Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Rubbish Diet could be coming to a town near you!

The Rubbish Diet team visiting Nesta!
Please excuse my tardiness in sharing this VERY EXCITING news with you. 

I should have done it last week, but with news of my mum falling ill, then rushing to Wales to see her, then losing my laptop en route, and continued worries about her health, understandably this blog has had to take a back seat.

However, I can't keep it quiet any longer!  What's happening with The Rubbish Diet is far too exciting to keep tucked away in my desk drawers and if you follow me on Twitter, you may have indeed caught a few snippets of the news.

So to the sound of an imaginary drum-roll, I am chuffed to pieces to announce that my Rubbish Diet challenge has been selected as a semi-finalist in a national waste reduction competition, which could see the 'slimming club' analogy rolled out to villages, towns and cities, right across the UK, helping communities achieve an amazing impact on reducing their rubbish.

The Waste Reduction Challenge, run by Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, and funded by the Cabinet Office, aims to identify new ideas that can influence and mobilise communities to make significant reductions in waste and impact behaviour for years to come.

In partnership with the Zero Waste Alliance UK (working with Katy Anderson, pictured above), the Rubbish Diet competition entry proposes to engage with established community groups around the UK, including schools, Transition Towns and W.I. branches, to help them organise their own waste-busting challenges, following an 8-week plan of fun and lively events that will help to empower households to slim their bins.

The idea is, of course, based on the very roots of this blog, when I took St Edmundsbury Borough Council's Zero Waste Week Challenge almost five years ago, (remember that plaster?), and which then developed into the online Rubbish Diet Challenge 2012, where I mentored 8 households through the process of slimming their bins, by at least 50%, at the beginning of this year.

Building on that, I have since been busy with Transition Shrewsbury, which has already launched its Rubbish Diet Shropshire community pilot, where 20 households have signed up to reduce their waste.  This is just the first stage. The Rubbish Diet Shropshire project, which is being managed locally, will launch even wider in the new year,  with events run by the community for the community, with households just like yours and mine, sharing knowledge about how they reduce their waste and attempting to overcome the hurdles that arise.

And it's that process, which the Nesta Waste Reduction Challenge will help to replicate around the UK.

So, we're in the semi-finals!  What next?

This is where even more hard work begins, in putting together an ambitious but realistic plan to roll-out the Rubbish Diet challenge next year, featuring a communications strategy, participant engagement, measuring & monitoring procedures and lots of other exciting things that will help communities launch their own slimming clubs for bins.

So, there really really could be a fun Rubbish Diet challenge coming to an area near you.  Just imagine!

We just need to get through the next round! But, boy, is the competition tough! So please keep watching this space for further news.

And of course, if you think your community would like to join in, then do get in touch.


The Waste Reduction Challenge Prize is offering a prize for the innovation that achieves the biggest measureable reduction in waste, by providing new opportunities for communities to come together to give time, skills and resources.

The semi-finalists (which also includes a Mattress Recycling Scheme in my home county of Suffolk) will be supported to develop a detailed plan for their idea. In January, five concepts for each, with the potential for sustainability and scale, will be selected to test their ideas. They will receive up to £10,000 and professional advice to set up and test their projects before a winner for each challenge is selected in September 2013 and awarded £50,000.


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