Over to you Mrs B.....
I've never claimed to be hugely religious - I'm nominally Christian, was baptised into the Church of England as a baby, attend Quaker Meeting for Worship when I can (I wish I could make it more often, that life didn't get in the way so much) but in recent years I have got into the habit of observing Lent. It's as much about challenging myself and developing better habits as it is about making religious sacrifices. In previous years I've given up alcohol, meat, junk food - and always felt better, in body and mind, by Easter Sunday.
This year I've decided to give up rubbish - both in terms of what I eat and what I put in the bin. There shall be no takeaway food, and no ready-meals, between now and Easter (technically, Sundays are not included in Lent, but as I'm committed to my proper Sunday dinners we don't tend to eat such things on Sundays anyway.) And there shall be no rubbish going into my landfill bin, or at least as little as possible. As a long-term follower of The Rubbish Diet I like to think I'm already doing pretty well - but I do get lazy at times, and I don't always make the effort to choose well when I'm shopping, so by making a concerted effort for 40 days I'm hoping to get back on track.
So, where am I starting from? Well, I already have:
- A tiny bin. When we moved to this house a couple of years ago I decided that I didn't want to give house-room to rubbish, so I bought the smallest bin I realistically could - this little guy from IKEA tucks into the cupboard under the kitchen sink and holds 14 litres of waste. He gets emptied, currently, about once a week. My aim is to not empty him again until Easter weekend.
My kitchen bin, spray bottle shown for scale
At the time of writing we're currently on the second day of Lent, the bin is empty - long may it remain so!
- A good kerbside recycling program. City of York council collects waste and recyclables on alternate weeks. They take paper, card, glass, plastic bottles (though, as many other councils, not any other plastics), metal cans and foil.
- A Household Waste Recycling Centre within walking/ cycling distance, for those things the kerbside collection doesn't deal with. It would make my life easier if the full range of facilities were available to pedestrians & cyclists though - at the moment we have to drive there if we want to recycle our tetrapak cartons! Local shops also have collecting points for things like batteries, water filter cartridges and plastic bags.
- Composters! I volunteer for York Rotters, a local composting advice service, my back yard is my trialling-ground and I've just taken delivery of my latest toy - a Green Johanna hot composter, which is suitable for all types of food waste. I also have a standard "dalek" type compost bin, a wormery and a (rather unsuccessful, I'm afraid, & thus neglected) bokashi set.
- Bags. I hate carrier bags with a passion, and keep a collection of Onya bags in my handbag. I have a couple of sets of Onya Weighs too, & need to get back in the habit of using them.
So you see there's always an opportunity to give yourself a rubbish challenge, not just when it's New Year or when the kids go back to school, and this is truly an inspirational idea for anyone who follows Lent. Mel has promised to update us on the progress of her challenge and I'm looking forward to hearing her news. In the meantime, if you want to find out how she's getting on, you can follow her on Twitter at @MrsBYork, or visit her blog Stuff and Nonsense, where she's got a great blogpost about the Green Johanna. Thanks for sharing such a great idea Mrs B. I hope it's a real success.