Weekly weigh in twelve

Filed in Blog by on August 27, 2008 12 Comments
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weekly weigh in twelve
T’was the weigh in before our zero waste challenge (Roll up, roll up and join in the fun). Last week was pretty, well, rubbish with a rather gruesome 177gms.

This week, however, we have earned ourselves gold stars, fairy dust and smiley faces all round.

I found myself hearing, ‘Well, this looks pretty good’, as I peered into the landfill box in our little recycling centre, here at Chez Green.

Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, I realised the voice belonged to me. Yes, I was officially talking to myself over a pile of rubbish.

Oh dear.

But I guess we all do it from time to time.

At least I realised it; it’s far worse if you don’t and start holding a full blown conversation I suppose. I’ll put it down to the stress of the upcoming zero waste challenge.tilda

In the bin this week we have:
2 crisp packets
1 lentil bag
1 tilda bag
1 curry tray

I must share the story of the tilda bag. I bought a 5kg bag, believing that it’s much better in terms of reduced waste to buy bulk packs.

A couple of emails to the company revealed that I had purchased a brown paper inner which holds the rice, and an outer which protects the rice from odours and damp, made up of a combination of paper and a thin polyethylene coating.

I managed to get the brown paper inner out easily. It was stitched in with what appeared to be cotton thread, so I just unpicked it; much to the delight of Little Miss Green who ran off with her bottomless brown paper bag to make fairy houses with.

Then we thought, being the bright sparks that we are, that we’d soak the outer in water, scrape off the paper which could be composted and we’d be left with the tiniest sheet of polyethylene which would be binned.

tilda 2Good theory.

Not such a convincing reality.

What we ended up with was paper still tightly bound to the polyethylene. The paper didn’t want to come off at all. It just rolled itself into little bits that found their way onto my floor, my clothes, blocked the sink, clogged the hoover, hid between the floorboards, took root in Mr Green’s hair and I’m still finding in all sorts of mysterious places.

Most of it, however, remained firmly embraced by the plastic and refused to be separated. Soulmates for life I reckon.

Anyway, back to the weigh in.

We amassed a microscopically miniscule weigh-in that has enabled our bin to glide gracefully into the limelight wearing her 4 inch Jimmy Choos and diamante studdied leggings, with a resoundingly victorious bantamweight status.

Yes, dear readers, we produced a shockingly small 66 grams!

How proud are we?

With the countdown to our zero waste week frighteningly close, we’re feeling a bit more confident about the whole thing today.
And we have an ‘open house’ media event this afternoon at Chez Green. I wonder how many people will turn up to glimpse at our garbage and rummage through our recyclables?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Wow – you really are an inspiration! Congratulations, that is a shockingly slim bin for one, let alone a family. We’ll all be rooting for you in the Green Parent offices as you go Zero next week.
    Blessings and best of luck,
    Melissa

  2. Abi says:

    Wow…you’re almost there! And as you say, the rice bag is a rarity as you’d bought in bulk ages ago.

    Keep up the great work.

  3. Hi Mrs Green,

    Well done on the reduction of bin waste. Alternatives to mixed waste packaging are difficult to find especially for food commodities. I will look for some before the weekend.

    The paper polythene/any plastic separation is best achieved using warm soapy water. The paper can be rubbed into lumps but the plastic either keeps its shape or rolls up in the absence of paper. My milk labels go through this process very week and the waste weight reduction is significant. Same goes for envelopes, which I tend to destroy on opening. There is a certain amount of rubbing to get the paper off but the result is the same. Practice makes perfect.

  4. Hi again Mrs Green,

    On examination of the Wittard coffee it too had a polythene lining, so it can only be reused which is ok.

    You are right about the difficulty of separation in this type of combination. I was only able to separate the outer paper layer with the inner more difficult, a bag to avoid.

  5. spidermonkey says:

    wow mrs green! good job!

    Also, in case you or other readers are interested, here is a link to a newspaper article reported today about a woman who is living a ‘paperless’ life. Now, i know paper can be recycled and thus not necessarily ‘bad’ for a ‘zero waste’ enthusiast, but its always interesting (and hopefully useful) to read about reusable alternatives that can reduce what we send to the recycling depot…

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/house–home/quest-to-live-a-paperless-life/2008/08/26/1219516445570.html

  6. Mrs Green says:

    Melissa! How wonderful to see you. In case you haven’t guessed folks, Melissa is the editor of Green Parent magazine. If you want to follow what she is up to, you can read her new blog. Thank you for your well wishes; you’re doing really well with your own challenges too πŸ™‚

    Hi Abi – great to see you too. Abi, editor of Hippy Shopper, is doing her own challenge this week folks with not creating any food waste. You can follow her progress over on the Hippy Shopper site and find out about other news in the Green world here

    Thanks for the tips, John. I have to admit I didn’t think it was going to be quite so hard! You’ll see from my post tomorrow that I may have come up with a solution πŸ˜‰ Sorry to hear about the Whittard packaging; I wrote to them a couple of months ago asking them about their packaging to see if it could have been an option for Mr Green. Alas not….

    Spidermonkey, thanks for the link – what a fantastic story. I’m going to contact the lady and see if we can network in some way. It’s wonderful and inspiring how she lives her life. Some of it is a little too far for me, but I really admire her.

  7. Hi Mrs G – a late night for me, I’m afraid. It seems that it’s getting later by the day, so much to pack in with so little time to do it in. Maybe I’m suffering from my own form of overpackaging LOL. Anyway, just wanted to say well done on another amazing weigh-in and good luck for next week. Hope the the Open House went well ;-D x

  8. Mrs Green says:

    My goodness me, Mrs A; I was long in the land of dreams when you wrote. Thank you for your good wishes. The open house was good – more about that next week πŸ™‚ Don’t keep burning the candle at both ends; we need you in fine health to lead the country into zero waste!

  9. Mrs. Green!
    It’s been a while since I’ve checked in last. The progress you’ve made is remarkable!! BRAVO!

  10. Ohhh, good job!!! You are almost down to nothing.

  11. Mr Green says:

    You know … getting to zero waste in a week is possible. The real challenge is keeping this up. In the real world, where ‘life’ often gets in the way of our plans, things don’t always go quite to plan. We’ll see … ^-^

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Melissa, good to see you checking in; I know you’ve had a busy summer and are now busy harvesting your goods. Thank you for your message of support!
    Kristen – we were so pleased this week; we are indeed almost down to nothing and next week it is our intention to be totally zero!

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