Be warned, this is not an official press release. This is more of a "Flippin' 'eck, how did we go from a bashful young me not wanting to even air my dirty rubbish in public five years ago, to OMG, The Rubbish Diet has just made it to the finals of a major national waste reduction challenge, so come on people, join me and let's rock this thing!" kind of statement.
In other words, The Rubbish Diet bin-slimming project, which was submitted to the Nesta Waste Reduction Challenge in September, has made it to the next stage of of the competition, along with 5 other finalists. Working with our small team, (including Katy, my project manager below), we will now have until the end of September to develop and trial our approach in Suffolk and Shropshire. If we win, we will receive £50k to invest in rolling out the Rubbish Diet nationally.
Scared much? Oh indeed, yes! This is probably the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done since agreeing to put my own rubbish in the spotlight in 2008 and then coming out from behind my bin to admit to caring so passionately about something that many people still might consider as mundane as the washing-up.
For me the challenge isn't just about helping people to recycle more, it's about bringing the topic so alive that they really want to do it, talk about it, share their expertise, help create waste-busting opportunities in their own communities and most importantly have a lot of fun in doing so.
Our challenge officially launches in Suffolk and Shropshire in April, where we will be asking people to take The Rubbish Diet together, setting up mini 'slimming-clubs' either at work, as part of an existing social group or setting up a local project just to focus on rubbish. So if you live in either county and want to get involved then please get in touch now! We haven't got long to reach the target trial of 100 households in each county, but I have a few exciting surprises up my sleeve which will hopefully be announced soon.
We hope that our eight week Rubbish Diet challenge will give participants plenty of time to try different things and share their experiences. With peer-to-peer support, anticipated early successes and the goal of a personal zero waste week we also hope that bin-slimmers will achieve more than they might first expect.
So while it's going to be a scary ride for me, it's going to be very exciting really, especially as we will also be working with MyZeroWaste to run this year's National Zero Waste Week as our September project finale.
You can find out more about our vision in the video below, which we submitted at the semi-finalist stage.
The Rubbish Diet - Coming To A Bin Near You from Katy Anderson on Vimeo.
It really is great to have reached the Waste Reduction Challenge final and I owe so much of this to my fabulous project team who forged ahead with the application while my own attention was on my mother when she fell ill in November. At the time, none of us knew that she would only have just one month to live. She passed away suddenly at the beginning of December and I miss her very much. If she were still here to share the news, she would now be ringing her friends, rolling her eyes, and saying 'you'll never guess what that Karen is up to now'.
I guess the answer to that is that I'm rolling up my sleeves, beavering away in the background, preparing resources and smiling sweetly at people in such a way that they can't fail to want to get on board. As is my partner-in-grime, Ali, who's doing exactly the very same thing over in Shropshire.
So do watch this space for more news soon. One thing's for sure, it's all going to evolve at a very rapid pace.
Meanwhile, I'd better put a stop to this soppy blogging and get on with writing the press release. So, it's time to grab a coffee, sit up straight at my desk and start looking all official.
More information and details of the other fabulous finalists can be found in Nesta's recent announcement.
Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation, helping people and organisations bring great ideas to life. It does this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. The organisation is an independent charity and its work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.
The Giving Challenges - Waste Reduction and Ageing Well - have been set to encourage community innovation in the giving of time, skills and resources for social good. The challenges are run by Nesta's Centre for Challenge Prizes and funded by the Cabinet Office and will see one idea from each of the challenges awarded £50,000.