Welcome to Week 4 of The Rubbish Diet Challenge. I can't believe that already we're almost half-way through. In one way, it feels like a hard slog, but in other ways, the time's been whizzing along, and it will be Week 8 before we know it.
Sadly I didn't get a chance to publish the regular Friday Journal during Week 3, due to battling a cold and Wi-Fi failure, but did you spot the latest news from Sainsbury's? In a bid to help reduce food waste, their new labelling will now advise customers that they can freeze products right up to the Use By date, replacing outdated advice which instructed households to freeze on day of purchase. That's great news and hopefully other supermarkets will follow and update their guidelines too.
By now, anyone taking part in The Rubbish Diet should have got to grips with their local recycling services, discovered the extra facilities that are available through local shops and have started thinking about what food waste really means to them. New habits will be starting to fall into place and while these are put into practice, participants will be wondering what else they can possibly do, to cut down their landfill waste even further.
Well in the world of waste-busting antics, there's always that little something.
So are ready for Week 4? If so, it's time to grab your Marigolds and get cracking.
Week 4 is all about domestic chores. Sorry. It's never been my highlight either. I'd much rather be creative around the house, having loads of fun rather than clearing it up. But one has to be responsible and I soon realised that cleaning and clearing up needed my creativity too, especially if I was going to commit to reducing my waste even further. Some of the things I tested a few years ago fell by the wayside, but most of the changes have remained in place, saving bags full of waste and pockets full of cash, as you'll see from some of the mini-challenges that are set for this week. More information and background material can be found in the online guide that accompanies the challenges detailed below.
1. Reduce the burden. This week it's time to go through your kitchen cupboards and sort out the bad from the good. Many cupboards will be bursting with cleaning products that have been bought as a result of impulse purchases, but end up sitting there gathering dust while households rely on a core number of products. Recognise which ones work for you and promise not to succumb to temptation again. Promise to use up the spare products soon or give them away to friends or via Freecycle. When buying cleaning products in future, look out for condensed products or consider using natural alternatives. These days, you can even buy microfibre cloths for many aspects of your household routine, which promise to scrub and buff up your surfaces without needing any chemicals at all.
2. Reuse all you can. Of course, this principle carries through the whole of The Rubbish Diet, but when it comes to cleaning and household chores, it is amazing how much waste can be reduced through replacing disposable and consumable products with reusable items. I used to spend a fortune on disposable wipes, paper towels and sponges until I switched to washable cleaning cloths and longer lasting washing up gear. Equally, having switched to Eco-balls and more lately the Eco Egg, I have also saved hundreds of pounds on laundry powder, and this has helped slim our recycling bin too. So, as you work through your household chores this week, think about changes that you could ease into your lifestyle and try giving them a go.
3.Recycle those empties. Household cleaner or detergent bottles are now classed as one of the more widely-recyclable containers in the UK, which means they are collected by most local authorities. So, even if your council does not accept the wider variety of plastics, they may still collect these. If you are not in the habit of recycling these bottles regularly and are still unsure if your local council takes them, you can check easily, by calling your local council or visiting the Recycle Now website.
4.Downsize your rubbish bin. If you've experienced a huge boon to your recycling activities since Week 1 along with a diminished amount of rubbish, it's time to celebrate by reorganising your bin bags! Not only will this provide you with a physical sense of achievement, but it also creates a physical reminder amongst your household to keep on going. If your actual kitchen recycling bin is smaller than your rubbish bin, try switching them around and make more space for your recycling. Another technique that you can try is to remove the rubbish bins from everywhere else in the house, or particular rubbish hotspots e.g. the home office, bathrooms or bedrooms to ensure that everything is brought to the kitchen for sorting to disposal. Some councils also allow you to swap your large wheelie bin for a smaller one, just like Terry-Anna, one of our bin-slimmers from Ipswich, discovered a few weeks ago.
And of course on the subject of our bin-slimmers, today's the day for catching up with how they are getting on with their individual missions. Most of them will still have another week to go until their rubbish gets collected so as the results come in throughout the day, please note that many of these will be interim figures.
Household: 2 adults, in Ipswich Borough, Suffolk.
WK1 Weigh-in: 1.5 large bags, filling one third of a wheelie bin (fortnightly): WK 4: 1/2 bag
2. Ness. @NessyThompson
Household: 2 adults & 5 children, a rural village in Mid Suffolk
WK1 Weigh-in: 2 full wheelie bins (fortnightly). WK 4:
3. Donna. @Donna_De
Household: 2 adults, in Tower Hamlets in London. www.beatinglimitations.com/blog
WK1 Weigh-in: 1 30L rubbish sack. (weekly). WK 4:1 30L rubbish sack 2/3 full.
4. Amy. @AmyMarpman
Household: 2 adults in New York City. www.beyondthebluebin.com
WK1 Weigh-in: 2 bin bags - estimated 9kg / 20lbs. (Weekly) WK 4: 2 bags (including one full of polystyrene), weighing 4.08kg/9lbs.
5: Kate. @BusinessPlumber
Household: 2 adults, in a rural village in Mid Suffolk : www.businessplumber.co.uk
WK1 Weigh-in: 1 unusually full wheelie bin - incl Christmas waste. (fortnightly): WK 4:
6: Jax. @LiveOtherwise
Household: 2 adults, 3 children & a baby on its way, in Suffolk Coast. http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup/
WK1 Weigh-in: 7 small bin bags - filling one third or half of a wheelie bin (fortnightly). WK 4?
Household: 2 adults, 2 children, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire
WK 1 Weigh-in: 3 large bin bags, almost filling a whole wheelie bin. (weekly). WK 4 1 bag
Household: 2 adults, 3 children, Lincolnshire. www.bringingupcharlie.co.uk
WK 1 Weigh-in: 1 full wheelie bin (fortnightly). WK4: 2 small bags, with another week to go until collection.
Don't forget, just because the Rubbish Diet challenge is already in WK 4, it doesn't mean that you can't join in. Just visit the online guide to catch up with everything you need to do. There's also lots happening on Twitter too, so to join in the conversation just use the hashtag #therubbishdiet, or tweet @karencannard.