Snack Packets (risps, nuts, popcorn and pretzels

  • Any brand of Crisp packet
  • Any brand of Crisp multipack wrapper
  • Any brand of nut packet
  • Any brand of pretzel packet
  • Any brand of popcorn packet
  • Pringle Tubes including plastic lid and seal Only (no other brands)
The following snack packs are also acceptable:
  • Quavers
  • Doritos
  • Hula Hoops
  • McCoy big crisps
  • Cheese Puffs
  • Onion rings
  • Monster munch type snacks
  • Pork Scratchings
The following items are not acceptable
  • Meat snack packets
  • Dried fruit packets

Collected by:
Braiswick Primary Apprentice drive, Colchester, CO4 5SE  Public collection point is outside the school pedestrian entrance on Apprentice drive
enform – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG
Stanway Fiveways Primary School
Tendring Primary School

Currency and Stamps 

Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust can process old or foreign coins and notes. They can be donated at visitor centres.  More info here: 

*Disposable Gloves

  • Disposable Latex Gloves
  • Disposable Vinyl Gloves
  • Disposable Nitrile Gloves
  • Disposable Cast Polyethylene Gloves
The following items are not acceptable
  • Non-disposable gloves
  • Disposable gloves that have not been used in a domestic environment
  • Disposable gloves that have been used with harsh chemicals or unhygienic substances
  • Any cardboard glove packaging (this can be recycled through your local council)
Collected by:

Gadgets and Phones (see also Mobile Phone Recycling)

Gadgets including mobile phones, tablets, iPods, games consoles, games and accessories, MP3 Players and satnavs.mists are part of this scheme.
Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust

Inhaler Recycling

Inhalers (Medical) only. Many chemists are part of this scheme.
Check for a local collection point here.


Old or broken jewellery and watches (including costume jewellery).
Collected by:
Essex Wildlife Trust

Light Bulb Recycling

Energy Efficient light bulbs only.

Collected by:
Robert Dyas, Colchester High Street

Mobile Phone Recycling

 Unwanted mobile phones can be sold through Sell My Mobile who appear to search all the other mobile phone and comparison sites to give you the best deal. Mobile phones have quite a lot of expensive raw materials that are pollutants so please don’t dump them even if they are not worth anything.

*Pet Food Pouch Recycling 

*Pet Food Pouches: Please ensure packaging is very clean and dry without any product residue
  • All wet food pouches
  • All pet treat flexible plastic packaging and pouches
  • All dry pet food flexible plastic packaging
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance.
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG

Printer Cartridges (Inkjets) Recycling

Inkjet cartridges only from HP, Canon and Epson

Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS  
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance
Stanway Fiveways Primary School

Razor Blades

Cab be recycled through Gillette by Freepost envelope. until 30th June 2020.
Details at

*Ring Carrier for Cans

Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS  
Braiswick Primary Apprentice drive, Colchester, CO4 5SE  Public collection point is outside the school pedestrian entrance on Apprentice Drive
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG

Spectacle Recycling (see also  “Contact Lens” Recycling)

Many opticians collect unwanted spectacles which are then recycled.

Collected by :
Boots Opticians
Bethell and Clark (for Vision Aid)
Specsavers  (for Vision Aid)  
Owen Aves

School Uniforms

Unwanted outgrown school uniforms

Collected by:
Essex Uniform Project

Tetra-pak Food  and Drink Cartons and Coffee Cups

In Colchester and the local area these can ONLY be recycled at large supermarkets using the special Tetra- pak recycling banks. Check for your local bank here

In Colchester that means the recycling bank areas at Asda, Sainsburys Tollgate anf Tescos at Highwoods, The Hythe and Tiptree.

*Toothbrushes and Oral Cleaning Recycling

  • Any brand of toothbrush
  • Any brand of electric and battery toothbrush heads
  • Any brand of toothpaste tube and caps
  • Any brand of toothbrush outer packaging (if this cannot be recycled through your normal kerbside collection)
  • Any brand of dental floss containers and outer floss packaging
Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the
main entrance
Rowhedge Recyclers -The Crow’s Nest, Regents Street, Rowhedge, CO5 7HG
Tendring Primary School  
Stanway Fiveways Primary School

More info on recycling toothbrushes etc here:

Water Filter Recycling

*The Following Brand and items only:
  • Aqua Optima Universal Water Filters
  • Aqua Optima Evolve 30 and 60 Day Water Filters
  • Aqua OptimaOriginal 30 and 60 Day Water Filters

Brita Filters only:

Collected by:
Many organisations check here, select others then Water Filters
Robert Dyas, Colchester High Street
Sainsburys Priory Walk, Colchester

Wool Recycling

For local Community Projects

*Writing Instrument Recycling

The following items are collected:
  • Any brand of pen, felt tip, mechanical pencil and eraser pen
  • Any brand of highlighter
  • Any brand of correction fluid pot and correction tape
  • Any brand of marker
The following items are not accepted
  • wooden pencils and chalk
  • glue sticks
  • erasers, rulers or other cutting objects that could disturb the recycling process
Collected by:
Brinkley Grove Primary School
Elmstead Primary School
Prettygate School Recycle Scheme –  24hr public access bin on Plume Avenue by the main entrance.
Stanway Fiveways Primary School
St Lawrence’s School, Rowhedge. Collected in a yellow bin is in the open lobby, before the locked doors into the school

The following items are collected:

  • Any brand of yougurt pouch and their caps

The following items are not accepted

  • Plastic yogurt bottles and pots•
  • Smoothie or food pouches•
  • Glass yogurt jars

Collected by:
en-form – 15 Church Walk Colchester CO1 1NS

More info on this type of recycling here:

*the above items are part of the terracycle Scheme:











Are You Guilty Of The Most Common Crimes to the Environment in Your Home?

Guest Post by Callum Dawson*

We all have our little bad habits, but how often do we consider whether they could be causing damage to the environment?  Following the findings from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change and global warming it’s clear that we need to do a lot more, collectively, to help remedy the damage that has been inflicted on Planet Earth.

And where better to start than in our own home! 

Boiling the kettle for too long or too full

One of the most common environmental crimes is boiling the kettle for too long or too full. 

Kettles actually use a lot of energy – enough to light a whole household – so the best thing to do is measure how much you’re going to need in your cup and then pour that cold water straight into the kettle for boiling. This way, you’ll stop second-guessing how much you’ll need.

 You could also look into some energy-efficient kettles!

Eating farmed meat

We’re not telling you to convert to a life of strict veganism, but just be mindful about your diet’s consequences on the planet. A diet that is based heavily on farmed meat – as opposed to the organic equivalents of the same meats – is one that props up a damaging industry.

In terms of environmental crimes, agribusiness has a lot to answer for – like hacking down countless acres of rainforest to make way for cattle farming (which then contributes to global soil depletion, not to mention the release of methane gases).

By going meat-free a few days a week, or just as much as you can, you and your home will make a monumental contribution to the cause.

Leaving the tap running

Remember to turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and while you’re scrubbing washing-up liquid into any pots and pans. The average European wastes around 250 litres of water a day. In America, it’s as much as 575 litres a day per household. (Now, if you have a dishwasher, that’s a great start – they use far less water than you’d use if you washed everything by hand in the sink.)

Buying and using single-use plastic bag

You might not see the connection between those plastic bags you use at the supermarket and the great, big, dangerously growing heap of plastic that is part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it’s highly likely that the plastic bags you use will eventually end up in the sea.

Bear that in mind when you’re out food-shopping, and invest in a couple of reusable bags.

 Wasting paper 

Many of us aren’t aware of the chain of events that paper-waste initiates. 14% of all global wood-harvest is used to make paper, so when you consider the scale of an operation which works to give you that piece of paper you just threw away, it really is eye-opening.

Remember recycling uses energy too! Be mindful of the amount of paper that goes into the recycling bin and go paperless where you can.


Smoking is not only harmful to your personal health, but the process by which cigarettes are produced is also harmful to the environment. The environmental cost of tobacco production.

In fact, smoking is an all-round no-no for the eco-conscious individual. The actual act of smoking releases pollutants like ammonia, nicotine, carbon dioxide, and other harmful compounds into the atmosphere. You shouldn’t need much persuading on this one.

Eating lots of fast food 

The fast-food industry is a major drag on environmental health, with a massive chunk of street garbage and waste being attributed to fast-food vendors. The transportation of fast food also contributes to the negative impact, and believe it or not, the process of making just one Big Mac results in anywhere between 1-3.5kg of CO2 emissions.

Change starts at home

Whether you live with a full family or by yourself, it’s vital that you do what you can to help the environment. The individual efforts all count for a collective impression, so every little really does help.

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.

Author Bio

Callum Dawson is a writer for Project Air Source, one of the UK’s air source heating technology providers.

Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush

Or at least your old ones.
Hot on the heels of last months successful Cables Amnesty the Colchester Farmers Market will be running an old Toothbrush Amnesty at the Colchester Farmers Market this Friday the 7th December.
En-form, the local environment charity who run the market will be collecting toothbrushes, toothbrush heads from electric and battery toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes for recycling under the terracycle scheme.
Andrew Wilkinson of en-form said ‘following requests from our supporters we decided to set up this scheme for items that cannot currently be recycled through the Council’s plastic recycling schemes. Toothbrushes and tubes are made of composite plastic and are not currently recycled through the Council schemes’.
In addition, you can also recycle your old biscuit wrappers and corks.
En-form will also be collecting these items at their office in Church Walk.
Full details of the Terracycle scheme can be found at

Choosing Reusable Cups and Bottles – Top 5 Initiatives to Fight Plastic Pollution Part 5

Image by Mimzy CC0

Guest Post by Erika Mastrorosa*

The final post in our series – if you haven’t read the others, please follow the links below for the full story about reducing the pollution associated with plastic production.

There are FIVE things we do to reduce our plastic footprint.

  1. Eliminating virgin plastic bottles
  2. Eliminating plastic packaging for food
  3. Using alternative mixtures in manufacturing
  4. Introducing a deposit return scheme
  5. Choosing reusable cups and bottles

Reusable Cups and Bottles

Recycling a takeaway coffee cup is not easy. In order to be leakproof and to retain heat, the cups are made of a mixture of plastic and paper, making the recycling process quite problematic.

99.75% of UK coffee cups don’t get recycled at the moment, but a growing number of retailers are now producing recyclable cups, while others are inviting customers to bring their own reusable mug

In the UK, Costa, Starbucks and Caffe Nero are encouraging consumers to choose environmentally sustainable options with rewards in the form of 20 to 50p discount or stamps on loyalty cards.

Costa has pledged to recycle 500 million takeaway coffee cups a year by 2020, working together with national waste collectors offering incentives for every tonne of takeaway cups collected.

One of the major issues of this recycling initiative is that takeaway cups can only be recycled in store, with only a small number of plants now processing used cups.

However, many of these chains are tackling the plastic pollution problem by participating in different initiatives. So-called ‘refill schemes‘ are now on the rise and have become a national campaign that aims at reducing the number of disposable plastic bottles. Cafes, shops and businesses have started to install water fountains to refill bottles for free. Pret a Manger and Costa – among many others – are participating in the initiative and many more companies are likely to follow.

The scheme even offers an app to locate the nearest fountain and to add refill stations on the map. The initiative will save you money and will help the environment. Why not be an active supporter of the change?

Fixing the world’s problems when it comes to pollution clearly requires more than a bottle return scheme or a campaign to promote reusable cups. However, not everything is lost. If governments, international and local companies and citizens themselves are truly dedicated to reducing plastic pollution, achieving  feasible environmental benefits is not an unrealistic task. We need to think carefully about the opportunities available to combat pollution. Modifying the direction of an entire economic system and the attitudes of its actors will be a slow process, but the mere fact that we are acknowledging our impact on the planet is a step forward to bringing together our efforts to reduce plastic footprint. There is still a long way to go, but at least these initiatives are paving the way to transform our production systems.

More Information:

Plastic Pollution Guide- The impact of plastic pollution on our Oceans ad what we can do about it

3 Ways To Mitigate The Impact Of Plastic Waste – A Leading Cause of Ocean Contamination and Global Warming

*Please note that the views are that of the author, not necessarily that of en-form.