Monday, 2 March 2009

Reflecting the challenge

I'm in a real reflective mood today, thinking about this time last year, when I was on the blower to Kate from the council in a bit of a panic.

I'd got myself all het up over plastic bags. Not just carrier bags, but grape bags, bread bags and frozen peas packaging. I realised these had still been bunging up my black bin and I needed to find a solution, but Kate verbally soothed my brow and reassured me I could recycle them at the local supermarket or even our nearest HWRC (household waste recycling centre).

I can't believe I got myself into such a lather back then, but the pressure was on. There was one more week until Zero Waste Week and I was determined to give it my best shot to really see how low we could go. I'd even swapped my bins around, using my 50l stainless steel Brabantia to guard the recycling while my teeny tiny recycling bin took over its roll as the new dustbin.

I had also started eeking out the toothpaste, for fear that I'd have to chuck out the empty tube during the big week itself, and instead of filling the whole toothbrush head, I reduced the amount to the pea size as recommended by the manufacturers. We'd also started reusing things, stuff like polystyrene, which would normally end up in the bin.

Before doing the zero waste challenge, I felt I did my bit for recycling but I'd always been bugged by the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle mantra. Every time I'd read or indeed heard someone speak about the 3 R's I'd wanted to poke them in the ear with a stick or run off into the distance with my hands over my ears singing la,la,la,la, Boring la,la,la,la,la.

Somehow it all felt like a virtual straightjacket that would spoil my fun. And God help anyone who threw me some extra Rs, such as Refuse, Rethink or indeed Repair.

You can tell I was in denial at the start of the challenge because when I realised what I needed to embrace, I handed the job over to a YouTube video set to the the 3Rs by Jack Johnson. Like whispering the name Voldemort in the Harry Potter tales, I didn't dare say the words myself. My only contribution was a brief statement in the vain of "I don't think I need to spell out the basics, as there are enough organisations out there who already do this".

And I meant it. I didn't want get on the bandwagon.

How I now cringe at my attitude and if my name was Rodney, I'd have Del Boy poking a stick in my ear calling me a right Plonker!

Twelve months on I feel I've now grown up and have recognised the real importance of Reducing and Reusing and even Repairing before you can even embark on the final step of recycling. I've also done my fair share of rethinking and refusing. How far things have come eh!

And I've learned that it's not about spoiling fun or taking away choices. In a way we have more choice and have saved ourselves a right load of cash in the process, for example we've paid for the Eglu with the money we've saved on our shopping each week.

So as I prepare for the anniversary of my Zero Waste Week, I've finally got over myself. I am now ready to blog about the relevance of reducing, reusing and recycling and am getting really excited about uncovering some fine examples this week.

The problem is though, with my new way of thinking....or should I call it week's Maximum Waste Week challenge is getting me more in a tizz than Zero Waste Week ever did.

It's a good job I'm doing it to raise money for Comic Relief or I might just back out.

So while I go and plan my campaign and try to calm myself down, I think it's time to hand over to Jack Johnson again, for him to share his magic words. Now don't put your hands over your ears and sing la,la,la will you? If like me, you too are in denial, you'll find this the perfect introduction.



The Rubbish Author said...

Hi mate - I absolutely love this by JJ...this is a bit of a jazzy version!

Our attitudes and abilities change as we evolve and move along the green street that is 'life'.

It's about loving where you are and being excited about where you're going for me....looking backwards is far to scarrrrry!

Love as ever,

Alex Bone said...

I like a nice reflective post! Not so keen on Jack, but I'd listen to you any day!

Layla said...

OMG Finally know who sings this song!! :))
Thanx!! :)

hoping you survive next week.. :) ((hugs))

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I feel too that if you have had an effect on just one other person with regard to the whole recycling thing, as well as doing "your bit", then it is a job very well done Mrs A. A x

Anonymous said...

We re-use polystyrene in the garden, is great to put at the bottom of pots to help with water flow. Just thought I'd share (big smiles), LOL Fiona

Danda said...

Very nice post and very cool song!
Can I share it on my blog and facebook? It will be a surprise for everyone: we listened to it as jingle of a famous TV advertising but this wasn't concerned with the original sense of lyrics! :)
And as regards what you said: "And I've learned that it's not about spoiling fun or taking away choices. In a way we have more choice and have saved ourselves a right load of cash in the process..." this is one of the points of greater strenght that could give more sense to all the efforts we are doig!
Looking forward to the anniversary of the Zero Waste Week... ;)

lunarossa said...

I think I'm going through similar thoughts you had at beginning of your "campaign". I look around and there is too much undone, how can you apply the 3 Rs if the whole system is against you? I complained to the East Riding of Yorkshire council as I do not see the point of having to put plastic bottles in plastic bags before throwing them in the recycling bin. They said it's a matter of hygiene as they have to keep them away from the paper! So I use a big bin liner to collect all the plastic bottles. But why can't I recycle other type of clear plastic? or other plastic in general. My mum does in Italy! The council said also that we have to put cans in a separate bag. Etc etc. A nightmare. I do not think they care if people recycle or not...They just complicate everything!!! Anyway all best for zero waste week and thanks for the song. Ciao. Antonella


Hi Trace - glad you loved the video. I'm really enjoying looking back and going back to how things were last year makes me so glad I kept this diary. Thank goodness for the combination of blogging and the determination to keep going :-D x

LOL Alex - thank you. Better not invite him to the next conference then. :-Dx

Ha Ha Layla - that's what I said when I revealed the blog to my children's Headteacher last year. He casually said, ahhh that's Jack Johnson. And I thought, he's just avoiding telling me I'm mad :-D x

Thanks Anne - and if that one person has an effect on another person and so one, it'll be truly amazing :-D x

Thanks Fiona - and I've seen your garden on your mum's blog. It is indeed fabulous. Thanks for sharing :-D x

Hello Danda. I found it on YouTube so please feel free to share it. I'll make sure I take loads of pics next week for you to have a laugh at :-D x

Hi Antonella - you've highlighted a few problems there that are common throughout the UK. Some might argue that your local method of sorting creates better quality recyclates and means less goes to waste, where clean comingled wheelie bin systems which disallows bagged rubbish could create bails that have less quality. I wish I knew the answer, even programmes like those last night on ITV try to enlighten but still confuse because even the experts naturally differ in opinion. Show's how complicated the UK's recycling system is. At least we'll have some light relief next week. :-D x

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