Sunday, 8 March 2009

Pondering rubbish

Blimey. Look what happened last week. I did so much thinking, by Friday my brain hurt so much I disappeared into oblivion, not even leaving an "au revoir".

What's been weighing on my mind is this week's challenge. This time last year I was nervous. The prospect of doing a Zero Waste Week and trying to throw nothing away for seven days seemed difficult enough, but the idea of a Maximum Waste Week, which is what I've got planned for next week, seems even harder somehow and is pushing a whole range of awkward buttons that a ZWW never did.

Don't get me wrong. Even though we are good at keeping our rubbish very low, I haven't become so obsessed that I panic if we throw away more than our regular monthly carrier bag's worth. I've learned to accept that some things happen that are just out of my control and it doesn't matter in the great scheme of things.

Indeed take the other week,when the lovely folk at Abel & Cole sent me a free range chicken to try out. Of course I am always grateful for free food, especially if it's of good quality and has been ethically produced, but as I got ready to put it in the oven, I saw something rather scary poking out from between its legs.


Yes, blimmin' giblets.

I'm sorry, I know I'm the squeamish type - and even typing the word is making me feel ill - but confronting such things, particularly in an unexpected manner makes me feel positively sick.

I tried my best. I closed my eyes, stuffed my hand into the crevice and yanked them out to cries of "eurgh, yuk and ick". It was a scene that resembled a challenge from "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here", but in my very own kitchen. Following the momentary madness I put them in the box and popped them in the fridge, thinking that I'd ring Mrs Green over at MyZeroWaste for advice on how to deal with them. But I was in denial. I didn't really want to know how to deal with giblets so in the fridge they stayed until all I could do was throw them away.

But the giblets were only part of the story. The afternoon that I cooked the chicken, Mr A was three hours late from work. By the time he arrived home the chicken was so shrivelled it looked more like a poussin and as for me, my tiredness had left me in a careless disposition, culminating in opening a cupboard door to pull down a couple of plates and knocking over several cups and other assorted crockery. I could only watch helplessly as they tumbled out of the cupboard, all in slow motion, and smashed the vase and glass that stood on the worktop below.

All wrapped up in a couple of bags and placed in a cardboard box for good measure, the broken bits went in the bin along with a couple of dirty nappies left by some little visitors we had entertained that week.

And I never thought about it again, until a lady got in touch to see if I'd had the opportunity to write a blogpost about the Abel & Cole chicken. How she laughed when she heard my tale of woe. I think she understood how the misadventure would not have been the fairest review of what should have been a delicious wholesome meal.

So you can imagine that the amount of rubbish we threw out that week had not just doubled, it had probably quadrupled.

Throwing away the fall-out of an unexpected set up unfortunate circumstances is one thing. However this week's challenge is another.

This week's challenge is going to be difficult indeed, a Maximum Waste Week eh! Trying to throw away as much as I can. At face value, it might seem simple. Throwing away rubbish is so easy isn't it. After all, I never used to give it any thought at all. But having spent a year of reducing, reusing and recycling and changing our shopping habits to suit our local recycling facilities, can I really go against all that, even for just one week.

It would mean changing habits that have been normalised into everyday behaviour, so much so that everything we do is now automatic. And with all I've learned during the 15 months, there is also the issue of responsibility to address. Having visited landfill last year and understanding why we have to reduce our waste, will I really be able to go back to throwing away food waste and the stuff that we used to bin, now knowing that most of it is recyclable?

That's why I feel nervous and it shows that knowledge and awareness are crucial tools that underpin the waste management issues that affect the UK.

And I can add to that the importance of respect.

Respecting the environment at large, and recognising that our actions have a wider implication on the climate, other countries, other species and our future generations.

Oh dear it looks like I'm doing a lot of thinking again! And you all know where that gets me!

And just before I go to the shops too.

Yes, It's time to head to the supermarket for my first challenge and see if I can fill my trolley with a whole load of rubbish for me to deal will.

Sounds easy in principle, but will it be so easy in practice?

I'm already wondering whether I can really leave my reusable bags at home and pick up some flimsy plastic bags at the checkout. You'll have to come back tomorrow and find out. In the meantime, please wish me a whole dose of luck!

Oh to think I'm doing all this to raise money for Comic Relief.

After all my thinking and worrying, I'll be more in need of Pain Relief! So please feel free to donate any cash to cover the cost of a few packets of Paracetamol here. You can be sure it will go a long, long way and you will be supporting a very good cause indeed.



Karin said...

Sorry to hear about your chicken. I don't have a problem with removing giblets, althoguh I'm not virtuous enough to turn them into stock or gravy. Are you still using your bokashi bucket, in which case they could have gone in there.

Husbands late home for dinner are a tricky matter, but if he's very late I'd have served it all up and heated his in the over when he came home, perhaps adding the warmed up gravy afterwards. Very annoying when you've made something special, but they can't always help it.

What is the point of Maximum Waste Week? I think I'm missing something here, but it does sound like a chance to ditch items hoarded to reuse that you haven't got round to reusing in a long while.

Have you got any live chickens yet? The suspense is . . well, not actually killing me, but I'm looking forward to hearing about them.

Sam said...

Good luck! You've done some wonderful, thought-provoking posts this week, so if it helps, you're not the only one whose brain aches! (Haven't had a chance to comment on them yet)

I am a long way from one carrier bag of rubbish a month, and I'm struggling with the idea of a week of landfill-filling, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. But it will only make it clearer how much of everyone's rubbish is recyclable and how much we need to change our shopping habits.

Go Mrs A! :-D,

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Karin - you've really uncovered my irrational prejudice against giblets. I didn't like to add them to the stock and for some inexplicable reason, did not want to put them into the bokashi either. Bizarre really, as I'm happy to put the boiled carcass of a chicken in there. The roast chicken worked fine in the end as Mr A wasn't really that hungry anyway, so we ended up using for soup, sandwiches and salad. It might be the last roast chicken on the menu though, as I've got some news on the other ones that I'll be able to share this week....and I can't really is very exciting....all I can say is cluck cluck, bok bok bok bok. (LOL).

As for this latest challenge, this week is a real explorative week, revisiting many of my old purchasing decisions that I made before ZWW, with a chance to highlight a lot of the stuff that we currently do which we actually take for granted. Having just come from the local supermarket, somewhere I don't normally shop, I can certainly say it has been a rather interesting experience in many ways. But there'll be more on that tomorrow. :-D

Hi Sam - glad to have given others brain-ache too. It's been all too much to keep to myself LOL. I'm hoping this week will add extra insight that will offer lots of other hints and tips.

Karin said...

Glad the chicken was put to good use. We've been feeling a bit squeamish about eating chicken these last few weeks, but we're about to go for it today. After all, it's not one of our girls, just an anonymous carcass. I could so easily become vegetarian, but would rather be sure I stay healthy.

I'm waiting for further posts with baited breath (whatever that means - doesn't sound too great if you think about it). Just as well I don't work Mondays and Tuesdays - hopefully you won't make me wait until Friday to find out what you're up to.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your mishaps and have fun next week; I think you're brave - I couldn't bring myself to actually do the deed anymore. I bet this will weigh heavy on your conscience :D

Best of luck!

Carolina Girl said...

Hello from the states. I stumbled upon this blog through Zero Waste, and I love it :-)
As for your poor chicken, that sounds like something I would do *blush*. When I get frazzled, I am clumsy and could see myself in your post!

And for the max garbage week... how about looking for things you no longer want but cannot recycle such as rags that have seen their last day that are no longer useful but yoy feel too guilty to throw away. I know I personally keep some stuff because it is broken/unfixable and non-recyclable.

I throw out about 2 garbage bags a week, depending on the week which is a huge improvement for me. There is a lot that cannot be recycled here, and most foods come in the types of packages that aren't recyclable. Just by being mindful of my choices I have reduced our waste, but am not there yet! I will keep reading and see how you do it :-)

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Karin ... phew, have just managed to get a blog post in before midnight. I've been busy at my son's school all day today. How are your hen's doing? As soon as I get a chance this week, I'm going to do a bit of blog browsing and come on over to see. Pop back tomorrow for some more news. Hopefully there might be something else here by midnight again :-D x

LOL Mrs G - You've got it in one. I think this process is most definitely engrained.! :-D x

Hi Shellie - how wonderful to hear from you and thank you so much for taking time to explain your own levels of progress.

I'm hoping that this week I will be able to have a good declutter and try and grab hold of some of those things that I do have, which need freeing up. Oh what a nightmare :-D.

Please keep popping by and joining in. I'm sure you'll feel at home here. (A big wave back to the States) :-D

Karin said...


Good to see your new post this morning. I'm afraid I was tucked up in bed at midnight.

Our hens had a bit of a run around at the weekend, so I've posted a few more photos.

I'll keep an eye out for your next exciting installment.

Layla said...

Oh gosh, Mrs A, I will have to spank you!! :)

giblets (heart & liver at least) are one of the yummiest parts of the chicken!! (I was always asking Mum for some, when I didn't have any, as a little girl! only tiny bits were left with the chicken, though!)

also rabbit liver - yummy if just fried on some oil & onions!!
or in 'stuffed rabbit'.. pure yum!

/mind you, I was vegetarian for a while, & I still say that!!/
of course organic is best - so to think you wasted a wonderful organic chicken liver & such!!

well, the poor chick is probably turning in its grave! /uhm, bokashi!!/
wished you lived closer so you could send the yummy giblets to us!! lol :)

/I'd probably still be afraid to touch it, lol - but to eat - divine!/

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