Orkney’s Green Shoots

13th November 2018

A famous muppet – Kermit the frog actually – once sang that ‘It’s not easy being green.’ But as the team at our Orkney service prove on a regular basis, it’s really not that difficult.

We work hard across all our services to ensure our activities are as environmentally friendly as possible but the green shoots are particularly strong in the far north. If there’s a way to save energy, recycle or just make better use of resources, the Orkney team will find it.

The shared spaces in our supported accommodation at Kirkwall and Stromness are full of plants, helping offset C02 emissions and increase oxygen levels. And our service users are also encouraged to have plants as a way of helping them settle into their new homes.

When it comes to cooking, the team receive donations from the Fareshare Foodcloud initiative in Orkney which gives them access to Tesco produce otherwise destined for landfill. That helps our young people eat healthily for very little cost with any leftover food offered to staff with animals at home that can use it.

Staff also often prepare their own healthy meals in the shared kitchen area, passing on good habits to our young people. Carboard boxes are recycled or given to service users for packing belongings when moving on to their permanent tenancies.

Service users are offered surplus furniture by staff before donating it to local charities which can make a huge difference to a young person trying to budget for items they need for their new homes.

Other bright ideas include using low energy light bulbs or recyclable fluorescent lighting provided by the council and staff are vigilant when it comes to turning off lights and saving electricity.

The team buy Fairtrade tea and coffee and only use the water they need rather than boiling a full kettle. One colleague even donates cans for recycling to a lady who makes craft items from them!

Both premises have a ‘sharing cupboard’ where unwanted food and toiletries can be used at no cost, helping reduce waste and assist those on low budgets.  This cupboard can be stocked with unwanted goods from Foodbank donations, toiletries that service users know they won’t use or staff donations.

As the Orkney team have shown, even small steps can make a big difference to the energy and resources we use, so the message to all our staff and service users is, it’s easy being green.

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