With the UN Climate Change conference (Cop26) happening in Glasgow from Sunday 31 October to the 12th of November, Fraser Waugh caught up with Rene O’Reilly at the Penicuik Carbon Challenge (PCC) to talk about all things eco-friendly, sustainable, and how this project aims to educate residents on how to lead more eco-conscious and less wasteful lives.
How did PCC get started?
The Storehouse Penicuik sells goods that are good for people, the community and for the planet, always ethically sourced and local as possible. Everything we sell uses small-scale suppliers and short supply chains to ensure sustainability and traceability. Through this, and our customers shopping with us, we aim to be a pivot point in enabling people to live a more sustainable life.
What are some of the responsibilities you have at the PCC?
I deal with the zero waste lifestyles portion of Penicuik Carbon Challenge i.e. bicycles re-makery, the tool library, eco art classes, fixing and repairing normal everyday household objects, use surplus food to supply to Food Facts Friends and am involved in a variety of other community projects as well
How does someone go about volunteering at the PCC? What roles could they get involved in?
They can come to us directly at our premises in Penicuik town centre where they can share their ideas and what they are most interested in, so that they can share their skills and expertise with others who come in asking about getting help with that specific service that PCC offer.
It’s all own the volunteer’s own terms- if they want to do something we don’t currently offer we can facilitate this. And we are very open to suggestions- we have a space for this on sticky notes at the front our place on John street.
Tell us how you seek to be a hub for the community?
We see our location in the town centre as a marketing tool because it is essential for people to know more about what we do at PCC. By engaging with the community in this way at our premises we talk to a wide range of people that we wouldn’t usually, therefore widening our audience and opportunities for promotion.
What can people get involved in?
This is our autumn programme of activities which will be updated with new events taking place in the future, here’s what you could expect:
When people come into PCC they often ask if we would take…?
And the answer usually is yes! We do even if we haven’t taken anything in like that before! We take everything and anything, we’ll find a way to reuse/recycle it to be as useful as possible- to give it a second life. It is all about learning to repurpose seemingly useless items. These could be donations of bikes, tools, electronic goods that we have a specialist that PAT tests for us, materials for art classes etc.
As Rene has mentioned the PCC’s mission is to enable people to live more sustainable lifestyles within Penicuik and the surrounding areas. This is in parallel to two of Cop26’s goals- adapt to protect communities and natural habitat and working together to deliver climate change targets. Penicuik Carbon Challenge achieve this by adjusting people’s habits, working together and getting them active in the natural environment- all reducing their carbon footprint and taking steps closer to net zero targets.