Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Guest Post, by Julie Day on her Rubbish Diet Challenge

Author Julie Day, with her debut book, Rosie and the Sick School

Today I am delighted to feature a guest post by Romance and Children's writer Julie Day, who stumbled over the Rubbish Diet Challenge, via Mrs Green's blog at My Zero Waste, and decided to give it a go.  As well as slimming her bin, Julie has been putting pressure on her local council to improve plastics recycling.  Over on her blog, she has been busy documenting the progress of her Lewisham household, which comprises herself and her mum and has already reached Week 5 of her challenge.   Aiming to slim down to just one bag a week, this is how she's been getting on so far.

My Rubbish Diet Challenge Weeks 1-4.

I’m a keen recycler, who likes to recycle as much as I can.  I thought I was doing very well until I came across Karen’s Rubbish Diet Challenge on the website www.myzerowaste.com, and read weeks 1-4.  I now realise what else I can do and here is what I’ve learnt and now do.

I recycle the usual at home inc batteries, Tetrapaks and metal clothes hangers, and had been recycling lots of plastics, until recently when I found out my local council only recycles plastic bottles.  So I did some contacting at work, and any plastics that have the Mobius Loop on I now take to work and recycle there. Problem solved.

I read week 1 and realised I could recycle more plastics at Sainsbury’s.  I have seen the bring bag banks but never actually took notice of them but now I do.  I read the label on the wrappers and if it says ‘can recycle at larger stores’ then I keep them with our shopping bags and take them when we do our weekly shopping trip.  We always use our own bags in store, and wherever I go I usually refuse plastic bags.  Any we do get, we reuse as bin bags.   I always read the label on plastic covers now and if the plastic isn’t recycleable then try to ignore it.  Unfortunately the bag of carrots Mum wanted last week wasn’t and I had to take it.
The other thing I do now is peel off foil from medicine tablet packs.  I have various medical problems so have lots of tablets, and instead of just throwing the empty blister pack in the bin, I peel off as much foil as I can then throw it away.

I didn’t realise that biodegradable plastic bags don’t really do much for the environment, not that I use them anyway but won’t now.  And I didn’t realise that some of the symbols on plastics don’t mean anything and the only one to take note of is the Mobius Loop.

Karen is wrong, you can recycle crisp packets.*  Here’s how.  I learnt from the myzerowaste website, that any shiny wrappers you can keep and send to the Philippine Community Fund in Southampton, who then ship them over on a ship that’s already going to the Philippines, who will then recycle them in to purses and bags, that help the poor make a living and afford schooling for their children.  So any shiny wrappers, inc Ryvita packs and cereal bars, I keep and when I have a bundle send them to Southampton.

Since my mum and I went natural and organic with our toiletries in 2008, we use Ecover products and soap nuts.  My mum recently bought the ecoballs but isn’t sure about them as they bang against the machine.  She has also tried the vinegar in the drawer but didn’t like it because it gave a too strong smell.

My mum and I don’t waste that much food and if we do then it’s usually cooked stuff such as meats and carbohydrates.  After reading week 3, I shall try to get Mum to weigh pasta and use less meat.  We had a left over potato the other day and kept it for the birds but I don’t think they ate it, even the fox didn’t like it.  If there’s any left over sauce from a tin, then if there’s enough for another meal, then keep it in a pot in the freezer for the next time.  This we do with our pasta sauce.

So I now recycle more and am more alert at what plastic wrappers can be recycled, even frozen packets.  And because I am more label alert my mum often asks me if it’s recycleable before throwing things in the bin, and where to put the recycleables for sending and taking to work.

Another thing, since starting the challenge is I’m always checking the symbols on plastics and have discovered lots of things I can recycle that I didn’t realise before, eg a tictac box.

I am blogging about my progress on my own blog, either through my website, www.julieaday.moonfruit.com or directly on www.julieaday.blogspot.com on a weekly basis and hope to let you know how I got on at the end of the 8 weeks.

These are photos of my rubbish and recycling bin over a week.  If you calculate this amount times four for a month’s rubbish then it can come out as about 8 bags of rubbish a week (although most of the time one bag is only half full) and a bin of recycling.  I hope that it means we recycle more than we send to landfill, as that is my aim.

One and a half bags of rubbish in one week: Target = 1 bag per fortnight

Amount of recycling exceeds landfill waste

*It's always great to hear people's stories of their efforts to reduce waste and updates like Julie's makes me glad that I finally put the Rubbish Diet Challenge online.  Although news of the Philippines Community Fund crisp upcycling scheme was included in Week 8 of the guide, thanks to Julie's reminder, I've now also updated Week 2 which was originally published before the details came to light.  The updated version can be found at www.tinyurl.com\therubbishdietweek2.

Thanks very much to Julie for her guest blogpost. It's great to hear of the changes made so far and I hope she will be back in a few weeks time with news of her progress as she reaches the end of her Rubbish Diet Challenge.  In the meantime, please do visit her blog at www.julieaday.blogspot.com to share words of encouragement.

And don't forget, if you've got a story to share about your waste reduction antics, please do get in touch via email at karen[at]therubbishdiet[dot]co[dot]uk.



mrs green @ myzerowaste.com said...

Great post - thanks Julie and Mrs A for sharing this. I'm always fascinated to see how other people are reducing their waste and how they cope with their particular set of challenges.

Julie, you're doing a fantastic job and Mrs A you are a wonderful mentor.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Mrs G - thank you :-) x And I couldn't agree more about Julie. As we know, it's a process that requires focus, and even the smallest amount of attention and rethinking can have the most amazing effects. Keep going Julie! I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on :-)

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