Friday, 31 August 2012

My pledge for National Zero Waste Week: decluttering my kitchen, the final frontier!

Yes, you heard it here first!

I'm going in!

Venturing deep into my kitchen, where for the first time in nine years I am going to attempt to clear out all the cupboards, banish the clutter, get organised and prepare myself for the new school term!

And that is my pledge for National Zero Waste Week, which kicks off on Monday.

The theme this year is to encourage participants to do that "one more thing" to reduce waste.

When I thought about what I could do, I knew that as we already recycle all we can, the only thing left to tackle was food waste. We still have some, not an enormous amount, but some food waste all the same.  And with the wormery still out of action, it's the main thing that gets sent to landfill, along sweet wrappers and crisp packets.

I thought if I pledged to use up what we have in the fridge during National Zero Waste Week, and try not to go shopping until we'd done that, it would be easy.

Then I thought again.

That's like putting a sticking plaster on a broken leg.

The truth of the matter is I CAN'T STAND MY KITCHEN!
These days, I spend as little time in there as I can get away with and yet underneath I am a bloody good cook with a sense of adventure for creating good food.

But I need space to create.

I simply don't have it.

And it's all got on top of me.

Our kitchen is tiny and as the household has become busier and busier, the space has become more and more cluttered. My previously much-loved gadgets,such as the yoghurt maker in the photo above, have become unused and gather dust, supporting bowls that can't even be squeezed into cupboards for lack of room!

All too often, when I'm at my busiest, I take one glance at the kitchen, and sigh, before scooting the family off elsewhere.  Then follows the guilt of trying to rescue perishables in the fridge before they die a certain death. And it is here that I sometimes fail.

So I've decided that this vicious circle must stop!

I need to clear out the stuff that I will never use again, rehome it or recycle it and find some space in the cupboard so that I can clear the worktop.

I must also decide how much I really need those gadgets and cookbooks.  The breadmaker, juicer and yoghurt maker all sell the idea of such a lovely lifestyle, but if they clutter up the workspace and make me feel too disorganised to use them, is there any point in keeping them?

And as for the sound effects that add to the atmosphere, my washing machine and dishwasher have both started groaning like a poor elephant with a hernia.

It really doesn't create a relaxing environment, so I'm going to see if we can get them repaired.

Then maybe, if I make it safely back from my excursion into the unexplored corners of my freezer, I will finally have the quiet, uncluttered, well-organised kitchen I dream of...

... and the creative space I need to avoid food waste!

This National Zero Waste Week pledge may be my toughest challenge yet, but I'm rolling up my sleeves and going in and hopefully I will feel better for it. Admittedly, I may need some gin first to avoid the lemons going to waste!


To keep up with National Zero Waste Week, follow @MyZeroWaste on Twitter.  Now in its fifth year, the awareness campaign is really gathering momentum with a whole host of industry leaders, politicians and celebrities making personal pledges, and even before the week starts, over 800 people have signed up on Facebook. So it would be great if you could join in and do that "one more thing" to help tackle the world's waste. Just one more thing!  And I doubt it will be as tough as my blimmin' kitchen.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Did you hear that I went to THE OLYMPICS? You have now!

There are very few moments when this blogger is speechless, but as I'm sat here watching the Olympics on TV, all I want to do is cry with happiness and  pride over the achievements of our athletes.  Since the opening ceremony last Friday, there has been so much to celebrate.

And yesterday evening I was there, in the Olympic Stadium on 'Super Saturday', where I witnessed one of the greatest sporting events in history, the night that Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all achieved gold medals for Great Britain, helping to celebrate the most successful day in British athletics for over 100 years.

My husband and I were guests of London 2012 sponsors Coca-Cola, a thank-you gift for launching and judging the recent Sustainable Games blogging competition, the results of which I was pleased to announce on the company's website a couple of weeks ago.

Along with our corporate hosts, we were accompanied by competition winner Lucy along with winner-in-reserve, Laura, who received the news of her ticket as a last-minute surprise, when one of the other finalists had to pull out at short notice. Here we are, in high-spirits with our men-folk, in the stadium taking in the excitement of the athletics!

As well as the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch some amazing sport, it presented a great opportunity to finally witness the background recycling infrastructure that Coca-Cola has helped to create, including the fabulous bins about which I've waxed lyrical for what now feels like months!  As we waited to go into the stadium, I couldn't resist the chance to familiarise myself properly with these colourful beauties, which are there to help visitors easily pre-sort paper, plastic packaging, food waste - and even ponchos - from non-recyclable materials.

And to make it even easier for Olympic supporters to work out which receptacle to use, and to minimise contamination levels, the packaging was colour-coded to show its intended destination.

But as I think back to the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium last night, I don't want to just talk about rubbish!

Goodness no! And I know many of you will now fall off your chairs to such news, but surely you won't be that surprised!  This was the Olympics and no way was I going to hang around the bins all evening!

All I really want to do now, is what I have been doing all day, and that's to relive the astounding evening that resulted in athletes' dreams being turned into a reality.

An amazing evening that distinctly made British sports history!

And the evening when I realised that I was most definitely one of the luckiest women alive.

I have had many exhilarating moments since I started The Rubbish Diet, and last night's Thank You present was most definitely the highlight of my time as a blogger.  Frankly, it's going to be a tough one to beat!

The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and highly charged wth emotion.

And sat in the thirteenth row, just behind the discus net, I could no longer hold back the tears of overwhelm and national pride as I watched Jessica Ennis complete the 800m stage of her gold medal Heptathlon.

With every stride she took, she was met by the tremendous cheer from thousands of spectators who knew the gold medal was already hers, a cheer that simply grew louder and louder as she closed in on the finishing line.

It was one of the greatest moments in sporting history, which left me feeling very humble at such amazing talent, yet proud to be amongst the 80,000 spectators that witnessed such an achievement, a victorious feeling for the athletes and country.

And the night just got better, with the news that Greg Rutherford had achieved another gold for Team GB in the Long Jump. The music and cheer just kept the beat of Olympic success pulsing throughout the stadium.

That pulse then became faster and faster as we watched Mo Farah put his strength and stamina to the test in the 10,000 metres!

With only three laps to go the commentator urged us to build the cheer and shout for Mo, but we didn't need encouraging at all.

We were already on our feet, waving the flags to the sound of  tremendous roars of support, straining our necks to watch the progress on the large screens when the leading athletes were out of our range of sight and applauding with all our might as Mo Farah sped towards the finishing line!

And forgive me as the tears roll down my cheeks again at that all encompassing memory of being in the right place at the right time to celebrate yet another proud moment for one of Great Britain's athletes, achieving his dream and making another moment of Olympic history!

When I first entered the Olympic Park yesterday, I could not even have guessed at the excitement that would come and the feelings of pride, hope and cheer of simply being there!

London 2012, Team GB and sponsors Coca-Cola have created an amazing experience that is really out of this world.  Every element of yesterday's sporting extravaganza went like clockwork, from the efforts of the athletes, the helpfulness and humour of the Gamesmaker volunteers and the organisation of London's transport facilities.

And the international spirit was alive and kicking too, as illustrated by this group of Belgian supporters who distracted me to record a message of support for one of their own athletes, a hockey player... delivered in French, to tell him he was king of his sport! 


Well, I hope that's what the message said and that they didn't take advantage of my good humour....!  Despite their wigs, they look innocent don't they?  Then again, those cheeky smiles may prove otherwise and somewhere on YouTube there could now be a bizarre video of me repeating a potential Belgian double-entendre in my very best Anglo-French accent!

The photo of these strangers typified the atmosphere yesterday, with smiling faces everywhere I turned.

But the photograph that I love the best, is this one, which demonstrates that  it’s not just my geeky interest that prevails when it comes to recycling, it’s rather the olympic spirit of other visitors that were putting the facilities to good use. And this chap was such a good sport for letting me take this picture!

I hope LOCOG achieves its aims of processing at least 70% of its waste through recycling, composting and reuse. Through streamlining its packaging, material choices and provision of the relevant recycling processes Coca-Cola has set some solid foundations that can be replicated elsewhere. As soon as the waste data streams are available, I can’t wait to find out the relevant statistics.

But most of all, at this moment in time, I’m looking forward to more fabulous outcomes from the wonderful athletes and enjoying such great memories for many decades to come.

To witness Jessica Ennis receive her gold medal last night was a tremendous experience that I will never ever forget, and it can only be matched by watching the victory ceremonies for Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah on TV tonight and reliving the events of last night as I typed up this blogpost.

If there is one thing that I took from the experience, it is the appreciation that nurturing a passion, talent and an individual's determination with the right amount of support, coaching and direction, it really is possible to achieve something incredible.

As a mother whose real passion is to create a foundation that helps her children to achieve their own dreams, whatever they may be, it is already evident that the London 2012 Olympics will inspire them in many ways.

And as a 'rubbish blogger', I am now more determined than ever to aim as high as my own abilities will stretch, to encourage more goal-enthused innovators to push towards that ultimate goal of zero waste.

The tears of emotion have stopped now, temporarily.

And as for being speechless, I think I'm now over that!


Good luck Team GB for the rest of the Games!

I know I will remember London 2012 for many decades to come!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

National Zero Waste Week 2012: Coming soon!

Coming soon to a household near you - PREFERABLY YOURS - National Zero Waste Week is back!

And this year, it is encouraging you to recycle ONE MORE THING!  It's so easy to get involved, either on your own, at home, or at your place of work!  You can find out much more information over at My Zero Waste, where the fabulous Mrs Green is leading the way once more.

As ever I will be supporting National Zero Waste Week from my corner of Suffolk and will be back soon with more exciting news on what's happening locally. 

In the meantime, for a trip down memory lane, here's what happened on the Rubbish Diet last year, along with a glimpse at 2010, a retro peek at 2009 and a real delve into the archives of 2008 when My Zero Waste launched their very first Zero Waste Week! 

So which one more thing are you going to recycle this year? 

Have you decided yet?

For inspiration, visit www,, pop along to, and if you happen to live in Suffolk, you really should take a look at the fantastic resource for Suffolk Recycling!

So remember, National Zero Waste Week takes place on 3-9 September!  But please don't contain your excitement until then.  Check out the NZWW 2012 page on the My Zero Waste website and please help spread the news on Twitter and Facebook.

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