Sunday, 3 May 2009

Compost 'n' Toilet Seats

"Just so you know, I've bunged the old toilet seat in the bin."

Bloody hell, you'd think he'd have learned by now wouldn't you! It's been sixteen months since Mr A's bin-filling activities have been under close surveillance. However the King of Declutter has been let off for good behaviour in recent months thanks to a reduced propensity for landfilling all and sundry. Things are normally so good these days that Bin-watch Status in the Almost Average household has been reduced from Severe to Low.

Well it looks like I've got to be on my guard again.

You see Mr A took the trouble to replace our broken wooden loo seat last week and as he said - only in passing - that he'd bunged the old one in the rubbish bin.

At least he had the decency to warn me even if I don't take things lightly when it comes to landfilling our rubbish. He hadn't checked the recycling options so I thought I should and consequently researched the council's website. I couldn't find any information so I decided to call the Waste Department, a far cry from when we last changed our loo seats four years ago when I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

A lady answered.

"Can you recycle wooden loo seats?" I asked.

"Yes you can at the HWRC" she replied. "Just put it in the wood skip."

"Even if it's got metal fittings still attached?" I probed a little further, hardly believing my luck.

"Hang on - I'll just put you through to Dan. He'll confirm matters."

A brief moment of silence filled the phone line as I was put on hold to talk to the Strategy and Policy Manager, the man in charge of last year's zero waste week and with whom I have since given a joint presentation and enjoyed several meetings about waste reducing initiatives.

You get the picture! I wasn't sure whether I should be talking toilet seat strategy with the man in charge, especially when risking my professional dignity!

Why do I always ask more questions? Why didn't I just accept "Yes" as the answer. How embarrassing was this conversation going to be? Feeling a bit of a prude, I wondered whether I should hang up.

But it was too late, Dan quickly answered and confirmed the positive news before I rapidly changed the subject to a less personal and more tasteful matter, hoping that this conversation would never ever come back to bite me on the bum, so to speak.

And on the topic of changing the subject....(notice how I swiftly did that)....I have some great news.

While I was conducting my intensive research, not only did I find out that we can recycle our old wooden loo seats in Bury St Edmunds' recycling centre (even with their metal fittings), but I also discovered the recycling centre was giving away free soil improver.

So with offers of free compost on the agenda, we quickly headed off to the recycling centre with our toilet seat and took a couple of garden tubs to fill up with some of the advertised soil improver.

And who better to fill 'em up than Mr A. Yes the perfect opportunity to dig himself out of the hole he'd created with his rubbish antics, especially as we've used up all the compost that we've made in our own bins at home.

Ah revenge is so sweet....and definitely far sweeter than the smell of that compost.

How it ponged!

Yet despite its smell it will be good for the rest of the veggies that I'm planning on planting this week.

Meanwhile, it's back to Severe Bin-watch status. And if he's not careful, that Mr A will be getting more than a compost digging session at the recycling centre. I might have to go as far as threaten him with his very own compost loo in the garden. Never mind recycling the toilet seat!

With measures like that I'm sure he won't be automatically feeding the bin with any more loo seats or much else for that matter.

But we'll just have to wait and see.... because Mr A I'm now watching your every move - well almost!


The free soil improver offer is to promote Compost Awareness Week, which is jointly organised by WRAP and Organics Recycling (formerly known as The Compost Association) to encourage the use of compost for growing fruit and vegetables at home. Over the next seven days a whole host of events are taking place across the UK, including opportunities to purchase a low-cost compost bin.

If you live in the St Edmundsbury area, the soil improver will also be available at the HWRC at Rougham Hill on 9th and 10th May. Please remember to take along your own bags and containers.

However as I've aready discovered, composting at home is remarkably easy. We've had a compost bin for over ten years and have been amazed by the results that even novices like us can achieve.

So the good news is as part of Compost Awareness Week, Suffolk residents have the opportunity to buy Compost Converters for just £12 (+£5 delivery) available from Recycle Now. (Just remember to quote the reference SHOE9 when ordering). If you live outside Suffolk, please check with your own council for details of local offers, as you too might be in luck. Further advice can be found at Recycle Now's Home Composting website.



Layla said...

Great post!! :)

And Mrs A, I do adore you!! :)

Have you remembered to ask what they do with old toilet seats?! just curious!! :)

Great about the compost too.. maybe it would be good to know what the council compost is made of, eg if non-eco banana & orange peels and such are put in too, it would be better for flowers or trees/parks/non-edible-grass than any edible veggies!!

Sorry if I nitpick, just wish ya all to be happy & healthy!! :)

& lol about your toilet seat again!!
You are soo brave!!
(do they recycle plastic toilet seats too?)


LOL, thanks Layla. Thought I'd also add the photo for effect. The contents of the wood skip are treated and then broken down to be used for ground cover. Of course, I just had to ask the people at the recycling centre today :-D

Our local facilities don't yet take hard plastic, so plastic ones aren't recycled...which is a pain because guess what Mr A bought as a replacement...(hopefully it will last longer than the wooden one eh!)

The compost comes from the local facility where it gets treated through an enclosed composting process which hits some really high temperatures. Does that in itself kill off the bad things? Anyway...if you can cope with the excitement.... Check this video here:

I promise I will get back to all the other stuff soon. Only nipped onto the computer for a quick visit tonight. Have spent most of the holiday in the great outdoors. And the same again tomorrow. See you soon xxx :-D

mrs green said...

You should have bought it here, Mrs A. That toilet seat would have kept us warm for an hour on the woodburner. There is a joke in there somewhere I'm sure LOL!

Great news about the soil improver. I'm going to have a hunt around and see if anything like that is happening over here :)

Karin said...

I thought for a minute you were going to write about your composting toilet. They were mentioned on R4's 'Costing the Earth' last night. It was mostly about what happens to 'human waste' and how it's being used to grow potatoes! They also mentioned the fact that flushing the loo wastes a lot of water. I think you would have found it interesting.

I think a decent plastic loo seat should last longer than a wooden one as it sounds like the one at work, which cracked fairly soon after it was installed - possibly because one person who uses it is unusually heavy. My in-laws wooden loo seat has lasted quite a while, though.

Danda said...

LOL, poor Mrs A, you should be on your guard all the time! :D

By the way, we have a wooden toilet seat too here at home. Last year we purchased a wooden seat without coloured varinsh among other kinds of seats because I knew that wooden objects are recycled in our local HWRC, instead of plastic one that isn't recyclable!

We hope it will last longer...

I also would have free soil improver offer too here... Our compost is not enough and I've planted tomatoes... I'll have to purchase it... :(

I'll look forward to your news! See you! :)

Layla said...

Mrs A, thanks!

I tried to look at your link, my computer protested a bit though.. I just saw a pic of a brown bin (?)

the high temp takes care of bacteria etc, I don' think it takes care of any pesticides or such on the banana or orange peels - so in Slovenia, a known expert on organic farming has asked people to not put those into the brown bins - what are the instructions where you live?
(or is there a special treatment anti-pesticides etc?)

I do wonder how the scrap wood is treated 1st too!!
I've seen something similar (a bit like composting) is done in one of the municipalities in Slovenia too.. again, not sure about the paints on wood etc, hopefully it's in an area where it's not so problematic for water, ideally, &/or any water is treated or such..

It would be good to see any studies done on this :) do you know of any?
(comparing different methods etc)

Ideally, there would be a portal of 'best practices' - maybe there is one already?

Jo Beaufoix said...

Do you know how fabulous you are?
Well you are. Ok?



Anthony said...

I never knew that a real-life story about a toilet seat could be so interesting.


Ooooh it's so nice to have a sit down at the computer. It's been busy few days as you can probably tell.

Mrs G - thanks so much for the thought about the woodburner. We've got another loo seat that we'll have to replace sometime soon and we're also hopefully planning another visit to Monmouth later this year....the question is...should we keep it for you? LOL...Somehow I don't think Mr A will be impressed with driving it all the way down to Gloucestershire, even if we're passing. And there is most definitely a joke in there somewhere, it's had me chuckling away but I daren't repeat in public :-D x

Hi Karin - That sounds like something I shouldn't have missed. Don't think I'm green enough to go down that route though...Although it's always handy to know what to do in a crisis (LOL). And I think you're right about the plastic ones. It's the first time we've bought a plastic one, so hopefully it will last a long while.

Hi Danda - Great minds think almost alike eh! Hope you've got your soil improver and I bet tomatoes grow really well in your neck of the woods :-D

Hi Layla - that's interesting how it doesn't get rid of chemicals. I'll try and find out what happens over here. If I find any interesting portals about best practice I will also let you know. :-D

Hello my lovely Jo - You've made me blush. Big hugs over to you too. Take care lovely, hope you're keeping well :-D x

LOL Anthony - thank you. That's what I once thought about rubbish :-D

Kate said...

Well done saving the toilet seat from the landfill!

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