Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Introducing Mrs Green and family

Say a big hello to Mrs Green and her family.

She lives in a semi-rural village in Gloucestershire and together with her husband, their daughter and the cat, she has agreed to sign up for The Rubbish Diet challenge.

Yes, we did need agreement from the cat, as she is a key contributor to food waste but we took a purr and a wink as a sign of compliance before letting her settle back to her cat-nap.

The family are at home for much of the time as their daughter is home-educated. They often have the opportunity to cook from scratch, which means that they are able to keep unnecessary packaging down to a minimum.

Being environmentally-minded, Mrs Green has made previous attempts to slim her bin but also being human, the frustrations with taking the kitchen peelings to the compost bin at the bottom of the garden on wet and soggy days have often led to it being sent off to landfill.

Combining problems with plastics and issues with Tetra Paks, the Green's weekly rubbish collection regularly amounts to one old-fashioned dustbin plus two swing-bin bags of waste.

With concerns for the environment being a key motivator Mrs Green has decided to go for it big time, with an immediate decision to try and cut all that rubbish in half.

They are already keen recyclers. After recycling glass, tins and paper through their kerbside collection, they hold on to their plastic bottles and card to take to their village collection point and to recycling centres further afield. Since completing the audit, Mrs Green is also pleased that recently Tetra Pak recycling has been introduced in the village and is already seeing a positive impact on her bin.

However the key problem is food waste, especially as Mrs Green is vegetarian, Mr Green isn't and Little Miss Green is just 7, which means that Mrs Green has a huge juggling act to pull together the nutritional needs of all the family, including the cat who also eats fresh food rather than tinned meat.

There's not much the family can do at present to reduce the cooked food waste, except for reduce portion sizes or perhaps invest in a Bokashi Bin, but the great news is that Mrs Green is now very committed to making regular visits to their compost bin and is more determined than ever.

And I don't think composting will be particularly difficult anymore, thanks to a new visitor, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last week. He and his friend can be found regularly hanging out in the vicinity of the composter and are always ready to help. And NO, I am not talking about Diarmuid Gavin of WRAP's compost campaign. No, this visitor is just a little more hairy than celebrity gardener Diarmuid.

But with this kind of help, I don't think there's much hope for successful composting, do you?

So while I work on her Rubbish Audit, please pop over to Mrs Green's pad and say hello. Apparently, there's a bit of a recycling party going on in celebration of Recycle Week.

But before you go, here is the best news ever. I am very pleased to hear that Mrs Green is also hooked on talking rubbish and has set up a dedicated blog to track her family's progress. Called My Zero Waste, you will find her regular musings plus loads of other useful information and news items that she's found along the way. Don't miss it, it's excellent.



John Costigane said...

I visited Mrs Green's site and found it a very good addition to your efforts. Animals and birds, in my case, can help solve the food waste problem. I fed local rooks and crows with bacon rind, chicken fat, beef scraps and they scoffed the lot in seconds. My Bokashi is now less important, though the run-off help the garden grow.




Hi John - I am so pleased that you've been over to visit Mrs Green. She's got a great site going there. I am convinced that she's going to make such a huge difference, not just to her own bin, but those of others. And you are right about the animals, great assets if you can use them.

John Costigane said...

Hi Karen,

The more people take up the zero waste challenge the better.
An interesting topic on The Little Green blog was a young student attempting to fully break down plastic bags, 3 months estimated. Once perfected, his design could form the basis of a home landfill kit (bokashi like). This would take care of most remaining household waste.
Cussons seem to be moving away from plastic wraps since 2 of their new soap products are in card boxes, an excellent result.




Hi John, yes I saw that. Very interesting indeed. If that solution can be rolled out on a wider scale, just imagine the impact. Great news about Cussons. ;-D

Jo Beaufoix said...

Brilliant. I'll be over to visit. Good Luck Mrs Green and family.


Hi Jo - Please do pop by. You'll love Mrs Green's site...someone else with whom to talk rubbish. BTW, I must catch up with you soon to get news about your progress :-D

Mrs Green said...

geesh, I didn't comment on this?

Sorry, Almost Mrs A. Thank you so much for your lovely piece about us. We're really getting into it already and I can't thank you enough for being our inspiration.......

You are a wonderful woman

Mrs G x


Thanks Mrs G - Glad to be of service and I think it's time that we officially set up our mutual appreciation club...you're wonderful too ;-D x

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