Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand up and give a huge round of applause for Mr & Mrs Green and Little Miss Green over in the Forest of Dean.
Do you remember when I invited them to have a go at The Rubbish Diet at the beginning of May and they took their first steps towards slimming their bin? Mrs Green had been worrying about her rubbish, so I sent her off to do an audit of her bin.
They began analysing their rubbish and weighing-in and finding solutions to cut down on their waste. They hunted down new recycling options and pondered new ideas at home. They looked at their weaknesses and played to their strengths, agreeing for Mr Green to do the compost run and Mrs Green to sort out the tins. They even set up a website to chart their progress at myzerowaste.com, where they also host regular competitions and offers.
They were getting on so brilliantly that within two weeks...just two weeks...of having started the challenge, I suggested to Mrs Green that they step up a level and hold their very own Zero Waste Week. Oh the relief, when she said yes, or rather when Mr Green said yes! No councils needed, no-one in authority to give them permission, just the Green Family honing in what they set out to do, with their Zero Waste Week set for the first week of September.
Oh the excitement!
But get this, it gets even better....because....Mr & Mrs Green have been having tea with the invaluable waste department people at Gloucestershire County Council who were already planning their own Zero Waste Week for the whole county in January.
And even better, they are launching the information during the Green's very own Zero Waste Week challenge.
....And even, yes EVEN better, they are so impressed with the Green's lack of rubbish that they have asked them to be Gloucestershire's shining lights, as the family that will inspire others.
Isn't that the most amazing story and I am so looking forward to tracking their progress. I know that Zero Waste Week will be a breeze for them and it is so fantastic that they will be able to tell their story to the whole of Gloucestershire.
So, if you're in their area be sure to keep a look out for the Greens. You'll recognise them easily, they'll be the ones with no rubbish.
I feel my work here is done and has been for a while. The Greens are really flying and deservedly so. They have worked really hard at slimming their waste.
But what we need now are people to take up the challenge all across the country and tell their councils that they are doing so. Don't worry, they won't think you're batty, they will be delighted to have local champions on their doorstep. Suggest they might want to run a Zero Waste Week too. After all, it happened in Bath & NE Somerset and is happening again on 29th September. It's happened in Bury St Edmunds and it will soon be happening in Gloucestershire.
I suppose this is simply a call to arms for people to put their hands up and say, "I'll give it a go" regardless of whether your local authority is running such an initiative. Even if you don't think you can aim for Zero Waste, why not try going for 50% and if you think that's too much of a challenge try just 10%.
If you know anyone who might be interested in joining in the challenge, email this post to them using the links below. Please spread the word on the blogs and forums to rally support behind the Greens and Gloucestershire. The more people who are watching and inspired, the better. And if you are inspired, email your councillors and your local waste departments as well.
Oops, I feel like I'm starting a campaign.
You'll be surprised how easy it is to put your bin on a diet and anyone can have a go, whether they are green or not (no pun intended), and whether you're at home or work. The best thing is, it's a cheap way of being green and helping to reduce the amount of methane produced from rubbish that's dumped in landfill, especially as methane is regarded as 21 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
You don't need a blog, but if you have one that'll be great, you can join us in writing about your experiences. If you want help setting up a blog to track your challenge, Mr & Mrs Green are happy to help out.
So let's try and do for rubbish what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners...make our lives much better. The Rubbish Diet may be crap for school meals in the traditional sense, but it's a real winner for bins everywhere!
And on that note, let's give a standing ovation for the Greens in Gloucestershire and wish them luck with a special Rubbish Bag singsong. But I must warn you, the overall performance is much better than the lyrics.