Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Bin Saboteur turns 5

Arrrr me hearties.

O'ive bin prakktising moi poirate speak today in honour iv the poirate paarty for our little bin saboteur.

He be 5 year old now, all 18.5 kilos of him. Gett'n old eh! An he'll be ready for them high seas before we know it.

He were only 3 1/2 when this here blog came into being. A zero waste bin saboteur if ever o'ive seen one.

But he be gett'n tha hang of it these days. Only yesterdee he be asking the cap'n where the compost caddy lay, since it be moved to accommodate the sudden immobility of the QuarterMaster - who you be more accustomed in familiarity as Yours Truly.

Poirate speak?

Blimmin' 'eck more loike Bristolian - oi'd say. You'd swear Almost Mr Average had taken over this blog, wiv his underlying Wess Country tones.

Arrrr, shiver me timbers an his too, oi need ta get back to me ol'self.

Right! And here I am - back from the surreal world of kids' parties, where I've been busy hanging bunting, making a cake, enjoying a birthday picnic in the sunshine and dropping small change in the local woods for the kids to indulge in a treasure hunt....all 9 of them....!

I noticed that this year's party was more expensive than last year's party for his older brother, when I managed to cater for a whole army of children at home for about £35, including party treats.

However this year's was a more fancy affair all round mainly due to the pirate theme. But it was money well-spent thanks to a few georgous goodies that I picked up from eco-party company Little Cherry, including fabulous reusable cotton party bags that are made in this country. Even with the little treats, it still came in at around £75 including food, which is really not bad compared to the prices I've paid in the past.

And from where I'm standing, it doesn't look like there's going to be any waste. All the packaging from the presents is recyclable, and any food that was left over is being reused for tomorrow's packed lunches...except the half-eaten rolls which will be fed to the chickens and the garden birds.

It's interesting to look at birthdays with fresh-eyes and re-evaluate traditions, making changes where you feel comfortable.

For example, after last year's experience of borrowing a picnic set, I did the same again today, saving money on disposable products or buying my own set. Instead I used my money to invest in bunting that's perfect for boys' parties and as a result for the first time ever I avoided buying balloons, which create more waste and more arguments than they are really worth.

Also, little T's presents were pre-loved brio accessories from Raspberry Rascals in Bury St Edmunds. They were in excellent condition and saved us a fortune on brand-spanking new ones from the toy shop. He didn't even notice they weren't in a merchandised box and opened his presents with great excitement.

But yes, I did use wrapping paper I'm afraid...only because it was old paper that had been knocking about the house for a long time, including a roll of drawing paper that must be at least three years old. These days, I am so concious of using paper unneccesarily, I can't remember the last time I bought any - with the exception of the recycled christmas paper in December.

So after a busy day waving the Jolly Roger, it's time to open the Chablis and toast what was a very eventful day, with the pride of a parent observing their little ones growing up and maturing.

And if I can manage a second glass, I might even forget the pain of having to resort to a couple of emergency E numbers to rescue what would have been a disaster of a birthday cake. At least it was a rare occasion and no-one bounced off the walls and Little T was very impressed with my creation.

So I suppose it could have been worse.

I could have offered them grog.




Sparx said...

I love that. I'm buying second hand for my son for his birthday; I do think about the impact of paper and balloons etc but am lazier than I like to think. Will definitely pay better attention to all this next time we do a party.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Yo ho ho and a root beer float to you and Little T! Sounds like a fun party. I love it when eco doesn't have to be ugly or boring.

mrs green said...

what a great sounding day, Mrs and happy birthday to your little pirate.

I quite like the challenge of a zero waste party now, don't you?

Sounds like you did things brilliantly and I bet all the little sea farers had a lovely time :)

Kate said...

Wow, a birthday party with no waste. That is really impressive! And I love the pirate talk :).

Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

My mum often used newspaper to wrap presents and would save as much wrapping paper as possible to be reused year after year.

Chris likes to just put a bunch of a presents in a canvas bag and the recipient pulls them out.

I'm afraid I'm guilty of liking the unwrapping too much. Will try harder. Promise.

Unknown said...

I very often give my family presents unwrapped in a plastic bag I later reuse or recycle. Probably a bit tight but it's the present that counts, not the packaging!

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Sparx - I know what you mean. Birthdays are also one of the hardest things to tackle because of expectations of others. I remember a few years ago, I wouldn't even have considered second hand, but now it's most definitely one of the first considerations. :-D

Hi Condo Blues - Thank you. It really was a fun day. My problem always is time management though. I wake up in the morning and think - yikes, gotta do a party today, realising I also need to get the food, sort out the cake and work out what the entertainment is going to be...Maybe next year I might plan it earlier :-D

Hi Mrs G - it is good fun isn't it. Admittedly because of the recycling facilities around here, it is far easier than in many other places but even still, consideration has to go into what you buy. I realised yesterday that there was actually one casualty for the bin...a huge crisp bag, but we didn't finish the contents until last night so strictly speaking it might not have been 100% waste-free but as it didn't happen on the day itself, I think I might just have got away with it :-D

LOL Kate - Oi'm glad that the poirate talk were apprecia'ed. Berer not get me back in'o it though. BTW Have you seen my confession re the crisp packet :-D

Hi Tasha - Your mum sounds like a brilliant role model. I used a lot of newspaper too at Christmas, saved me loads on wrapping paper. After wrapping up the presents in the newspaper, I cut strips of recycled wrapping paper to decorate them to give a festive feel. A present sack is also a fantastic idea. The trick is to get the recipient to close their eyes and guess. Fab activity for kids. :-D

Hi Clareybabble - I love it and I wouldn't say it's tight. It's an approach that is rather "en vogue". So should anyone suggest otherwise, do drop that in :-D

Layla said...


Happy Birthday to Mr Pirate!! :)

And what to do with (remains of) 500 water balloons that have been scattered across our driveway??!!
(Little Mr Neighbour had b-day too!!)

Oh gosh & I wasn't even home!!

I shook his hand & he informed me I didn't give him a present...??
/gosh isn't it too not-polite to say things like that?? hmm??/
I told him I didn't know he had b-day today.. But would it be better to give him a wee gift (little blackmailer!) or nothing, or a 'non-gift' that's an experience but not a gift? (& what? for a 1st grader? yikes, the kids today..)

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