Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Day 3: Supporting my neighbours in Essex

Photo courtesy of Essex County Council

Guess what! I've got some news and it is deliciously exciting.

Our neighbours are holding their very own Rubbish Free Week!

Isn't that fabulous.

Not my actual neighbours you understand. I know that would be exciting in itself, but I'm referring to our county neighbours, over the border in Essex.

So while I am battling with my conscience and my well-formed habits to test my rubbish throwing reflexes here in Suffolk, folk all over Essex are trying hard to slim their bins.

Essex County Council, in partnership with district and borough councils, has encouraged almost 600 residents to take part in the challenge to see how far they can cut down on the rubbish they produce for a week.

And the question they're asking residents everywhere is

"Can you go for one week without throwing anything in your bin?"

Yee-ah, what a challenge! We know what that's like don't we?

But hang on a minute. Where does that leave me?

I'm already struggling with my heavily embedded "do not make any rubbish" routine and seeing if I can go back to my trash-chucking ways this week. It's been bad enough with all the thinking I've been doing about landfill as well as discussing reducing, reusing and recycling.

Now there's even more pressure.

How can I even contemplate popping a yoghurt pot in the black bin after communications from elsewhere in the region?

I think it's a sign don't you?

So rapidly moving away from my own little bin - which by the way still only has a Weetabix wrapper resting in it so far - Essex waste attackers may be interested to know that Tesco are supporting the Rubbish Free Week and are providing information at their stores in Harlow, Basildon, Pitsea, Chelmsford (Princes Rd), Colchester (Extra at Highwoods) and Clacton.

And if there are any residents reading this blog from Harlow, Basildon or Pitsea, do go and have a gander at your local Tesco this week to try out their new automated recycling machines.

So please join me in wishing Essex residents loads of luck in the latest zero waste challenge.

The Essex Rubbish Free Week ends this Sunday 15th March. More information can be found at:

Photo credits: Tracey Chapman, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Waste; and Janette Potter, Chelmsford Borough Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Waste, with their reusable bags. Helped out by sales assistant Milo Patrick on the Fowlers & Jezard fruit and veg stall.


mrs green said...

Fab news and good luck to everyone in essex; I'm so excited when I see the slim your bin challenge travelling from county to county!

Good that tescos is behind the campaign too.

Transition Housewife said...

Hi Mrs A

Have you heard about the recycling project across the pond -

Check out movie number 2 - "Recycle or die"!!


Hi Mrs G - it is great to see it spreading around isn't it. I'll try and find out if there are any other local authorities doing the same thing later in the year. I'm sure with Gloucestershire having already done it as well as all those councils last year, there will be quite a few more. :-D

Hi TH - thanks so much for that link. I've just popped onto have a look and what a really brilliant site. I can't play the videos yet because I'm in a cafe in town, taking a break from my own four walls but I'm going to be rushing home very soon for a gander. :-D

Denise said...

I foolishly signed up for the Essex challenge and I'm finding it a huge struggle!

My total waste so far is not massively less than usual. We usually manage to keep our household waste down to one carrier bag full a week, and we've got about half a bag so far. What I have done differently is make even more effort to avoid buying items with plastic packaging.

My biggest problem is food packaging. I did a small amount of food shopping this week and tried very hard not to buy items that were excessively packaged. The thing that frustrates me is why do they have to wrap up cucumbers, swede, broccoli etc, in plastic? Tesco's lost my business for my fruit and veg this week and I got a naked cucumber, loose bananas and tomatoes and mushrooms in paper bags in the local market.

On Tuesday at County Hall in Chelmsford they held a Choose2Reuse event - people could bring in unwanted items to swap, and take away anything that was useful. I took along quite a few items, but did come away a couple of books.

I will continue after this week, but we need a major attitude change by retailers and their suppliers.

PS I really would love to see an end to the plastic window in window envelopes. What are they for? Why not just have a hole for the address (I'm sure that years ago that is what they were like).


Hi Denise - it's fantastic news that you've signed up for the challenge. And keep at it. It looks like you don't create much rubbish each week anyway and it is plastic packaging that gets in the way. If it wasn't for our local recycling facilities we would be in a similar position most probably.

It is frustrating about the window envelopes, but check this story's at least a positive step in the right direction.

Anyway, keep up the great work and do come back to let us know how you're getting on. And if you have any questions, please send them through :-D

Layla said...

WOW, Mrs A, great to hear about the good news from Essex!!

Awesome to see a big shop like Tesco cooperating, though I had hoped it would extend to the naked food also!!

And so relieved there is so little in your bin so far!!
/I was really dreading to read about all the horrible packaging etc winding up there!!:)/

Luv from Slovenia!! :) I wish zero weeks soon start up here too!!:)
Am thinking of launching my own for Earth's Day otherwise!!:)


Hi Layla - it really is great to see Tesco co-operating isn't it. Maybe naked food will come in time but being part of the greater awareness campaign is a fantastic contribution. I haven't checked my bin for a couple of days so I'm going to have a good poke about it later.

Good luck with zero waste initiatives in Slovenia...I am sure that with your enthusiasm it will follow and indeed Earth Day is a good starting point for promoting the message. :-D x

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