Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Meet the bin slimmers

Each week, I will be introducing some of the volunteers who have signed up for the Rubbish Diet challenge, so that we can find out more about their rubbish, the issues that arise and their plans for slimming those bins.

For Week 1, I'd like to introduce you to two people from Suffolk, Ness and Terry-anna.

Meet Terry-anna

Terry-anna lives with her partner in Ipswich, which falls under the district of Ipswich Borough.

When she first volunteered for the challenge she mentioned that she threw out between 2 -3 bags of rubbish every fortnight. However, already at the start of the challenge this week, she'd already slimmed this down to one and a half bags for her first weigh-in. 

This is great. Taking advantage of less waste, Terry-anna has already ordered a new slimmer bin from her council, a 180L, which will take up less room than the average 240L that's issued to most homes.

Some of the key things that her household will be tackling throughout the Rubbish Diet Challenge include some food waste (but not much), aerosol cans and those annoying little things such as tissues.  However, she doesn't want to stop there. When she was offered the opportunity to have a larger recycling bin, she politely declined.  Instead, she hopes to slim down her recycling bin too.

Huge thanks to Terry-anna for joining in and helping to support the launch of the challenge on BBC Radio Suffolk this week.  You can listen in on the link to Mark Murphy's show, with my introduction at 1hr 6min and Terry-anna's interview at 1hr 25m, where she confesses that she really hopes to get down to zero during Week 8.

*Terry-anna's new bin is part of Ipswich Borough Council's 60\40 plan where they are aiming for 60% recycling and offer residents the choice of smaller rubbish bins and larger recycling bins. 

For Ipswich's recycling guidelines, click here.

Meet Ness

Ness lives with her husband and three children (aged 6, 8 & 10) plus a dog and two cats, in the rural district of Mid Suffolk.

Currently she has two wheelie bins for rubbish, which are generally full to capacity each fortnight.  However, for her first weigh-in this week, she was already pleased to see that her rubbish was down by one bag since she's been preparing to take on the challenge.

The key challenges for Ness will be organic waste and making sure that her family follows the recycling guidelines.  It's a busy household, which means things that can be recycled often get thrown into the rubbish bin.  Just like Ipswich, Mid Suffolk residents benefit from mixed plastics recycling so most packaging can be put in the recycling bin for kerbside collection. 

However, Mid Suffolk doesn't collect compostables, except for garden waste, and even so, this service is only provided on subscription for residents who need it.  Knowing that organic waste such as peelings and odd pieces of mouldy fruit end up in her rubbish bin, Ness has committed herself to getting to grips with home-composting and has already got a bin on order.

She's also focusing on how she can organise other materials to drop at the Household Waste Recycling Centre, which admittedly is not always a convenient exercise, but will allow her to recycle textiles, Tetrapaks,  plastic film and hard plastic.  I'm hoping that by the end of this challenge, Ness will have cut her rubbish down by at least half and the council will be able to wheel that second bin away.

*For Mid Suffolk's recycling guidelines, click here.

I'll be reporting back on how both households have managed later on in the challenge.  In the meantime, for further information about recycling facilities in Suffolk, visit the county's new website.


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