Wasteland & the true cost of Convenience. E8: Louise McCurdy

Wasteland & the true cost of Convenience. E8: Louise McCurdy

‘Purveyors of Found and Vintage Plastic Goods’

The sign on the shopfront of the True Cost of Con-Venience store in the Forest of Dean. An awesome play of words and perceptions by Dirty Beach collaborators Louise McCurdy and Chloe Hanks.  Louise is a fellow Oceans 8 Brighton consultant and has been creating informative environmental art from waste plastic since 2006. Her recent work Wasteland and Planet Care are the result of a new collaboration with photographer Alex Bamford.

Dirty Beach

As one half of “Dirty Beach” with Chloe Hanks, they created immersive, fully fitted supermarket installations that mimicked the visual language of large modern retailers but stocked only plastic waste recovered from the environment. Dirty Beach built nine installations in the U.K., Netherlands and Belgium including the Trucost of Con-Venience ‘Purveyors of Found and Vintage Plastics’.

dirty beach


Lou is now working with photographer Alex Bamford and can often been found in the environment with piles of plastic and every day items like a shopping trolley, washing machines and hoovers.  Wasteland is the result of this project and more information can be found on their websites in the links below.

Lou writes “My art delves deep into the damaging mind boggling environmental consequences of the plastic pandemic. We have created a series of striking photographs of a rusty shopping trolley found buried on Brighton beach, filled with plastic waste. The trolley and I have been photographed on beaches, hills, rivers and forests. 

It’s a powerful engaging visual comment on waste plastic highlighting the harmful effects on the environment, society’s rampant consumerism and our addiction to plastic. Plastic lasts forever: it’s not inert, it leaches into our food, drinking water, the soil, it’s in the air we breathe and it is in us.”


I love the humour and fun that Lou brings into her work. I wish there were more people using humour in their environmental messaging as I believe it really does have an impact.

Planet Care

In this episode I talk to Louise about the shell of a washing machine that she has in her front room. Since recording it, Alex Bamford and her have launched their Planet Care collection.

planet care

“Following on from our Wasteland project, Alex Bamford and I were asked to create visuals for PlanetCare, who’s filters capture the thousands of microfibres that leach from your laundry every time you use your washing machine.”

Louise and Alex were also part of our Big Pride Beach Clean and were there with me at 5.30am and with their hoover!

louise Mccurdy

Alex helped to document to huge amount of wate collected by Oceans 8 Brighton and the volunteers.  Louise then made this blanket of all the balloons we found!

louise Mccurdy

Sorry about the sound quality on this episode, it was one of my earlier recordings before I worked out how to get the levels right!  Or perhaps we were recording it from the depths of Wasteland!  I know you will love hearing about Louise’s journey, the other super interesting and amusing items she has found and how she has used her fun sense of humour to get environmental messages out there.

You can find more about Louise here:



Alex Bamford Photography

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Next episode in 2 weeks.  Please do comment and review (ideally in itunes) as it helps to spread the word of positive change.

Thank you!

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.


Follow socials to get the next episode as it is released.

E7: Setting Up The Country’s 1st Community Recycling Hub & Stories About Stuff

E7: Setting Up The Country’s 1st Community Recycling Hub & Stories About Stuff

Brighton Recycling Unpicked with Green Centre Founder Melanie Rees

It is VERY important that you follow instructions for your recycling as contamination causes HUGE problems….. “ Says Melanie. 

Brighton Recycling

Brighton Recycling is a hot topic.  I often hear ‘rants’ about the bins overflowing and complaints about what is or isn’t recycled in our city.  What is often overlooked is that in Brighton and Hove we have more options to recycle than anywhere else I know of.  We also have more zero waste shops per head in our city, so we arent doing too badly really!

Indeed accross the Green Centre, Magpie and City Clean over 60 different materials are recycled! I am also not aware of any other city that has a community recycling centre like the Green Centre.  Nor have I ever met anyone else who has dedicated 2 days a week for 13 years of their life to the community in quite a spectacular way as Melanie Rees has.

Who is Melanie Rees?

I recently caught up with Melanie in her home in Hove. An ex Head Teacher in special needs schools who I believe was also responsible for opening a chain of schools to support such needs.  An Asian Tsunami survivor and founder of the Brighton Green Centre, Oceans 8 Brighton and numerous other grass roots projects.  If that isn’t enough, Melanie also founded Day For Change, a national non-uniform day which is now run by UNICEF and is their most successful fundraiser to date.  In its first year, Melanie raised £57,000.00 for water pumps in Sudan with just the help of her student volunteers. All while also battling the incurable immune system illness, Lupus.

The Green Centre Brighton

The Green Centre is a grass roots environmental project focused on activities centered around One Planet Living which Melanie still runs along with a dedicated team of volunteers.  It will soon be on the move as the Green Centre Bus will launch this year (hopefully!).

Melanie is one of those humble yet uber inspiring people that just quietly gets on with changing the world one step at a time.  I feel totally honoured to be in the Oceans 8 group founded by her.   Melanie is an expert in facilitating groups of diverse people and gives up her time to help the planet asking for nothing in return. 

I am learning from her daily and hope to continue to do so.  We all have things to learn from all the people around us and by working together we can do so humbly.

You can find my interview blog with more tips from melanie here

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Find more about Melanie’s projects here:

The Green Centre Brighton

Oceans 8 Brighton

Podcast available on Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean and Apple Podcast.


Zero Waste Maman aka Claire Sumners – Podcast Episode 6: On Zero Waste Parenting

Zero Waste Maman aka Claire Sumners – Podcast Episode 6: On Zero Waste Parenting

Podcast Episode 6: Claire Summners aka Zero Waste Maman shares her top tips on parenting with less waste


Claire has two small children and yet still manages to produce very little waste and especially plastic waste.  I am not a parent but I know that parenting is a tough enough job in itself so Claire puts me to shame really with my struggles to reduce my plastic footprint. 


Like most of the people I talk to though, she is not superwoman, non-judgemental and certainly not perfect.  I love her upfront ‘say it as it is’ attitude and her passion for creating a better world for her children to grow up in.


I love the fact that her son says “the ocean has got a tummy ache”!  It is very cute but also a shocking sign of the times.  Claire was inspired by some old ‘make do and mend’ style books her mum had.  Despite no longer being with her, Claire is determined to make her Maman proud by doing what she can in her sphere of influence.  Inspired by Bea Johnson and the Zero Waste movement, Claire wants her children to grow up to be kind, wise and honest.


Claire’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and I know you will love this episode.  Please share to any parents who are wanting to reduce their impact of the environment.  Then follow Claire to find out more tips and tricks from her journey. 


You can find my tips for living with less waste here.

Podcast edited by the wonderful Chloe Aust

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond – Podcast Episode 5: On how beach cleaning changed her life

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond – Podcast Episode 5: On how beach cleaning changed her life

Podcast Episode 5: Caroline Bond aka Kittie Kipper talks about how beach cleaning has changed her life

Kittie Kipper aka Caroline Bond is a fibre artist beach comber and gardener.  Join me in a beautiful garden in Seaford where Caroline works and listen out for the birds signing in the background!

Caroline talks to me about how she got into beach cleaning and became one of the first to help spread the #2minutebeachclean campaign.  Her journey from gardening to becoming a fibre artist creating amazing creatures from a bunch of old rope.

We talk about how the ocean has helped her mental health which is a powerful story and I am an avid believer in this.  The ocean and indeed nature connection are vital parts of our DNA and connecting with it is an essential part of our survival and that of the natural world.

She tells me about getting on with her beach cleaning while her husband catches the surf.  How we need to connect with the waste that we produce and how beach cleaning has changed her diet and her whole life.

We talk about the people who inspire her including Sylvia Earle and Cal Major who are also a huge inspiration to me.

I brought Caroline a big bag of old rope back from my paddle in Scotland after recording this episode and I for one will be avidly watching to see what she creates with it.

Catch up on previous podcast episodes

I am having conversations with people who are pioneering positive change for the environment.  Every day heroes who have decided to take action.  People who are challenging the status quo and redifining whats possible.  

Podcast Episode 4: Cat Fletcher, The Resource Goddess

Podcast Episode 4: Cat Fletcher, The Resource Goddess

Episode 4: Cat Fletcher, the Reuse Goddess on all things Reuse

Reuse – you know that thing that is above recycling in the waste hierarchy!

I met up with Cat outside in a cafe and we chatted away for ages about her favourite subject – Reuse.  Cat is a force to be reckoned with and a true environmental hero.  She beat David Attenborough to number one in the Resource Magazine list for top contributors.  She is the co-founder of Freegle (Free Giving Locally Easily), Tech TakeBack and the Waste House.  She has been tirelessly working at reducing waste for over 20 years.  She is a total fountain of knowledge and I am certain you will learn and enjoy listening.

To Find more about Cat:




There is a question that got edited out due to background noise and accidentally overlooked on edit.  I asked her who inspires her.  It will be obvious where that question should have been!

Podcast Episode 3: Harriet’s of Hove Plastic Free Pantry

Podcast Episode 3: Harriet’s of Hove Plastic Free Pantry

Episode 3:  Harriett’s of Hove Plastic Free Pantry.

This episode finds me sitting on the floor of the stock room at Harriet’s of Hove: Plastic Free Pantry with the super inspiring shop owner and NHS Sustainability Ambassador Harriet.  We talk about sustainability in healthcare, plastic free July, changing your life and following your passion.  I couldn’t believe that Harriet still does her 12 hour nursing shifts whilst running a zero waste shop business.  I was fascinated to hear her story about juggling life as a nurse and a shop owner.  She is a true inspiration for showing what is possible if you set your heart and mind to something.  I asked her what sustainable healthcare looks like.  She tells me about the amazing whale mural in the shop and how talking to it keeps her sane???!!!

It is the first shop I have seen that sells refillable beer and loads of other novel and exciting things! 

If you are in Brighton and Hove definitely pop in for an experience that for me is so much more than a zero waste shop, but a community hub and a friendly face. 

Harriet says “It is all about millions of people doing it imperfectly rather than a few doing it perfectly.”


Find out about the shop here:

Shop Website 





Harriet mentions the following in her conversation: 

Store Brighton 


CleverGreen Festival