Thursday, 22 January 2009

Our Zero Waste Home in One Mad Dash

Continuing the celebrations of the first anniversary of The Rubbish Diet, I couldn't resist the opportunity for one extra special challenge and give you a quick video tour of some of the zero waste choices that we have made in our home over the last 12 months.

I've tried to squeeze in 25 examples from all over the house, including our laundry choices and a variety of bathroom products. Our yoghurt maker even got a special airing. The great thing is, by reducing what we've bought, buying some things in bulk and swapping product choices, we've also seen a saving in our well-earned cash. It's just a shame I couldn't include everything. But if I had, I'm afraid you'd be here all day.

So, if you're up for some fast, unscripted, unedited and often out-of-breath babbling, come and have a laugh or indeed a cry at my quick stop tour around the Almost Average Household, then see if you can answer the questions below. Just one word of caution, please bear in mind that the products we've chosen have been selected to suit our own recycling facilities and our particular lifestyle. Other options are available that may be more suited to you.

1. So who spotted the huge sack of potatoes that we now use instead of the huge amounts of pasta that we used to buy? Saves us a fortune, £4 for a 12.5 kilo sack that lasts us for about 6 weeks.

2. And did you notice the tub of bicarb and container of white vinegar that I forget to mention? Great for cleaning sinks, but which sink were they next to? I'll give you a clue, there was also a yellow Ecloth in the vicinity which is perfect for cleaning windows and mirrors without the need for chemicals?

3. Why on earth would I suggest you keep your toilet roll tubes? LOL...answers on a postcard. Most inventive and useful answer wins a free copy of the book when it eventually appears on the shelves!

And finally

4. Did you count the number of examples I managed to squeeze in? I'm afraid I lost count. Oh well...any guesses :-D



Margaret's Ramblings said...

ALthough I save them to use as seed pots, our kitten Pebbles thinks they are made for her benefit. She skittles them across the floor and they keep her amused for hours. So that's my suggestion - a recycled kitten's toy. Margaret

Anonymous said...

:D :D oh my goodness, that was brilliant LOL! what energy you have!
I wanted to ask you about something you mentioned, but I can't remember it now. Doh! I'll get back to you in a mo when it's filtered through the grey matter.

Mrs G x

Anonymous said...

Cotton buds, we were just talking about them, I use them for everything from bathroom to crafts. Did you buy them from the supermarket?????????

Karen J said...

Great tour - thanks! I was tired just watching you, I hope you enjoyed your cup of tea!
Thanks for the tip about toothpaste, I was wondering what to do about that - didn't really fancy going down the bicarb route!!!

Christina S said...

I enjoyed that nosey round your house enormously! I'll be trying a lush shampoo bar and I shall make sure I choose cotton wool buds with a paper middle too - great tips, thank you :-)

Wright's ciabatta bread mix is brilliant. Two good loaves for around 75p, and it's a great one for impressing guests!

dandaworld said...

ROFL! VERY QUICK!!! Is there a control on You Tube to see it a bit slowly? Promise you made an extended version of it, please, would you? But it was very very funny!
I was very happy to see a lot of things there in common with my house: reusable bags, yogurth maker, milk in glass bottles, coffee in paper sack, bulk detergents, and so on... including some objects and furniture! We are very similar indeed!
Yesterday I tried to describe my HWRC on my blog. But videos have more impact! What a power, and what a volcano are you! :D

Anonymous said...

Excellent coverage of the various home hotspots for waste. I particularly liked the Ecover washing-up liquid. The refillable system does away away with so many plastic bottles. This must be the future.

It was a bit of a rush however. Choose some soothing music to calm the flow. My choice would be The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy or the Waltz sequence both from The NutCracker Suite, absolutely smooth.

Denise said...

I enjoyed your mad dash. I must look out for those cotton buds. I do most of those things already, but you gave us some good tips there. We did try a Lush shampoo bar a while back but got itchy scalp. It looked different to yours though, so maybe I'll try again.

Quick question: Can waxed/greaseproof paper be composted? I try to avoid buying packaged cakes and biscuits, but use greaseproof paper to line the tins and usually throw it in the dustbin. Thanks

Layla said...

Really interesting to see your home & all the 'new' products and all!!
Curious where you get milk in a bottle.. the supermarket?

I was wondering about paper from butter and such, and other carton/paper packaging being composted/recycled too.. I still prefer to use 'just oil' for baking cookies or muffins.. (YUM!)

As for other carton/paper packaging, I read that glossy paper with lots of colors is not recycled most easily (actually it was said to be a dirty process with lots of chemicals), so it's best to avoid it.. And there are potentially bad chemicals in those colors too, so I prefer to keep those away from our garden..

Really lovely home you have!! Enjoyed the tour!!

Almost Mrs Average said...

Margaret I love that suggestion. Looks like you're the front runner and I will most definitely give it a go at home. :-D

LOL Mrs G, I love the two big grins. I'm now just wondering whether you brain cells have recovered yet...I'm intrigued, what was it you wanted to know? :-D

Hi Fiona - I love coincidences like that...yes I got them from Waitrose, but you can pick them up online too. I think Natural Collection has them. Of course the only trouble is they come in a plastic pot, which is okay if you've got mixed plastics recycling facilities on hand.

Hi Karen - I find the toothpaste brilliant. I've not managed to sway Mr A from his Colgate Oxygen though, he's a creature of habit so I accept his toothpaste tubes come with the deal LOL. However, like you I could never take to the Bicarbonate of Soda option. The can of toothpaste is more expensive but it lasts ages :-D
P.S. My cup of tea was lovely ta.

LOL Rubes - you probably recognise the place from your couple of visits here. The Lush shampoos are fab. Did I tell you I won the Lush goody bag on Tracey's show the other day? Can't wait for it to arrive :-D
P.S. the ciabatta mix is so easy and the bread is delicious too. I love it!

LOL Danda - I promise you, you don't really want to see it more slowly, you'd be here all night. It took over 3 hours to load up just 9 minutes onto YouTube (LOL and that was after several failed attempts hee, hee. It's funny but I didn't even expect the vid to be that long. I thought I'd get it done in 5. Just imagine if I'd covered everything. It could have filled an hour. It's great that you share quite a lot of the things in Italy. Brilliant :-D

John...Sugar Plum Fairy (???). It's my turn to chuckle, I can imagine the scene now. LOL. Don't tempt me :-D

Hi Denise - glad you liked the vid. I hope it would show that my seemingly bonkers world is actually just normal and easy. Do try the green version of the lush shampoo. I can really recommend it. If it does get a bit troublesome after a few months, you could always switch to another version. And greasproof paper can be composted. It just might take a bit longer than other paper. To make it easier, tear or shred it into small pieces first. The cotton buds were from Waitrose but can also be bought online (Natural Collection I think). :-D

Hi Layla, the milk bottles (and glass juice bottles) are delivered by our local milkman. We are lucky in our area to have such a service. Yes I think there is a problem with glossy mags due to the ink used. I recycle mine or redistribute them. However I buy so few these days compared to before. I believe that newspapers now have vegetable inks, so they are fine to go in the compost along with the greaseproof paper, which just needs to be torn up or shredded first. Thanks for your lovely comments about our home. Am so glad you enjoyed the tour, gaffs and all :-D

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

You asked why you should keep toilet roll tubes? Ahhh - reuse that's something right up my alley! Just off the top of my head you could use empty toilet roll for:
1. Give it to hamster, mice pets to chew on.
2. Wrap electric/computer cords in it to tidy up behind your desk.
3. Rip it up and compost it in place of grass clippings.
4. Decorate it. Crimp/Flatten the ends and use it as a gift box.
5. Cut it into smaller rings. Decorate them and use them as napkin rings for your cloth napkins.

just Gai said...

Phew! But what a brilliant idea. And what a lovely house you have. Mine's generally far too untidy for public consumption.

Most of the things you do I'm doing already but I did pick up a few new ones eg paper cotton buds. I like the idea of keeping a small landfill bin in the kitchen. We have a small kitchen and our (now less full) bin takes up a disproportionate amount of space. We're lucky enough to have refill facilities for our Ecover/Bio D products which saves us having to buy industrial sized quantities and a kitchen waste collection which saves us from a bokashi bin.

I think it's helpful for people to see that reducing waste doesn't have to be complicated and can even be fun! The government should commission you to produce a video for the telly. I'm sure it would make a difference to a lot of people's behaviour.

PS I've cut toilet roll tubes into sections and used them to propogate seeds on the windowsill.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that was good stuff! Where do you get that toothpaste in a can..? I've never seen it...
Idea for the toilet roll tubes.... collect them up and use them as fuel in the home (obviously in a suitale recepticle or the fireplace ifyou have one!)to help save on energy bills...

lunarossa said...

Your video was fantastic, it gave me some tips and definitely an incentive to recycle more. I will look the the ciabatta mix, thanks. We've just switched from plastic bottled water to filtered water and in the last month our blue bin was half empty! All the best and thanks again! Ciao. Antonella

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention this in my comments mentioned Lindt chocolate as a good alternative to some other brands cos the packaging is recyclable BUT if the product has to be flown into England from Europe to get to us in the first place, doesn't that kind of negate the good work we do with the package disposal..? Just a thought. Maybe we should be lobbying Cadburys to put their choc bars in better packaging so we can avoid buying from outside the UK.....

Almost Mrs Average said...

Wow Condo Blues...those really are fantastic, especially for tidying up those annoying wires...looks like I've got some work to do with our technology. You're full of fab ideas. :-D

LOL Just Gai - don't think I didn't give it a quick tidy up first and made sure I stayed out of the dining room with doubles up as Little T's making room for all his crafty activities LOL. That's great news that you've got a refill service close by. My nearest is around about 7 miles outside Bury, at a farm shop which I only visit once in a while. And you're right, there should be more of this kind of stuff being promoted on the television...Mr Brown are you listening? LOL. Not sure what folk would make of my gurning though :-D

Hi Lunarossa - glad you like the video....and those Ciabatta mixes are so easy. They take just five minutes mixing and kneading, 10 minutes to rest and then about half an hour to prove, before baking them. They're delicious too. Good news about your filtered water. Isn't it great to see the effect on that bin too. :-D

Hi've now got me dreaming of that woodburner I would so love to have. Sigh...but project woodburner would mean having to get a new TV to free up some space...the type that can be attached to the wall. So I'll have to wait a bit longer to use my toilet roll inners as an energy source. LOL :-D

Good point about flying in products, which really does raise the issue of ethical choices when choosing products that have recyclable packaging or indeed those that are without packaging altogether. It's the kind of thing that also makes you have to choose between organic and non-organic as well as fair trade or non-ethically sourced products. Where best to draw the line is always down to the individual and it really is one of those things people face when dealing with zero waste targets.

Also there is the other factor to bear in mind too, which we can never really know in that how much waste is created in the processing of products whether their deemed zero waste or's all so complicated.

But it's a good point and it would be interesting to find out whether Lindt actually fly their chocolate into the UK or if the delivery shipments are by lorry\ferry or rail as it is only coming over from Switzerland. Maybe if they do fly and I get an attack of conscience I could pick up a year's supply when I'm there in the summer.

Of course it would be great if Cadbury's did choose better packaging for their products or indeed if there was a market for the plastic packets...but from a taste perspective, I sadly prefer Lindt... shucks...I'll never make a true eco-warrior...

...howeer I have stopped buying strawberries that are flown in from far away lands and only buy English ones in season...much more healthier than chocolate any day :-D

Karin said...

I was getting these cotton buds
from my Waitrose, but they haven't had them for several months which is very disappointing.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Karin - thanks for sharing that link. And it really is a shame you can't get them as it is important for such products to be easily accessible. it might be worth just asking if they'll be stocking them again and sharing your disappointment.

Anonymous said...

happy blog-iversary. Great, energy filled video. I hope you enjoyed your relaxing tea afterwards. There were quite a few comments about q-tips, so I'll add my two bits. Don't you get them in a cardboard box? That's how it is in Canada - not need for plastic. Loved all your other tips though. Have you ever tried making toothpaste?

Unknown said...

Any thoughts on burning paper and cardboard instead of recycling...we live in a rural area where we can do that and mostly burn in our woodstove so the btu's are heating the house.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Anella: Great to see you here - I don't have a woodburner myself but I know that many people create "logs" from compacted paper and cardboard waste. There's a great article in the March issue of Home Farmer about making the most of a wood burner. It's very interesting and makes me want to get one all the more. :-D

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin