Friday, 3 February 2012

The Friday Journal: Week 2's rubbish highlights

So, hello you wonderful gaggle of bin-slimmers! It's almost the end of Week 2 of The Rubbish Diet challenge and what another fantastic week it's been, with our EIGHT households dotted around the country - and New York - facing up to the challenges and in most cases overcoming their frustrations to reduce their waste.  It's been brilliant to see them reporting back on local recycling facilities that they've discovered, and not just those provided by their local councils but opportunities supplied by chain stores too, which have take-back facilities for plastic film (e.g. supermarkets), batteries (e.g. Robert Dyas) and small electricals (e.g. O2 stores recycle digital cameras, iPods as well as phones).  As this week is all about shopping habits, it's a great reminder to keep your eyes peeled for stuff that you can recycle when you're next in town.

And talking of eyes.  That photo up there in that top right hand corner, is by no way my attempt at creating an air of authority over our waste-busters.  It's more of a reminder that my personal highlight of the week has been my submission to middle-age with my commitment to varifocals. And with a 2-for-1 offer at Vision express, I decided to ditch the option of getting a free second pair of brand new specs and instead had my old reading glasses reglazed with my new prescription.  I can't even begin to tell you the joys at being able to see the screen properly.  Of course, if I hadn't chosen the reglazing option, I could have donated my old glasses to the Vision Aid Overseas scheme, for which Vison Express collected 10,000 pairs of spectacles in 2010.  If I'm honest, I'm now feeling a bit guilty for having had them reglazed and not donating them, but I only realised when it was too late. Other ideas for recycling unwanted glasses can be found over at MyZeroWaste.

Elsewhere, of more national interest, the £250m treasure chest to revert to costly weekly rubbish collections was launched today.  Rather than repeat myself, I'll recycle the blogpost that I wrote on the matter in September when the scheme was first announced.  It would be detrimental to revert to outdated weekly collection methods but hopefully the fund will enable those councils that wish to invest in diverting food waste out of landfill, to add such a scheme to their service.

News from plastics reprocessors also reveals that as more different types of plastics are collected, serious investment is still needed in proper separation methods to improve the quality of output from the recycling process, as well as harnessing a wider public commitment to recycle more plastic bottles within the household waste stream.  On the other side of the waste stream, it has also been highlighted that retailers are still finding waste reduction a key issue in their supply chains, despite making progress on their own operations.  It really does show that when you look at the wider picture, just like trying to improve things on the home-front, it can feel like three steps forward and one step back.

However, progress is being made throughout all aspects of the waste stream and highlights that every participant has a role to play!  And each effort counts, whether it's the recently announced agreement amongst London bars & restaurants commiting to ditch the humble plastic straw,  or independent retailers like Mark Hall, pictured left, whose business provides a take-back scheme for customers to return their old Courtyard Chutney Co. jars.

For example, with each jar returned, customers receive 25p off their next purchase, which is great news for regular customers, Mark's business and what he describes as "jar miles".  All jars, whether new or old, have to sterilised before use, so the process still saves the business money and with brand new sealable lids that conform to H&S regulations, jars can be back on display within days.

And finally, back to our bin-slimmers.  The most lovely surprise of the week was the news that Terry-Anna from Ipswich appeared on BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy show on Wednesday with an update on her Rubbish Diet challenge. Having only created just half a rubbish bag of waste this week, she explained her strategy on-air.  Do listen in if you have a chance before next Wednesday.  It's a bit of a giggle and you'll find it at 2hrs 36m into the programme.



joe said...

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