Monday, 10 September 2012
What a week!
I must have been absolutely out of my mind to suggest that I decluttered my kitchen for National Zero Waste Week. Nothing like pressure eh!
When I first mentioned my plans to my husband, he threw me one of his looks, accompanied by hands on hips, warning me that surely I'd got the wrong idea. That really, I shouldn't aim to chuck so much out during a week intended to slim our bin.
Having ventured nowhere near the far corners of some of the cupboards for... er... 5 years, he had a point. I really didn't know what I would be up against!
But look! The overhaul of the kitchen cupboards didn't impact on our rubbish at all.
That small bin bag, pictured above, is the sum of our landfill rubbish last week, despite getting rid of a load of stuff!
If I had attempted the declutter five years ago, it would have been a different story. Not least because I probably wouldn't have gone to the trouble of sorting it.
These bags full of unused baking equipment and storage containers would still have probably gone to charity.
But most of this junk, now destined for the reuse\recycling skips at the Household Waste Recycling Centre would have no doubt ended up in the bin! Thankfully, these days our local facilities include containers for broken hard plastics and small electricals, which helps tremendously when you're in the midst of a blimmin' good clear out!
And as for this wonder drawer of mixed tat, my impatient hand would have dumped it all in a bag and got rid of it within minutes.
Instead, I set aside an hour to sort it properly, sending some random bits of plastic off for recycling and organising the rest of the stuff so it can be easily found and used.
Even the freezer, where our leftovers historically suffer a frozen death, received a visit from the decluttering hand, which helped to salvage a sausage casserole, a packet of mince, some fish, a dozen chipolatas and some bacon rashers, This enabled me to happily avoid the supermarket for a week, using up what we already had. I am such a lazy defroster and rarely plan ahead, the freezer proved to come up trumps as a right little goldmine during Zero Waste Week. My aim now is to gradually work through the rest of the contents and relieve more space so that I can use it more efficiently.
But did I really achieve my overall aims last week?
Yes! I believe I did! Working my way through this.
And creating much needed space in the cupboards to achieve this!
What pleases me most is that I am finally in control of the contents of my kitchen. It took five days of sorting and clearing and no area has been left untouched. What helped me along were the wise words of a friend who reminded me that unwanted stuff left at the back of cupboards was just as wasteful as if it had been dumped into landfill. I am now confident that everything that I have kept will be put to good use. All the unused clutter has been rehomed and will no longer be wasted.
Of course my key aim was to create much longed-for space, so that I can put my creative culinary skills to good use again and be far better at avoiding food waste.
I can already see the return of the 'old me' and I have been busy cooking up the random contents found lurking in the fridge\freezer. And having rediscovered a whole cupboard of flour to use up, benefiting from that space once more has really proved to be the icing on the cake!
I now wonder which room I should tackle next!
So thank you to everyone who left supportive comments as well as all the Twitter crew who cheered me along during the week.
As well as having my head firmly in the kitchen cupboards, I have also been busy waving the flag locally in Suffolk for National Zero Waste Week. Huge thanks to BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy and James Hazell for giving me some much appreciated airtime. And a major round of applause to Barry Peters, the editor of the Bury Free Press, for taking up the Rubbish Diet Challenge and doing a marvellous job for his own Zero Waste Week.
Well done to MyZeroWaste for an amazing awareness campaign for 2012. I was proud to support it. For more information about what else was going on around the country, visit www,myzerowaste.com.