Thursday, 12 June 2008


Well my last update post was mainly about my war on overpackaging. The result has been the contents of our recyclable waste bin going down by about 50% which is brilliant.

In this update, it's back to the back to the black bin to assess progress as that is, after all what this is all about! I mentioned last time I was going to analyse the contents of my black bin waste and although I haven't been particularly scientific about it, I have been quite diligent in making sure nothing goes in there that could go elsewhere.

This meant no more lazy throw aways. Things like pots of cream with half the cream left in it, and old jars from the fridge with food still in - well it's much easier to chuck the lot in the landfill bin rather than washing out the containers and disposing of the contents, but this past fortnight I have waved goodbye to that habit. To be honest it is my conscience doing that now that I know more about landfill problems and I think I'm developing the same kind of aversion to throwing away recyclable items, as I have to littering.

Another part of my landfill reduction this past two weeks is unfortunately a bit less postitive and can't count as proper reduction at this stage. Here is what it's all about:

Recyclable rubbish more difficult to deal with

This is what I kept on one side this week, which I will normally put straight in the landfill bin. None of these things can be recycled in the recycling bin collection. There are Tetra paks here, and a variety of plastic bags - particularly salad and vegetable bags, and other food wrappers. At our local recycling facilty, there are recyling bins for many of these things. However, I have made the decision at this time that it's too much to deal with. I hate having all these things hanging around the house and I know that our family won't cope with fitting in a weekly trip to the recyling centre. The stuff will end up piling up, and it will need containers / boxes in the house to sort it all. A bit of a cop out perhaps, but I my own way of coping is to now comit to buy even less things packaged in bags I can't manage to recycle. I've started already in fact.

Coriander and flat leafed parsley by my back doorstep

Rocket leaves growing from seed

I haven't grown stuff for about five years, but it seems like an ideal time to start again with one or two things. I love salad and herbs and buy a lot, so that's what I've started with. We also have mint, thyme, and I'm growing tomatoes and peas too. I also intend to get more salad leaves growing in pots, having seen the quantity of salad bags we get through. We'll probably save quite a bit of money doing this as salad bags are not the cheapest of supermarket purchases.

Our black bin is a quarter full after 1 week - over 50% improvement

Back to something very positive - look at our tiddly amount of landfill bin waste in one week, compared to what it was before! The bin is only just a quarter full. Polystyrene packaging, an old barbecue tray, and bubble wrap are the main contents.

Contents of our compost bin after 2 weeks

One thing which has made a major reduction to the contents of the landfill bin has been the acquisiting of our compostable waste bin. Here it is after 2 weeks, ready to be collected and almost full. It makes me wonder how I have managed without one!

Our personal bottle bank is now better maintained and dealt with regularly
Yes, our personal bottle bank is still in existence, but now hidden away in a corner of the garden by the barbecue. I am even more scrupulous now about recyling glass, and all glass containers - even awkward to wash out chilli sauce bottles - are saved from landfill. It gets emptied regularly to make way for more.

So really, I' m feeling very pleased with all of this. There's still room for improvement, and I think things will improve, slowly but surely as we go along. But I reckon our rubbish has been reduced by more than 50% - which was the original target - so that's just fantastic!