Blimmin' 'eck. I've got here. One year old today.
I never thought that would happen you know. The blog was only meant to last for eight weeks, as a simple diary for my bizarre Zero Waste challenge. After that I was expecting to take a bow and booger off gracefully, back to what I do best...minding my own business and avoiding the housework.
But there was something about rubbish that got me hooked, and after eight weeks I realised that actually I was only halfway up the rubbish heap and there was so much more to experience. So being keen to see what life was like on the other side, I thought I'd blog on.
And as I carried on talking rubbish, I got even more inspired as I kept bumping into some real inspirational folk on the way. It seemed that we were all after the same thing, to see a world with less waste and one where people can enjoy more sustainable livelihoods.
So, I'm glad I did carry on...because I wouldn't have missed this for the world. You see, I might be celebrating a one year old blog - or indeed the blogaversary of my rubbish challenge - but in truth, I am celebrating the diversity and the wisdom of the folk who have inspired me, mentored me and put up with me along the way.
So many people talking rubbish, from all over the world.
So without further ado, I have the pleasure in giving up the floor to some amazing people who have taken the time to put together some inspirational messages to encourage all those who wonder whether it's worth the effort.
It's a long post and the messages are in no particular order. But please do take the time to read each and every one,....starting with my wonderful friend Ruby, who I must thank for inspiring me to blog in the first place!
"One year of The Rubbish Diet! Congratulations Almost Mrs Average! It seems a long time since I was trying to foil your attempt at zero waste by secretly stashing plastic coke bottles in your handbag. Not only did my attempt fail, but soon afterwards you were looking through my bins too and had me joining in!
For me the penny really dropped when you visited the landfill site last summer, and the sheer horror of the impact waste is having on our environment hit home. You said that adding your own one bag of waste to the site felt like littering, and you're right - that's what landfill is! I was honoured to be the first to take up the Rubbish Diet Challenge, and the progress I made has been a lasting change. There are things I'll never feel the same about again. Plastic bags, for example - I never use them now in the supermarket, and shop locally as much as I can. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and sooo many others.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that some time sooner rather than later during 2009 there will be a copy of the book, The Rubbish Diet sitting on my bookshelf - it will be an invaluable guide to have for both reference and motivation. Keep up the good work Almost Mrs A, and well done on having such a fantastic blog too :-)"
"The fine words that have fallen out of the fingers of Karen Cannard and flowed from her Rubbish Diet website have lifted many a dark day. She says it 'like it is' and puts her non-purist perspective from a regular everyday gal, into many eloquent words, never overspent. I believe that's the most effective approach to take when encouraging others to live with more thought for the planet and the imprint we all leave and I look forward to what her pen will give up in the year ahead."
Tracey Smith, Author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas and Founder of InterNational Downshifting Week, UK.
"We are what we waste - and the megatons of trash that our careless world leaves in its wake are a stark indictment on our whole society. If we don't change, future generations will curse us for our selfish habits - so thanks very much, Karen, for helping to pioneer a better way. Happy Year One."
John Naish, Author, Enough: breaking free from the world of excess. UK
"First, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs A on her one year blogaversary. It was this blog, alongside a couple of other things in our life that gave us the kick up the derrière we needed to begin our own zero waste journey.
Throughout our six months of zero wasting we have learned two important things. The first is that we can all do something. We like to get across a message of hope and positivity and share our belief that every one of us who does 'our little bit' has a great collective impact. Let's not focus on the things we can't do, or the things that are beyond our control; let's work together to do what we CAN do and celebrate our diversity. In this way we can take responsibilty for our own impact on the environment.
Secondly, the mantra that keeps us going through all of this is 'There is no such place as away'. When you throw something away; where does it go? It doesn't magically disappear; it goes into a hole in the ground, a ship to China, an incinerator or onto the ocean floor. When you keep that image in your mind, it helps you to make better choices at the supermarket!"
Mr & Mrs Green and Little Miss Green at MyZeroWaste.com, UK
"Not everyone can reach zero waste as Karen has or give up plastic as I have, but we don't expect you to! Start where you are. Take the small steps first and see where they lead. Keep your mind and heart open to the possibilities for change that exist around us every day. And let yourself be an example to others. All of our changes together can make a huge difference!"
Beth Terry www.fakeplasticfish.com, U.S.A
"Years ago, I hadn't imagined to know, although virtually, a person like you, far from my country, and I never imagined that you would have inspired me, in the small daily gestures. Suddenly I felt the world close to me with the same problems, same ideas, the same desire to do even better, the same love for people and environment around. I learned a lot from you and all those who comment on your posts every day. A blog is much more powerful than a book, a story that goes through the TV because it isn't filtered and is written from the heart. Blogpost is a more human and immediate writing, not passing through other people and undergoing revisions. But your blog is also fun and it communicates a way of feeling very positive, what we all need on a time when we are realizing the extreme superficiality that characterized our lives up now.
Thanks so much to you and all the bloggers who have made the world better until now. I hope to continue reading these wonderful stories changing my life day by day!"
Danda, dandaworld.blogspot.com, Italy
"I used to be that person you'd see throwing the can of diet coke out of the car window....Yes! People can change, I'm the living proof! One step at the time, until the thing you changed becomes a habit, and then take on a new challenge...and it does become in some way, a hobby, to find new ways to not make waste or to save energy. I hope you'll get as much pleasure out of it as I did, and still do!"
Esther, Je Me Recycle, France
"The old expression goes "where there's muck there's brass" but where there's waste minimisation there's gold! I met Karen a year ago now, preparing for St Edmundsbury's first Zero Waste Week and gold is what I found! When I was interviewed for my job I talked about how waste minimisation was my favourite aspect of waste management, so when my manager suggested we run a zero waste week I jumped at the chance.
It was my first project and I attacked it with gusto, organising waste free lunches at schools, signing up businesses to reduce packaging and plastic bag use and recruiting nearly 200 residents to commit to reducing their waste. The cherry on top was something I couldn't have done personally and that has far outlived the original promotion: The Rubbish Diet.
It has served as a source of inspiration for so many people (including me) , I feel proud to have been there from the start. Mrs Average's quirky stories and great advice have continued to keep people enthralled, while my newspaper cuttings are starting to yellow. Whilst the recycling markets tumble and everyone flounders in an uncertain economy, it's more important than ever to reduce waste right at the beginning and not spend our precious pennies on unnecessary packaging and landfilling.
So here's to The Rubbish Diet, still relevant, still interesting, still warm and funny- long may it continue!
I like to talk 'bout recyclin'
It's a subject I find so excitin'
No matter what company I'm in;
I'll rifle in their bin
And always find something worth havin'!"
Kate McFarland, Norfolk County Council, UK
what good luck to celebrate your big day
with President Obama now leading the USA
the world is now in an awful mess
how long it'll last is anyone's guess
so everybody don't be dim
let's not leave it all to him
rubbish diets, Bagladies, Mrs As and Mrs Gs
everyone is needed now
let's save the planet - we know how
it may seem hard to give up cars ,
planes, or fashions, hours in bars
but for our kids, it must be done
so let's get going - and make it FUN!"
Peter Doodes, Fr Peter's Environmental Notes, UK
"Tips: - Keep checking with your local council as to what type of plastics etc they will recycle not only in the doorstep collection but also at the Household Recycling Facility. Mine collects all types 1 & 2. But at the HRF I can take types 4, 5, and 6. As well as tetrapaks, batteries."
Maisie, 2009ouryearofgreenerliving.blogspot.com, UK
"In order to make things change, it’s really vital that everyone feels there is something they personally can do to make a difference. Otherwise it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by all that needs to happen and by the complexity of some of the issues. This is the real strength - and beauty - of Almost Mrs Average and the Rubbish Diet. It’s full of accessible advice, fun and overflowing with enthusiasm and energy - just like Karen herself, in fact! And it’s not just about rubbish - it’s also to do with thinking about what we consume and how much. Imagine how much less we would spend and have to lug home if only we didn’t have to buy all that packaging and products that have to be replaced every 5 minutes. We all really can make a difference and this is an easy, inspiring and brilliant place to start.
PS. My tip of the week: cut back on all those boring household cleaning products – two or three basic ones is mostly all that’s needed. And always use a lot less than they say on the box – especially with washing powders. It works just as well!"
Fran Crowe, Artist, www.flyintheface.com, UK
"You know, it's barely registered with me that you've only been going for a year with The Rubbish Diet. You sound so settled! Yours was the first zero-waste blog I came across and you're a tough act to follow :) Here's to more years and less waste - cheers! So, what do I want to add to your mass blogaversary post? Can I recycle my thought from a comment a few days ago? (Ha ha...)
One of the most important things you can do as you learn about reducing your waste is spread the word, even if it's only to a few people, or those you think might be receptive. Don't worry about the hardened "bin everything" types (although by all means have a go!), just do what you
can. Not being able to reach everyone is no reason not to try to reach anyone at all."
Katy, aiming-low.blogspot.com, Freecycle Coordinator, Norwich, UK
"I think I can sum Grant’s past up by saying that he was a teenager who regularly threw his McDonalds cup and burger wrapper out the car window. If that isn’t the picture of blatant disregard for the environment, I don’t know what is. Fast forward a decade, and the photo of us holding our respective garbage bins (we’re very competitive that way) illustrates almost 7 months of garbage produced so far in the Clean Bin Project. For us, the thing that helped us truly stop buying “crap” and cut down on our waste was publicly telling people about what we were doing. Don’t be ashamed. Make a pact with a friend that you will do one thing to reduce waste – not using plastic veggie bags for example – then rely on each other to make sure you are staying true to your word. We are all responsible for our own actions, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone."
Jen Rustmeyer, The Clean Bin Project, Our Consumer Free Year, Canada
John Costigane, Home Zero Waste, Scotland, UK
"Inspiration is all it takes – sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes it has to develop. I’ve learnt to be patient, open minded and positive. Ask questions, talk to people and mention the issues carefully – its amazing how many others are interested and will make small changes with hardly any effort. As Karen taught me – you don’t have to be a fanatic but if we all make a little effort, its better than us all making no effort – and trust me, she’s a good teacher! Watch Wall-E if you want to see what the earth will look like if we don’t try……."
Alison Williams aka Baba, The Wirral, UK
The Beaufoix family have not looked back from our bin slimming venture. Miss E (8) and Miss M (3) have taken the whole thing on board and know exactly where to put apple cores, paper etc and if they're unsure they ask. Our compost is coming on nicely and has been a major part of our bin slim, and I am planning on planting some potatoes and onions soon in an attempt to begin supplying our own veg and therefore slimming our bin and our purse even more.
Our bin "Stinky Simon" is not quite Saintly Simon yet but is definitely sweeter and tends to be about half to three quarters full every 2 weeks which is amazing. We never have to make extra trips to the tip now and are much more careful about picking goods with more friendly packaging or none at all.
Another result of our bin slim is that my parents too are much more environmentally aware and have also acquired a compost bin.
Thank you so much Almost Mrs Average, you're an inspiration and a star. Looking forward to the next year of bin slimming and shrinking our carbon footprint.
Recycling behaviour is continuing to evolve across the UK and statistics shows that for the first time the overall amount of waste created is decreasing in many areas. There is no stronger evidence to prove that those little individual decisions to reuse plastic bags, buy loose vegetables and home compost your tea bags really do contribute to significant environmental benefits.
Thanks for all your work over the past year and lets hope that 2009 will take the Rubbish Diet to the next level. Well done Mrs Average.
Daniel Sage, Strategy and Policy Manager for St Edmundsbury Borough Council
And last...but most definitely not least...a message from a 7 year old boy, who I love, adore and cherish and who's got something to tell the whole wide world on behalf of himself and his 4 year old brother.
"Recycle what you can, eat all the food you buy and put more things in your compost bins."
Joseph Cannard, the bin defender, Suffolk, UK
Well, I don't think I can say fairer than that!
The only thing that's left to add, is to thank you all for inspiring me on this journey and playing your own part in what's been a life-changing experience for us all.
Goodness knows what will happen in the next twelve months...but I'm sure it will be exciting.
Here's to a fantastic year in reducing waste, from whatever angle you look at it. And I'm going to leave you with one of my favourite memories of the year, of which Ruby reminded me last night.
She sent me this, a photo of the occasion I refused a carrier bag while shopping in Harrods Food Hall. Instead I pulled out a reusable bag from my handbag. The only thing I can't believe is that I happily paid £8 for four pieces of fruit....just FOUR pieces of fruit. How things have changed!
So while you enjoy the photo, I'm off to celebrate by listening in to Tracey Smith's Internet radio show on Apple AM, Slow Down and Green up (every Wednesday at 10.00am) ...and then I'll head off to the market for some local fruit with some down-to-earth prices!
Thanks so much for joining in and huge thanks too to all you lovely people who follow the blog, whether you lurk silently or dare to leave comments, as well as all those bloggers in my sidebar - I'll be back with some more fun and games tomorrow!
Lots of love
Mrs A xxx
oooohhh......I nearly forgot one of my favourite You Tube videos below: