Making Rye sustainable


With a history of more than 30 years doing business in Rye, Sara and David Nixon know a thing or two about what support organisations need to operate successfully. This included restarting the Chamber of Commerce, which now is thriving under the current chair, Jane Brook.

Predating Rother District Council (RDC) recycling schemes, Sara identified a need for cardboard recycling and in 2006 started a scheme that enabled Rye businesses and households to dispose of used cardboard. This was in partnership with Smurfit Kappa, establishing a win-win relationship that eliminated waste and created an environmentally friendly recycled product.

Despite a pause in the service for a time, the scheme is now fully back in operation, allowing responsible businesses to save money at the same time as doing the right thing for the environment. Operated by and for members of the Rye Chamber of Commerce, high quality waste cardboard can be disposed of weekly for collection and recycling into “new” products. Waste disposal can be a costly problem for businesses, who have to use commercial services to serve their needs.

Environmentally friendly waste disposal simply adds more complexity for well intentioned businesses. In this context, initiatives such as this one being made available to chamber members can be invaluable.

In another area, Graham Ellis, of the Rye Community Garden and an environmental specialist and enthusiast, has taken it on himself to work with various hospitality venues in Rye to collect and compost used coffee grounds. He is looking at ways to expand this venture, perhaps involving more of the community at large.

More consumer focussed activities, such as clothing reuse (The Lyon, The Witch and The Wardrobe) and food refilling (The Kind Table) illustrate the wide possibilities that environmental care and sustainability can bring to entrepreneurs and consumers.

Increasingly, we are becoming more environmentally conscious, and at the same time governmental legislation, think banning single use plastics, is being introduced to require better use of resources to lower the impact on our environment. Rye, as a major tourist destination, could capitalise on this trend and demonstrate environmental leadership to residents and visitors alike. Why not build on these pioneering efforts from people like Sara, David and others to make Rye a better place to both live in, work in and visit?

Taken separately, many of these vital initiatives may seem small to some. They absolutely are not, but perhaps bringing them together and promoting and developing them in a more coordinated manner may help us all thrive – as well as helping the planet.

How about a campaign for a “Sustainable Rye”?

Image Credits: Jane Brook .

Previous articleHarleys and helping others
Next articleRaising funds with heart and soles


  1. Yes indeed to a more Sustainable Rye. The more networking we do the more effective we can be in achieving this. Please attend the Sustainable Forum meeting on March 12 3pm at Tilling Green Community Centre to share in discussions about how we can work together and synergise our efforts.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here