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Be smart and make a swap

Residents in Aylesbury are being encouraged to make one small change in their lives to benefit the environment, as part of a new initiative being supported by the council.

Swapping your car for travelling by bike or foot, changing to reusable and refillable containers in your home or making use of your local nappy library – all of these are smart swaps – ideas we could all commit to in order to help the environment.

The Sustainable Smart Swaps initiative is being launched by voluntary group, Sustainable Aylesbury. Its aim is to encourage people to think about just one simple change they could make to live in a more environmentally friendly way and help to reduce their carbon footprint.

To launch the campaign residents in the Aylesbury area are being invited to take part in a competition to make a smart swap and to then share it on the Sustainable Aylesbury website with a photo and/or video showing what they have done. Prizes of gift vouchers for Aylesbury Eco Stores are up for grabs and in addition the shop will be offering 10 residents the opportunity to choose a free item from a selected list.

The Smart Swaps initiative is being supported by Buckinghamshire Council. Aylesbury Community Board’s Improving the Environment action group has been working closely with Sustainable Aylesbury and other group members address topics related to the environment. When Sustainable Aylesbury outlined their Smart Swaps plan, the community board was keen to get involved in helping to promote it and spread the word about the benefits for everyone. The council’s Waste Team has earmarked Buckinghamshire Recycles funding to provide the vouchers being given as prizes in the competition.

Sian Cullen from Sustainable Aylesbury said:

“Lots of people want to do their bit to help the environment but may not know where or how to start. Our initiative is designed to help by giving ideas and tips on what you can do. From small changes to much bigger ones, there are lots of things we can do. If everyone started by committing to making just one permanent swap, who knows what further changes it could set in motion? It could have a huge impact.”

As part of the initiative, smart swap ideas are split into three categories - Good, Better and Best. The website breaks down swaps by themes like kitchen, bathroom and transport, making it easier for residents to decide which swaps are best for them.

Sian continued:

“Making a smart swap doesn’t have to be expensive; there are lots of ways we can make a swap with little or no cost. Instead of spending lots of money on reusable containers, why not wash out an old ice cream tub or reuse a biscuit tin to store items?”

Steve Bowles, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said:

“This collaboration between the council and a local organisation focused on environmental change shows what can be achieved when we work together. Climate change and global warming may seem like topics that we as individuals have no control over but initiatives like this show that we can all play a part in bringing about change and our collective efforts, however big or small can make a real difference.”

To find out more about Sustainable Smart Swaps, including how to enter the competition, visit the Sustainable Aylesbury website.