Each week, since the start of The Rubbish Diet Challenge, we've had the chance to learn more about the individual challenges and the focus of each of the households that have volunteered to be taken through their waste-busting missions. We've scooted around Suffolk, dropped into London, as well as New York, and now this week, it's time to visit Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire to catch up with two more families who are making great changes to their waste.
Melanie lives with her husband, two children and their pet dog (and a seasonal snowman), in the Aylesbury Vale district of Buckinghamshire.
Although life has been very busy of late and they haven't been able to embrace the steps fully, Melanie is pleased that they have been extra vigilant about what goes in their general waste bin and they now always consider whether it could be recycled rather than mindlessly throwing it away.
This has substantially reduced their general waste and she says she is now ashamed about how relatively easily it has been achieved.
However, they have found some aspects particularly challenging. Until now, their kerbside recycling hasn't been great, but she is pleased to hear about the positive changes that Aylesbury Vale will be introducing later this year, (including the collection of cardboard and food waste ), which Melanie thinks will have a great impact if people make full use of them.
They also can't easily recycle Tetra Pak cartons or plastic bags/wrapping etc and Melanie would love to have these facilities incorporated into facilities at their local Household Waste Recycling Centre. Commenting on their use of Ocado for their shopping delivery, she also confirms that although the service will take back carrier bags, drivers no longer always ask customers and she often has to prompt the driver. She now wonders whether the delivery service could extend its efforts a little, e.g. taking back other packaging that's recycled by other customers at the local store. I can't help but agree.
And he did make me chuckle when he said that he is trying to wean himself off a lifetime's addiction to throwing stuff away.
He's confessed that for him, throwing stuff away has felt pretty good - addictive, spiritual and cleansing. He says he's thrown a lot of stuff away without really thinking about it. Out of sight is out of mind, after all.
He now has that nagging feeling that he should be doing something - anything - to reduce the mountain of stuff he sends to landfill. He says this has actually struck a chord as far as his recycling credentials are concerned.
And the one thing that he's been particularly focusing on since the start of The Rubbish Diet, has been how to divert his kitchen scraps.
Tim's realised that if there's one thing more satisfying than having a clear out, it's getting something for nothing. So he's got himself a brand-new compost bin, which is now an eager recipient of potato peelings and other kitchen waste that otherwise would have filled his bin.
As Tim said, in his closing statement, when I asked how he was getting on:
"It's rubbish, Jim, but not as we know it".
I couldn't have put it better myself, even if I did suddenly feel that his mission was teetering on the edge of galactic exploration. If I didn't know better, next time we see that compost bin, I sense it will be looking more like a space rocket.
As long as he keeps his compostables in his garden and doesn't try launching them into outer space, I guess that's okay.
For further progress on how Tim's getting on with his challenge, visit his most excellent blog at Bringing up Charlie.