Monday, 18 June 2012

Confessions of a rubbish blogger - for Recycle Week

Blimmin' 'eck, it's Recycle Week!

The 9th one apparently - although I've only ever been aware of the last 5.  I reckon I must have been sleepwalking beforehand, probably too busy at work or with the kids, or doing the washing up, picking pins out of the wall or probably flossing.

Well it is a bit of a bizarre thing to have on your kitchen calendar isn't it!

"Recycle Week whoop whoop. I love a bit of that!" isn't quite the typical cry to be heard in the average household, unless of course you happen to be someone entrenched deeply in the recycling sector and can't wait to make a big noise this week.

So, seeing as I'm pretty much of a waste groupie, with one leg dangling inside the recycling industry whilst keeping the other one safely on my home turf near the kitchen sink, I thought I ought to contribute in my own way and confess a few things that might bring hope to you all....

Gawd help us!

Here goes.

Sometimes, dare I admit, I get caught without my resuable bag. Yes, mostly I juggle, partly to stand by the the 'refuse' principle and sometimes to replicate the challenge of Buckaroo, but on a few occasions I've had to give in.  But eh! I have refused plastic bags in Harrods! Yes Harrods, the place where I would once go just to get my hands on one of their shiny green carriers! So I reckon my halo remains intact, even if on the rare occasion it might look a bit dangly!

I once called my sister a waster! I was five. She was two. She was wasting her food. I got told off for swearing. I was simply being truthful. Tact was never my strength.

Many people think I live at the recycling centre!  I don't. I only pop in when passing, which might be once every 4-6 weeks. Thanks to a number of joint projects, I now have a 'Recycle for Suffolk' hi-vis jacket but I promise you all, I never attempt to impersonate a recycling operative, that would be mean to the professionals and the unsuspecting public.

I can be a real prude! So when asked by an Irish radio presenter, about the one thing we should never send to landfill, to this very day I still don't know why I blurted out 'sanitary towels'. Still blushing, I think I should have said food waste instead, even if I was secretly proud of getting over my hang-ups and abandoning the disposables. I fear it was too much for both me and the unsuspecting man on the radio, let alone his audience!

Ringing up my local council's waste strategy officer to ask where I could recycle my husband's old pants, just a matter of days before we did a joint presentation, did nothing to end my blushing or help my professional reputation! But bagging them up and dropping them in the textile bank did make me feel a whole lot better, as well as knowing what to do with the dodgy old loo seat!

Kevin McCloud once took a shine to my lovely upcycled handbag, which is made from old redundant firehose diverted from landfill. When he asked to look inside, I became utterly embarrassed that it had been a long while since I'd last emptied or recycled its contents. 'Always be prepared' has since been my motto, even if in reality, I still use my bag as a mini waste transfer station.  From that day I have not let anyone else peer within!

One of my scariest moments was during filming for a TV documentary when I had to go through a family's rubbish that was spread out on their lawn, within minutes of meeting them. Apparently the director got that idea from this very blog.  However, I don't remember writing anything about me personally emptying out bags of doggy doo.  Thank goodness for the protective masks, even if the elastic did break frequently, adding to the waste pile! It was worth it though. By picking out all the things that could be recycled locally, stuff that could be reused as well as disposables that could be replaced with longer lasting alternatives, the family reduced their rubbish even further during the week that followed.

And finally, there is the matter of my own rubbish. Despite forever pushing towards the road towards Zero Waste, we still have some rubbish that unfortunately has to go to landfill.  Things like confectionery wrappers, crisp packets, toothpaste tubes and other types of multi-material laminate packaging, plus the odd scrap of food waste, when our wormery needs a pepping up or if, like any other household, things haven't quite gone to plan.

I admit that we are lucky to live in a part of the country where the recycling services are extensive, where we can recycle almost every type of plastic packaging in our kerbside bins as well as hard plastic such as broken kids toys and coathangers at the county's Recycling Centres.

The moral is that recycling services are improving all the time and councils across the country are using Recycle Week to help boost awareness of what can be done to reduce waste locally, whether it's encouraging you to recycle all your plastic bottles or to find out more about organic waste.

So if you're not up-to-date with the latest facilities in your area, it really is worth logging onto your council's website to find out what's happening, or visiting  And if you're a newcomer to the whole idea of wastebusting, especially when it comes to food, you'll find even more advice at

And my last piece of advice is, no matter how daft your recycling query might be, don't be shy about calling your council.  The worst that'll happen is you'll cheer up someone's day and at best, you'll know what to do with that thing that's been niggling your recycling muscles for far too long!


Blogger disclaimer: In the climate of sponsored blogs, I'd like to clarify that this blog is totally independent of Recycle Week and all websites listed above. This post is not sponsored. I just know a blimmin' useful resource when I see one!


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