Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to The Royal Albert Hall in London, the perfect location for The Rubbish Diet awards 2009.
Why such a venue?
Well of course, it's the oft-quoted feature when references are made to the amount of rubbish we create in the UK. Apparently, between us we generate enough waste to fill up the whole place in just two hours.
Well it looks like we'd better get on with the show before we get covered in last night's dinner, a good few truckloads of plastic, dirty nappies and goodness knows what else.
Yes folks it's the official Rubbish Diet Awards night, which has been launched to celebrate the last 15 months of new friendships as well as the fighting spirit and frivolous attempts at dishing the dirt on landfill (if you know what I mean).
I am delighted to host tonight's event and share in the excitement of the past year. And what a year eh. What started out as a lonesome voice has become a fabulous forum for optimism, discussion and a whole bucket full of positive action to change habits of a lifetime.
There are some wonderful people out there doing some fabulous things and I am delighted that those who I have inspired and those who have inspired me have been able to congregate over here from time-to-time and enjoy the fruits of such change.
So it's time to thank you all and pass on a special award for you to pop on your virtual mantelpiece. It's been designed especially for tonight's event (out of a Pringles tube and other bits of trash) and I hope it will give each and every winner a warm glow when they look at it, and a feel-good factor knowing that no matter how small an action you take in the fight over rubbish, it's one step closer to reducing overall waste.
There are loads of nominees and some of the awards will have be shared amongst joint-winners because in most cases it was unfair to differentiate between the talent and the impact you have all made. But I have tried to ensure that the awards are equally distributed and even though I could have shortlisted lots of winners for more than one category, it was easier to stick to one - after all how many of these awards could you fit into your reusable bag.
So I will ramble no further and instead introduce the all important categories.
The It's Entirely Your Fault Award
This is the first award of this evening and is indeed probably one of the most special of them all because if it hadn't been for these folks, The Rubbish Diet blog would never have even got started. It was all down to an email that I received from a friend, giving me a tip-off about the council's Zero Waste Week as well as the enthusiasm of the professionals who ran the campaign.
So a huge round of applause please and welcome on stage Louise G whose email dropped into my mailbox one cold January day, followed by Kate McFarland who was responsible for drumming up zero waste volunteers while she worked at St Edmundsbury and accompanied by Daniel Sage, the strategy manager who was not just in charge of it all, but had the wisdom to call me 'average'.
Thank you guys - just look at what you started.
The Kicking It Off In Style Award
There is no hesitation over the recipient of the next award of this evening. She's been an inspiration to many and indeed was the first person to write a guest post with lots of guiding advice within weeks of setting up this blog and it is thanks to her, that I was brave enough to even switch to reusable sanpro.
She's talented, versatile, creative and enthusiastic. I know this statement could apply to many bloggers and readers out there hence I can't keep you hanging on for much longer, so please be upstanding for the most wonderful Melanie Rimmer, who many of you will know is the lady behind the brilliant blog Bean sprouts.
Thank you Mel. Your early advice provided the motivation needed and even got me pondering about making yogurt.
The Sticking With It Award
The great thing about blogging is getting to know folk who you meet along the way and the gratitude that they stick by you. And from what I can tell, there is one particular person who has followed this blog and shown his support even before my vocals were broadcast on Woman's Hour. In fact I remember him broadcasting to the readers of his own blog, that my WH appearance was forthcoming. And to this very day, he still pops by to say hello.
Yes, I'd like to show my appreciation and award the Sticking With It prize to Cowrin...otherwise known as Suitably Despairing. A round of applause please. He deserves it for putting up with my backchat for so long.
The Try Something New Award
This award goes to someone special. She probably won't know how much she inspired me, but when she made strawberry jam for the first time last year and then agreed to send me the recipe, she did something to my confidence. Thanks to a carefully chosen recipe and her very clear hints, my own first attempt at jam making was a real success. Now there's no going back.
So thanks to the wonderful Strawberry Jam Anne, I am now keeping hold of all those jam jars for my first strawberry picking opportunity of this year.
So please give Anne a huge round of applause for her part in making me more creative in the kitchen, as well as stickier too!
The DIY Genius Award
This award has been inspired by two men who are creative and can turn just anything into ....well...just anything. Their work has encouraged me to reuse stuff as well as repair broken objects. And for a girl with a previous disposable nature, that's an incredible development.
They even share the same name.
Can you tell who it is yet?
If you haven't guessed yet, then I won't keep you guessing any longer. Yes folks, please join me in a round of applause to thank Peter and Peter, from Junkk.com and Fr Peter's DIY Environmental Ideas for all the DIY advice and the chance to save some valuable cash.
But please don't stop your applause, because DIY is not just for the chaps, it's also a girl thing too. This is the age of equality after all, so please welcome two inspirational ladies to the stage. Namely Lisa over at Condo Blues who creates some fabulous designs on a really tight budget and last but not least Cara over at Repurposeful who has so many amazing ideas for everyday things you could get caught for weeks. Thank you ladies - you're great.
The Bokashi Backup Award
There is no getting away from it. It's certainly no secret that when you decide to take up Bokashi composting, the one thing you need is a good dose of faith. How do you know if it looks right, smells right and is going the right way? Yes, there are times you need back up!
So this award goes to someone who was more important in my introduction to Bokashi than he might have realised and probably had the biggest influence on helping me to reduce the amount of food waste that we were throwing away.
If it wasn't for this man commenting on this blog, I probably would never have considered a Bokashi bucket in the first place.
So please Ladies and Gentlemen, do give it up for the utterly fantastic Simon Sherlock, whom I regard as a real authority on the subject and to whom I am delighted to offer this award. A round of applause please because if it hadn't been for Simon there might have been more in my bin than just a plaster.
The Eco-Friendly Credit-Crunching award
Now it is no coincidence that reducing rubbish and greening up can have a jolly good thrifty impact, which during the current climate is an exceedingly good outcome. So I'd like to thank several ladies who have a huge part to play in this and they are utterly fabulous in their own individual ways, sharing knowledge that can inspire other folk with their wisdom. And even when it's not practical advice they're offering, it's care and thoughtfulness for others.
So please join me in thanking Sue at Healthy Cheap Meals, Minimum Waste, Margaret from Margaret's Ramblings and Gill from That British Woman. Ladies, you're great!
The Keeping It Positive Award
This award goes to some special ladies who whenever I drop by always have a positive vibe. Their blogs couldn't be any more different but one thing they have in common is that they are both full of action and versatility.
So please welcome to the stage the fabulous ladies, including Fi from Fuelled by Tea, Fiona from A pot, a thought and a smidgeon of dirt, Sam from Feel the Rhythm Inside and our Maisie from Our Year of Greener Living. A round of applause please.
The Hen Party Award
Now those who know me might have thought I'd gone clucking mad when I said "I want chickens", but it's thanks to some lovely bloggers as well as non-bloggers that I've felt perfectly safe in welcoming some feathered egg-laying friends into our suburban garden.
So I would like to say a huge thank you to Michelle and Graham for the introduction to their very own hen party as well as the following chicken supporters Coopette, Spicy Cauldron, Faites Simple and Karin's Notes on a Garden. Somewhere along the way, you have all made a real impact.
The Compost Converter Award
The next award goes to a very special lady who took up The Rubbish Diet challenge last year and decided to slim her bin by composting. I'd never met her before, but we have since become good friends. Not only have we now met up a couple of times but I've also been introduced to some of her friends and family, who thanks to this lady spreading the word, have even taken to composting themselves, all doing their bit for saving the planet from some extra methane.
Again, as far as this lady is concerned, there'll be no guessing that she's the worthy winner of this award.
So Jo Beaufoix, stop your blushing. You've done a grand job converting half of Mansfield (okay, perhaps 1%, but even that is fabulous). A huge round of applause please as we welcome the lovely lady to the stage.
The Compost That Award
Hot on Jo's heals is the Compost That award, given to a lady from whom I've been delighted to take extra advice over what can go in my compost bin. There are certainly no arguments here as it is the one and only Mel B- not that Mel B - but the lovely lady from York who happened to indulge herself in one of York Rotters' courses and popped back with all sorts of useful information.
So thank you Mel. I've appreciated your advice so please come and accept your very own Rubbish Diet Award.
The Ditch The Plastic Award
If you think zero waste is a challenge, try going plastic free. I can only stand up and admire those who work really hard at ditching the plastic. It makes such sense. Not only will you have less stuff to recycle but you'll be less dependent on oil-based resources too, which is so important during times of transition.
So I'd like to offer this award to two fantastic ladies who live either side of the Atlantic and who are both working hard to demonstrate that limiting the use of plastic is a true reality.
Please give it up for the amazing Beth at Fake Plastic Fish, over in the U.S.A as well as the UK's very own Polythene Pam who's doing a fabulous job over at Leave Only Footprints.
Once you've visited their blogs, you won't see plastic in the same light ever again.
The Eurovision Award
This award celebrates the power of the Internet to bring together a European voice in the fight against waste. This is another tough category because how can I choose between three lovely ladies who in their own territories are doing their bit to equally promote a life less wasteful, highlighting that it's not just a problem here in the UK.
The folk who have represented their share of the European landscape all deserve worthy recognition. So please put your hands together as I ask them to accept an award each.
Yes it's time to welcome on stage three amazing ladies in the form of Esther from France, Danda from Italy and last but definitely not least Layla, all the way from Slovenia.
Thank you ladies - you're doing an incredible job.
The Global Reputation Award
There are a whole host of contenders for this award, who have done so much for waste in their own countries across the world. But there is one man whose project has built up such a global reputation that although based in the United States, his work has even been discussed on local UK radio. I know, because I took part in the discussions on the topic, live on BBC Three Counties Radio last year. His story also popped up in Switzerland.
I would like to pass on this award to one great guy who spent 365 days collecting all his rubbish and recycling in his basement, to explore how his consumer choices would change if he had to keep hold of his trash.
Yes, you've guessed it, the chap in question is Dave Chameides, also known as Sustainable Dave and even though his challenge is over, the great news is he can still be found over at his blog 365 days of Trash.
So Dave, please accept this award on behalf of the growing global community. You are most definitely the man!
The Most Amazing Rubbish Convert Award
This is a truly special award, which honours the least expected converts, folk who have surpassed expectations. Again, this is an award that just has to be shared by some fabulous ladies who are special friends of mine, which is why I am amazed at how they now regard rubbish.
So without further ado, let me introduce my friends Baba, Dorothy and Ruby, who have not just stuck by me right throughout The Rubbish Diet challenge but have been inspired to make gradual changes to their own lifestyles, from cutting back on plastic packaging to growing their own herbs.
Thank you ladies for your unflustered enthusiasm and allowing me to bore you to death with my phonecalls. A big round of applause please. Please give Ruby an extra round of applause for being my inspiration to set up my very first blog which I created two years ago.
The Blogging Officer Award
It is fantastic news when local authority officers start blogging on waste. It's great to get the news from those on the inside who are so passionate about their work. And Alex Bone is a fine example, inspired to blog as part of Norfolk's Waste Free Week last autumn
She's got a fabulous voice and it's been a privilege to have her join the blogosphere and the best news is she's kept her blog up-to-date when the Waste Free Week was well finished.
So please welcome to the stage the wonderful Alex Bone. You can normally find her over at Journey to Waste Free. Thank you Alex for your support and your writing. My only message is...keep on blogging.
The Rubbish Blogging Bug Award
This award goes to two particular individuals who also caught the rubbish blogging bug. They are two great ladies who can be found talking about rubbish, as well as other bloggy occurences.
Inspired by The Rubbish Diet and MyZeroWaste Just Gai set up Zero Waist to record her Zero Waste preparations in Bristol and has been going ever since. Katy set up her blog, Aiming Low, to record her Waste Free Week results after hearing me speak at the Norfolk Waste Partnership conference. It was like grease lightning. No sooner had I arrived home, Katy was talking rubbish in the blogosphere.
So please, give it up in a lively fashion for Just Gai and Katy, who have started their rubbish challenges have kept on blogging!
The Healthy Competition Award
This award goes to a group of housemates in Canada, who are going for a consumer free year. Not only are they attempting to go withouth buyin any consumer goods but are going head-to-head in a competition to see who has the emptiest bin.
So I'd like to give a huge round of applause to Jen who represents her room-mates Grant and Rhyannon over at The Clean Bin Project. There's nothing like a bit of competition to keep the motivation up.
The Rubbish Newcomer Award
One of the best things about The Rubbish Diet has been welcoming new folk and hearing about their efforts to reduce their household waste. In recent months it has been a real pleasure to welcome Don (who could also join the hen party), Lunarossa as well as Transition House and Transition Housewife, the latter of whom are working jointly to reduce their contribution to waste in Suffolk.
So folk, especially the veteran rubbish reducers amongst you, please give a huge round of applause to the lovely folk as they come and pick up their award.
The Twittering Award
Many of you might know that The Rubbish Diet isn't just a blog, it also happens to have a random presence on Twitter. Now most of my tweets are nonsense - probably much in common with most of the twitterverse then - but sometimes I manage to offer a golden nugget or two.
So with no hesitation, I'd like to offer the Twittering Award to two fantastic guys who generously retweet any 140 character nuggets that have relevance to the rest of the world - and not just mine but others too.
Please give it up for @altepper (who is also the genius behind ooffoo) and @greenpep (aka known as Paul from the fabulous Green Pepper).
So thank you guys. A huge round of applause for everything you do for Twitter and beyond.
The "Voice of Charlie" Award for Support and Encouragement
Now for anyone who remembers Charlie's Angels, you'll appreciate the context of this next award and it really is a special one. And I can't think of anyone more deserving than the man I would like to welcome to the stage.
He's another Scotsman, so you have to imagine the "voice of the elusive Charlie", coming over the speaker phone with a Scottish accent. He applauds, congratulates and over the last twelve months has suggested a wide variety of zero waste missions, some tongue-in-cheek, but most rather serious. He even has his own 260 week bin project. That's how long he estimates will pass before he has to put out his bin.
Until now he's remained incognito, but I have it on good authority that very soon he will reveal the face behind the internet voice.
I think he knows who he is and I'd like to say how very much I've appreciated his support.....so Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a round of applause for John Costigane. Speech John...please...and don't forget to let us have our next mission!
The Most Amazing Result Ever Award
With most of the awards having been handed out, we've come to the point in the evening when the ceremony is nearly over. However, there are still a couple of awards to be celebrated.
Now this one, is a truly special award and is certainly not one for sharing with anyone else - except within their own family of course.
When I first embarked on The Rubbish Diet and then started challenging other folk to slim their own bins, I had no idea how contagious it would be and how quickly the zero waste messages could trickle out through the Internet.
There has been one particular family who has taken on the enthusiasm and busted a gut not just to make sure that slimming their bin worked for them, but have grabbed the baton and have created their very own community of like-minded folk, all pledging to do something about their own bins too. It's been a real honour to have supported them in what feels like a relay and witnessed them jumping through hoops and over hurdles to achieve such fabulous success.
I think that the winner of this award is obvious don't you.
That's right. It can be none other than the wonderful Mrs Green and her family - including the gorgeous Little Miss Green - who can all be found keeping their old bin nice and trim over at MyZeroWaste.
So folks, please be upstanding and offer a huge round of applause to Rae, Richard and Verona as they come on stage to accept their award for the most amazing result ever.
All I can say is I'm proud to have got to know you and thank you so much too for the support you have given me. It really has been a blast and you've truly helped to create the wave that will carry the zero waste message very far indeed.
Enough Is Most Definitely Enough: The award for telling it how it is.
So, with the final award of the night, I would like to welcome three fantastic people, who have tackled the issue of waste head on and have used the power of surprise, humour and collaboration to address a very serious subject.
These folk can't help inspire through their written work and spoken actions, demonstrating that enough is most definitely enough.
I wish I could choose between them but I can't, because each of them really does tell it how it is and truly inspire others to do something about the problem of waste.
If you haven't already been introduced to their work, you really should. So please give a huge round of applause to:
Shirley Lewis: creator of Baglady Productions who through the power of multimedia and story telling is fighting to end to global waste.
John Naish: who through his book Enough:breaking free from the world of more and his website The Landfill prize is doing his best to reduce waste by tackling its source.
and last but definitely not least
Tracey Smith: founder of International Downshifting Week and author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas who is inspiring folk all over the world to slow down, green up and reduce their rubbish.
Three inspirational people, who through their excellent media work are doing the most astounding job in raising awareness.
If I've missed anyone out, I am so sorry. It's not deliberate. It's just that it's almost 10pm and I need my bed. After all, I've only got three more sleeps until the MediaGuardian Awards and I need all the beauty sleep I can get. And if you're wondering about Mr A and the boys. I've got something special lined up for them as a thank you for all the support they've given me.
I suppose tonight's awards ceremony is not just a frivolous post. It is my way of thanking everyone who pops by for spending time here, whether you leave a comment or not. And it's also a way of thanking those other folk who don't even visit for their hard work and effort in pushing the agenda and the inspiration that they leave behind.
After all - we're all in this together.
So before our special venue gets filled with the UK's next truckload of rubbish, I guess it's up to me to say one last thank you. I'll be thinking of you all at the MEGAs next week and will be back as soon as I can to report on the results of that other special awards night. If you can't wait, you can always pop onto their website, where the results will be published on 25th March.
In the meantime....just keep slimming those bins and remember to keep it fun.
The world will be a much lighter place thanks to you.
See you soon.