Talk

Filed in by on May 15, 2009 267 Comments
  • Have you got a great idea about reducing waste?
  • Does your local council provide a good service for the environment?
  • Tips and tricks to keep rubbish out of the landfill?
  • Ideas to make your purchases more eco friendly?

Post them here in the comments section below!

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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 (267)

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  1. janice says:

    Hi, just a thought, but many local towns and villages often have recycling centers where you can drop of your items. Worth checking out to see your nearest!

  2. Congratulations folks…This is a fantastic site and I can’t wait to see how you get on…xx

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Hello sweet pea, good to see you! We couldn’t have done it without you and all that………

    Mrs G x

  4. Sarah says:

    Well done in looking at your waste and trying to reduce it as much as possible. But I think the term Zero Waste is misleading as you are not aiming to achieve zero waste but just reduce your waste you send to landfill. Recyclable waste is still waste, it still has to be collected, sorted, stored and processed, all of which takes energy, resources and money.

  5. Mr Green says:

    Good point Sarah. However, we are very close to zero waste for our household waste collection! The one area that we are still struggling with is non-recyclable plastics. Everything else can be recycled, with a little bit of thought and effort on our part. I agree about your next point about the cost of recycling and this is a deeper more provoking subject. However, it can be shown that the overall energy costs of reusing old materials is still less than producing something from scratch, plus it lessens the burden on using raw resources. It’s not a perfect solution, but better than nothing.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to comment – we love hearing what people think.
    I think you make an excellent point. The term Zero waste is a bit misleading; maybe Zero landfill waste would have been more appropriate at this stage.

    To me, the idea of zero waste has two stages. There is the beginner’s stage, which is where we are now. For us this involves, as you rightly say, reducing the amount of LANDFILL waste we produce to zero.

    But then I see a kind of ideal evolving where we don’t create any waste in the first place. I feel that this is pretty impossible with our current lifestyles, but maybe there are some things we can do to strive towards this.

    I don’t pretend it would be simple, but I’d like to give it my best shot. I’m aware it will take huge lifestyle changes and a complete change in shopping habits, but I think it’s fun to look at the possibilities and see what we can do.

    Watch this space as they say :D

    Mrs G x

  7. Hi Sarah,

    Zero Waste refers to landfill bound waste. Everything which can be composted, recycled, reused has value and would be part of a virtuous cycle of sustainability. Recycling will always have a useful role eg packaging, bottles, paper.
    Landfill is one of the worst factors in the current system, along with misuse of resources and harmful processing.

    Do you think recycling is bad?

    Regards,

    John.

  8. Queenie says:

    I’ve just ordered some washable cleansing pads (not sure of their exact name) from Natural collection to use instead of cotton wool. I’ll let you know how i get on …

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Ah cool, Queenie. I’d always wondered about these. If you think about the amount we throw away if we use cotton wool to cleanse every day – it doesn’t bear thinking about really.

    You can write a review on them when you’ve tried them if you like! I’ve only got two reviews in the section so far :D

    I hope you get on well with them.

    Mrs G x

  10. Queenie says:

    OOOOO I’d be honoured thanks Mrs G. I’ll be back in touch once they’ve arrived and I’ve tried them out :-)

  11. Melissa says:

    Hello Mrs. Green :) Great work on your rubbish reduction this week!!
    Here’s a question for you – what are your suggestions for those of us who are the only ones willing/ready to try something like this in their family?
    My husband has many, many fine qualities – but he’s a consumer in the truest sense, as many of us North Americans are. I am too in a sense, but feel ready to make a change for so many reasons. Unfortunately, he’s just not in a place yet where he’s on board with anything that’s going to cost us more money in the short term, nor is he ready to give up his spending ways. I know in time he’ll get there, but he’s always enjoyed shopping and buying things. I’ve been trying to introduce ideas gradually – not using plastic carrier bags or disposable coffee cups, baking soda for cleaning – but now i feel any next step is going to require more commitment from the whole family. Any thoughts?

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Melissa,

    This is a brilliant question. I love it – thank you for sharing your dilemma here.

    I think the important thing to remember is that ‘zero waste’ is really an ideal. It’s not a place of reality for many people and we really understand that.

    We can think of a hundred reasons why zero waste is unattainable for many, but it’s the reasons we DON’T know about that are just as important.

    Everyone has their unique lives and set of circumstances. Say, for example, you need daily medication for a serious health condition. You’ll be left with the blister packs that medication comes in and there is nothing at present you can do with them. It would be totally unacceptable for us to preach about a zero waste lifestyle for somebody in that situation.

    We also appreciate that it is very hard for those who live in flats, have no garden, or have physical difficulties with managing their waste. It’s difficult too, for those without cars to get to recycling centres and those on a limited budget or for those families where both partners are out at work 12 hours a day.

    I think our key message is along the lines of the WRAP’s campaign this year – they asked people to focus on ‘just one more thing’.
    Personally, reading about your achievements (no carrier bags, reusable cups and home made cleaning products) you have done brilliantly – especially without the full on support of your husband.

    As you may be aware, I began this challenge a few months ago, before Mr Green was on board with it and I totally failed; so I applaud you for the things you have done and kept up with.

    I really can’t provide you with a magic answer. For me it happened unexpectedly when I shared a story with Mr Green about marine life and how it had been affected by plastic. I didn’t show him to persuade or manipulate, I was literally sharing a horrible story I had read and how it touched me.

    I never, for one minute, thought it would affect him so strongly!

    So I guess you never know when that moment of awareness is going to strike.

    In the meantime, I guess you just keep on adding one more thing to the great list of things you are already doing. And you keep sharing with your husband what it is you are doing, and why. I think the ‘whys’ of what you are doing is vital to share with your husband, because then he can grasp your reasons and desires.

    You don’t need to stop him doing the things he enjoys – marriage is about tolerance and compassion as we both know, but it sounds like you have a strong enough relationship to be able to share the things that matter to you.

    Maybe tell him that you would like to achieve xxx goal this year. It can be simple such as ‘I’d like to look at one product that I buy, which is overly packaged, and find an alternative to it.’ or ‘I’d like to start a compost heap’ or ‘I’m going to reduce our food waste by a quarter’ or ‘I’m going to set up a functional recycling system at home’ and ask your husband to come up with some solutions to that.

    Ask for his support. Don’t ask him to change, just ask for his support with the changes you would like to put in place. Maybe come up with a list of 5 things and ask him which he feels is the most attainable at this stage.

    I don’t want to sound condescending or get involved with gender stereotyping, but generally, men are very solution based. They like the left brained stuff; so let him figure some things out because that might get him thinking more into the whole issue of recycling and the environment. If you want to step up your recycling, he might like to come on board with building some shelving for you. If you want a compost heap, he might like to help you build one. I don’t know if he is a practical hands-on kind of guy, but it will all help your cause.

    Our mantra has to be ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day!’ There is a sense of urgency that threatens to overwhelm us at times, especially when you have a child, but I always hold on to the vision of a million people all recycling just one more tin can.

    What happens is that once you start, with a baby step that doesn’t overwhelm you, it becomes easier to add more. Soon we are taking huge strides as a global collective.

    I don’t think you need to stop your husband enjoying spending his money for one moment. You talk of changes that will cost you money in the short term and of the next steps that will require more commitment as a family. Can you share what some of those commitments are? Maybe then we can figure something out.

    For now, I have a good feeling about your husband gradually joining you in your ways. It might not be instant, but I think it’s coming from what you have already said about him. You never know when he will read something, see something or take part in a conversation that changes his life for ever.

    In the meantime, you’re doing great and I would encourage you to keep on keeping on. I’ve been known to take things out of the bin in the past, after Mr Green has put them in but it’s all changed now.

    Old habits die hard and all that…………

  13. I love your answer here Mrs G and find I agree with everything you’ve said. No surprises there then ;-D

    I’d like to add one other message of encouragement for Melissa…My husband, wonderful as he is, really has been my very own waste saboteur. On one hand he’s supportive, then on the other he’s prone to dumping things in landfill if he gets half the chance!

    Oh yes, even now I have to defend the bin from coffee cups and all sorts of trash that comes through his hands. The way I’ve managed so far is to allow him free access to the bin, but I then sort through the stuff that can be saved. it’s not a time-consuming task by any means.

    As time has progressed, he’s got better and he even allowed me to present him with a set of rules for Zero Waste Week. One good thing is at least these days, he can be found turning down the odd plastic bag, something that six months ago would never have occurred to him.

    He is now pretty much on board (at least in theory)despite the odd disagreement (in practice).

    So I hope this offers some hope and err…good luck. :-D

  14. Mr Green says:

    Speaking from the male preserve, the one thing I would add is that it really helps to see and experience something first hand before it ‘really bites’ about reducing waste. As Mrs.G said, for me it was the article about marine life and how they are suffering and dying through plastic pollution. It may be something very different for you, or even a gradual realisation about what we are doing. My only advice would be to meet your husband on his level of interest and perhaps allow him ito make ‘his own’ discoveries about how waste is polluting the environment.

  15. Melissa says:

    Mrs and Mrs. Green and Almost Mrs. Average :)

    Thank you for all your lovely suggestions! I will say, the decision to embark on any journey such as this really -does- need to come from oneself, and so I guess I was thinking of how since we are in different places I might be able to make things work on my own journey. I think meeting him on his level of interest is a terrific idea – and we’ll just carry on until we all feel it’s not so bad after all.

    I think so far my resident consumer has made some positive changes, and I have seen him refuse carrier bags and remember to take them on a trip when I myself would have forgotten. I think I sometimes scare him with radical ideas – like “if we get rid of cable, we won’t watch so much TV and therefore save on electricity AND have more time to write etc” or “I want to not buy anything new this month, and only buy things from yard sales or secondhand!”. I’m beginning to see how I might be scaring him! So maybe I should go easy on the poor guy.

    Mrs Green: In terms of the extra costs I was talking about – things like purchasing goods for our home that are made from more friendly materials. Also, we are building a deck next year and I wanted to research better choices than the typical pressure-treated wood for our variable climate. These are the options that cost more out of pocket, when we don’t have a budget for much excess. Also,buying organic food is a lovely idea until you look at the cost difference (and I know you can’t put a price on the health benefits, but in fairness it is a huge price difference) We are slowly finding ways to compromise – for instance we have joined an organic food co-op that’s working wonderfully for us.

    So in short, I just think the whole process needs to eventually be a family commitment, and an interesting idea would be to ruminate on how to bring around some of the skeptics among us without scaring them off. :) But I think you’re all correct in saying it might be best to lead by example.

  16. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Melissa,

    I’m so glad there was something of use for you in there. Sometimes I think I waffle away without actually saying anything constructive :D

    It sounds like you have some really great plans in place, and you’re coming up with some creative ways in which you can compromise. I really admire that.

    I know what you mean about the expense. One of my ‘things’ is trying to help people find financially viable solutions to some of these issues. There *are* ways that a greener lifestyle can SAVE us money, but as you point out, eco friendly options and organic products can be more expensive too.

    I would just carry on doing as you are doing; sharing what you are doing in a non-confrontational way with your husband. He’s already making great strides with remember to take the bags. Just go ahead and have your personal ‘buy nothing new for a month’ challenge and let him do as he does.

    Some of the things you do will intrigue or move him in such a way that he puts his own changes into place, and some of them won’t.

    Do keep sharing your progress with us here; you know you can rely on us for a cheer and some moral support!
    I think you’re doing really well :)

    Mrs G x

  17. Mr Green says:

    Links directory not working on explorer 6 and 7
    Apologies for the links directory for users with Internet explorer 6 and 7. Unfortunately ie fails to recognise some links using mod URl rewrite. This has been fixed. Please refresh your browser cache (hold down Ctrl key and F5) and try the links directory again. Thanks.

  18. Mr Green says:

    Message for Kristal Jones from Ribston Hall High School Studying textiles, making a dress from rubbish products. You contacted us recently but your email address kept bouncing back when we replied. Contact us again, we’re happy to help!

  19. Poppy says:

    Another problem hit me today – Bank cards!

    I had a new one through the post today and went through the usual process of cutting the old one to pieces to throw away, but then I stopped! I weighed it – 5 grams; and wondered what Mr and Mrs G would do with it to avoid adding to their already very slim bin. I went back to the letter that came with the new card to see if there was anything about recycling, but sadly not.

    Is this a problem you have either faced or tackled yet? Obviously there is a security issue here, so leaving them lying around isn’t a very good idea, so what do we do with them?

  20. Mrs Green says:

    Oh gawd woman, credit cards are this month’s Dustbin demon
    That’s the page on the site where I’m allowed to rant without being helpful, constructive or come up with any suggestions LOL! There are a couple of there, one thanks to Diz ;) But as for what to do, I really don’t know. Now you have me thinking and perhaps it’s time for a return to the issuing company for disposal; a bit like the WEEE directive.
    Anyone else? Answers on a postcard please!

  21. Poppy says:

    Ooops! Sorry Miss, I hadn’t read that bit :(
    I will whizz over there right now for a studious read ;)

  22. Mrs Green says:

    You’ve inspired me, Poppy. On my ‘to do’ list is to write to my bank and ask if they have any suggestions….. I’ll let you know.

  23. Well, first off I LOVE this site. I’ve been away visiting family a lot this summer, and so I haven’t seen it in awhile. The progress you’ve made is amazing. Good job!
    We’re plugging along on our journey over here. Though I haven’t popped by, each week as I’m taking the trash out to the curb I cringe and think of all the hard work you’re doing wondering if I could do the same. Baby steps though, yeah?
    At any rate, I just wanted to let you know how great everything’s looking and wish you luck on your challenge! :D
    Cheers,
    Melissa

  24. Mr. Green says:

    Hello Melissa, thanks for your comment here. When we started looking at our kerbside waste, it amazed us how much in terms of volume, we were throwing out. Then when we looked more carefully at the individual items, we noticed that many of them were packages, just full of air. Things like tins, small boxes, bottles and tetra paks. We simply started by crushing many of these things, so at least we were not throwing away air!.

    Yes, you are right, just little steps is the way to go. Staying in your comfort zone and doing things that are meaningfull. The initial stages are quite easy, but it seems to get more challenging as it goes on. Mainly because you run out of options in disposing of those pesky plastics.

    Anyway, thanks for your encouragement, we’re going to log as much as we can here on the site this week.

  25. Mrs Green says:

    Melissa! You’re right – baby steps it is. I really never thought we would be in the space we are in right now, producing as little rubbish as we do. I tentatively made a guess at 50% reduction back in June, but a series of baby steps has led us to where we are today.
    You’re doing fab with your own challenges and the fact you are stopping to think about your actions is a step in itself. Keep it up!

  26. Hi Mrs Green,

    I have just successfully started my 1 Jar 1 Lid campaign. At ASDA this morning, I purchased a Kenco Rapport 300g jar along with 4 loose Pink Lady apples and a tin of Ambrosia Low Fat custard.

    When I spoke to the customer service lady, who was friendly at all times, explaining that I already had such a lid at home and that the removed lid could be sent back to Kenco as it was unused. She accepted this with good grace.

    Would you like to start a topic called Campaign News where one and all could put their contributions to the various efforts, in one place for easy access.

  27. Mrs Green says:

    John, well done on the first day of your campaign. A page for such news might be an idea. Do you think there would be interest from other readers to contribute their own news? I could certainly set that up easily enough.

  28. Hi Mrs Green,

    Maisie and Gai both have had ideas, sending stuff to the HQ. That is a campaign in itself. Having all such details, and the results achieved, under one topic will let others read through and see what fits their attitude. New ideas can emerge following earlier experiences. Poppy has also emailed about biscuit packaging. This could be linked to container use and practice.

    I would inform Maisie and Gai about this campaign focus and they might feel it would suit their interests. Possibly it would be better to ask them first. A central location makes sense. There should be plenty of activities with the possible Ruby visit a good post as well.

  29. Kali says:

    ARG!!! I’m gathering all my ingrediences for holiday baking when I notice my flour is WAY OUT OF DATE! What is the best way to recycle my flour without doing any CRAFTS!!

  30. Mr. Green says:

    Flour is a natural product, so if you have a garden, you could easily dig it into the soil without any side effects. Just make sure it’s well dispersed in the ground.

  31. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Kali,
    Welcome to the site. Dare I say this on a public forum? I would use the flour. Not for bread, but certainly for cakes, biscuits and crumble topping. Oh, and Christmas pudding and mince pies LOL!
    I wouldn’t waste it unless it had weevils in it.
    Probably not the answer you are looking for, but it’s my honest one :D

    Slice of cake anyone?

    I appreciate you don’t want to do crafts, but something genuinely useful to do with it might be to make glue? Depends on how much you have I guess!

  32. Poppy says:

    This is probably a daft question, but it’s something I do but am not sure about.

    I love smelly candles, but if they don’t burn right, I’m left with a lump of smelly wax without a home. I’ve been removing the metal disk to put in with my odds and sods recycling and putting the wax into the compost.

    Is that okay? I haven’t had any complaints from the worms, but I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do.

  33. David says:

    One of your articles says that Japan recycles 80% of its waste. I believe that Germany also recycles a large percentage. How do they recycle all that plastic that we think is not recycleable?

  34. Mr Green says:

    Hello David, thanks for your comment. One basic problem we have in the UK is there is more post-user and industrial waste plastic than we can reprocess. If everyone diligently collected and recycled all palstic waste, there is simply not the infrastructure here in the UK to recycle it and reprocess it into usable items again. This is why so much plastic waste is shipped to China, where they have a huge market in plastic goods and massive support for recycling large volumes of plastic recyclate. The sad thing is we are part of the economic loop, because many of the plastic products made in China is exported back to the west, like the UK where we consume and recycle it again.

    We are caught in an unholy alliance of consumerism of cheap goods that have a short life, that end up being recycled into new cheap goods that we buy again.

    I’m not sure about Germany’s logistics on recycling, except that as a nation they have a very tight hold on efficiency in industry. Remember waste is a product of ‘bad design’ That kind of ‘product’ is not welcome in the german mind set.

  35. Mrs Green says:

    Poppy, candle wax in the compost probably is not a good idea as most of them are not natural beeswax, they are petroleum based. Let’s hope your compost doesn’t get too hot LOL!
    Maybe next year;s Christmas presents will be home made candles from you ;) We use the stubs to light the fire. You can melt the wax and pour it into pinecones as a pressie for people with open fires.

  36. David says:

    The UK seems to only recycle a minimal amount. Plastics have been divided into 7 types, see http://www.naturalcollection.com/organic/recycling-guide.aspx#plastics ; it says that only types 1, 2 and 4 can be recycled. Do they recycle the other types in Japan, Germany and other countries, how successful are they? Why do our local recycling centres not accept the other types?

  37. Shona says:

    Hi, love the zero waste idea. But can you suggest anything useful to do with old hold ups (old tights are sent to tightsplease.com for their charity) and I don’t really have a garden to use them to hold plants up. Also, do you have any suggestions for jiffy bags (the envelopes with bubble wrap attached). I reuse them where possible and pull out bubble wrap and recycle the paper but still have a huge pile. So any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

    Personally, the biggest difference to the amount of waste I produce has to be getting my compost bin. I’ve no idea what I’ll do with the compost when it’s ready (maybe freecycle it?) but in the meantime I now produce one small bin bag (mainly packaging) every two/three weeks instead of a bin bag a week. I’m saving up to get a bokashi to deal with all the other food I can’t compost which will reduce my kitchen waste even further.

    I’m proud to say that I have trained my husband to say to checkout staff “I don’t need a carry bag thank you”. I’m amazed at the amount of times we have to say it sometimes though before some people get it, we’ve even in the past had to physically remove the items from the bag and hand it back. Once, the member of staff took the bag, declared it used and threw it in the bin! He got really confused (annoyed?) when I asked for it back so that I could reuse it if he was only going to chuck it anyway.

    Anyway, it’s only with commitment from people like you that we’ll change those attitudes.

  38. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Shona welcome to the site,

    Will Tights please not accept hold ups too for their charity collections? I think that scheme is great. Other uses might be as a stuffing material for crafters – maybe a bag of them offered on Freecycle would yield a result.

    A month or so ago, I offered a large box of jiffy envelopes on Freecycle and I had three enquiries; so it’s well worth sorting them and advertising them.

    You’ll have no problem getting rid of your compost either! Do you have any plants at all – some containers or hanging baskets perhaps; because you could use it in these. Otherwise, Freecycle will come to the rescue again, I’m quite sure. Failing that, advertise it in an area with allotments and I’m sure it will be snapped up.

    Well done to your DH for refusing carrier bags; but how infuriating about the person who wanted to throw the ‘used’ bag away.
    Keep up the great work and enjoy making your own compost :)

  39. Rik Boland says:

    Did you know the business have to pay to recycle there trade waste, so all them posh coffee shops, cafe and pubs that go through plastic, cups, card board etc put them stuff in land fill, wrong isn’t it

    I getting a wormery on Wed, so excited, then in the nicer weather going to put s green (Garden) roof on my shed,raaaaaaaaaa

  40. Rik Boland says:

    I hope Lancaster council do a zero waste, week month and or implement this idea into school cafeteria and government office!

  41. Rik Boland says:

    @Sarah: Hi Sarah, if it gets recycled or reused as the word suggest then it not waste as some one else wants it. Or have I got it wrong?

  42. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Rik, it would be great if your council took up a zero waste challenge – why not suggest it to them this week while we have things going on in Gloucestershire. I’m sure someone from our council would help them :)

    I wonder how large businesses get away with sending things to landfill; I would have thought there would be lots of precautions taken to prevent that happening…….

  43. Rik Boland says:

    I e-mailed the council about this and got the you need ti give us 5 working days to get back to you answer from them.

    There is not seem to be any precautions re business land fill as it wol appear this is not a governmental issue. A few of us started a face group up as we thought it was just Lancaster but found out that it country wide.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=37369204175&ref=ts. Help suggestions would be soooooooooooooooooo helpful

  44. Mrs Green says:

    Well done on setting up your group, Rik. I think a phonecall rather than an email would work better. Emails can be ignored, but if you’re on the end of the line you can’t be. What is it you are trying to achieve with your group? If it’s business waste, I don’t know anything about that – our site focuses on what the householder, as an individual can do.

  45. Joe K says:

    Not really a comment, so much as a note that, reading the Stroud News and Journal online, I see that the Zero Waste Challenge Week is going to feature on ITV this Monday, on the Tonight programme (not to be confused with the Today programme, or the Tomorrow People):

    http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/4157012.Zero_waste_challenge_week_hits_the_headlines/

  46. John Costigane says:

    Joe that is a good link. Wider TV coverage can only help the trend. For me, this is part of a sustainable future which will emerge gradually. Once changes are taken on board previous practice becomes alien. The incineration issue overlaps this as Zero Waste is a viable alternative, alongside alternative waste processes.

  47. Mrs Green says:

    Is there a way to watch this on the computer? We don’t have a TV but I have to see it! Maybe I’ll camp at a friend’s house for the night!

  48. you should be able to watch it on itv.com following the links for tv listings, may have to watch in a couple of days on catchup though as i think live watching needs a tv licence.

  49. zoe bawtree says:

    I am inspired by the reduction of weekly household waste and am trying my best to reduce our family of fours waste. Could do with some top tips in growing salad in wooden boxes…anyone?

    Well done to all who strive to make our world a little greener for our children.

  50. Mrs Green says:

    @zoe bawtree: Hi Zoe, good to see you! We are growing salad in troughs for the first time this year. We have simply ensure drainage holes in the bottom of the containers, put a layer of gravel or broken pots in the bottom as no salad likes to have ‘wet feet’ and filled the containers with compost; although if you have decent free-draining garden soil, they will do fine in that as well.

    Sow them thinly and only sow a few seeds at a time, otherwise you get a huge glut that you can’t eat. Every couple of weeks, when the seedlings have appeared, sow a few more seeds. It’s good to look out for mixed salad leaves, especially cut and come again varieties as you’ll get about 4 lots for your money – each time you cut it back (as long as you don’t do what LMG did and pull the leaves out by their roots LOL!) it wlll grow again.

    Keep moist, and in a slightly shady position – too much sun makes salad bolt or grow hard and woody

    We have rocket, mizuma and red mustard as Mr Green likes his peppery tastes. We’re even growing watercress as it does not need to be grown in water at all!

  51. Sharon says:

    Following all the food waste friday and no food spend projects I thought I might recommend a book to you.
    It is the Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten OBE and is a collection of recipes and info from 1940 – 1954 when rationing was in force and it was actually illegal to waste food. There are lots of very cheap recipes, and also lots where things like carrots are used instead of sugar. There is also the ultimate zero waste soup – pea pod soup!! And of course these recipes were written in the days before processed food (except for the odd tin of spam!)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Victory-Cookbook-Nostalgic-Facts-1940-1954/dp/0753706830/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251303563&sr=1-1

    The copy I have belongs to my mum, but I don’t want to give it back!

  52. I have this book also and we used it when DS2 class were studying WW2, I catered for the street party to finish the topic (17 kids plus 3 staff)

  53. Mrs Green says:

    @Sharon: Hi Sharon, I love Marguerite Patten’s books too. I borrowed one from the library and wanted to keep it! It’s now on my Amazon wishlist.

  54. Jonathan says:

    You have an interesting site. I have a few recycle/salvage ideas on my blog, including:

    What to do with old computer hard drives or drives that you want to destroy : http://mr-ives.blogspot.com/search/label/hard%20drive

  55. Mrs Green says:

    @Jonathan: Hello Jonathan; welcome to the site and thanks for sharing your link! Mending things is a huge part of our zero waste lifestyle; so thanks for putting together such a great resource :)

  56. sarah says:

    Does anyone know a shop where i can take the empty containers containing their products such as moisturisers, shampoo, conditioners etc back to the shop for them to reuse?

    I know Rush do, but it seems obvious that everyone else should follow suit.

  57. Pol says:

    I would like to say well done for the bit in the paper. If just one person takes extra notice it was worth it. Your site is now in my favourites for when I have some time to go through it.

  58. David Lee says:

    Hi Mr. & Mrs. Green,
    What a wonderful site! Congratulations! My wife and I have been re-cylers for years, but not to your extent.
    On the subject of credit cards. I stopped using credit cards about 15 years ago. The inconvenience was quickly forgotten. The main advantage was a saving of valuable cash. I know this does not suit everybody’s lifestye but it is a great feeling to have real money in your pocket!
    Good luck to all.

    David, Thailand.

  59. Mrs Green says:

    @sarah: Hi Sarah, you could read a little more about this on our ‘Cosmetics companies who refill’ article, which you’ll find here:
    http://myzerowaste.com/articles/personal/cosmetics-companies-who-refill-and-recycle/

    Unfortunately, there are few refill schemes available. Apparently the Body Shop, when they offered this service only appealed to 1% of their customers :(

    @Pol: Hello Pol, thank you so much for your comment and I hope you enjoy the site. Feel free to jump in and comment whenever you get time!

    @David Lee: Hi David; thank you for your comment and it’s lovely to hear about you and your wife recycling all you can. Interesting about the cash; I like that thought, but as I buy things online I guess that wouldn’t work for me… Keep up the great work in Thailand :)

  60. Josie Brock says:

    Hi Mr and Mrs. Green, just found your site and am now working my way round it!

    We do re-cycle as much as possible and have an allotment where we grow quite a bit and have a few compost bins which always seem to be overflowing. My husband uses the inner tubes of toilet rolls as containers to grow runner beans, broad beans etc. and then plant them straight into the ground. We have also found that large sheets (cardboard boxes) of cardboard placed over the ground keeps down the weeds and, eventually, becomes compost. (I expect I’m talking to the converted!) We have also collected free wooden pallets from our local Wood Store – it helps them and helps other people at the allotments to make compost heaps etc.

    Will carry on working through your site, thanks a lot, Jo Brock

  61. Mrs Green says:

    @Josie Brock: Hi Jo, glad to have you here and I hope you enjoy the site. Using toilet roll inners as biodegradable plant pots is great reuse. It sounds like you are doing so much in your allotment and reaping the rewards of a little sustainability in your life. You clearly find it hugely rewarding and I love that you are helping out your fellow allotment holders :) Keep sharing your tips; they are excellent :)

  62. Richard hathway says:

    I am trying to reduce my waste. What I want to know is it better to burn rubbish which can not be reused or recycled on my woodburning stove rather than sending it to landfill?

    I know some plastic will let off chemicals into the environment or is it better to leave it in the ground for hundreds of years?

    I am confused… To burn or to landfil. At least burning will let off a warm feeling!

    I am sure home incineration is the future for land fill, just need a way to catch all the bad chemicals from going into the environment.

  63. Mrs Green says:

    @Richard hathway: Hi Richard, welcome to the site and what a great question. I don’t know the answer I’m afraid. We never burn things that cannot be recycled, because for us that means plastics or composite materials such as crisp bags. The fumes from these are vile and I don’t want to breathe them in or put them into the environment.
    However, whether it’s better to burn or bury I really don’t know the answer to that in terms of long term impact on the environment. As you say, in homes we can’t do anything about the chemicals, so best not to go there I say!
    Will be interested to hear if anyone else has a differing opinion.

  64. Alex Renton says:

    Hi there
    I wrote a piece in the Times using lots from this great site – thanks for the help.
    Some of you will disagree with some of what I wrote – do please comment on the Times site: I’d love to know what you think.
    Keep up the excellent work
    Thanks
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6986627.ece

  65. Mrs Green says:

    @Alex Renton: Great to see you Alex and thanks for the great piece on the Times. I’ll feature it next week on the site :)

  66. Caroline says:

    @Alex Renton: Alex, I found this site through your article which was very inspirational. The Times was worth £1 for once!

  67. Mrs Green says:

    @Caroline: Welcome Caroline; great to see you and I’m glad you enjoyed Alex’s article; I too thought it was really inspirational.

  68. Paul Watts says:

    Already the proud owner of a garden compost bin which gives us several bags of high quality compost every year I thought I’d invest in a second one. Our local council doesn’t supply them but they gave me the website for Greencore where I secured a small discount (£19 instead of £24).

    It duly arrived a few days later but I couldn’t believe the packaging! YES – packaging for a 4′ high plastic compost bin – it was wrapped in about 5 layers of cling-film head to toe. Why? What were they trying to protect it from – the weather? Isn’t this a prime example of a conflict of interests? Sure lunacy. Should I complain to Greencore?

    I have a pic by the way if you would like me to send it to you. It looks so silly!

  69. Naomi says:

    Hi, I have a company called Wikaniko (it’s pronounced we can eco :) ) – our aim is to show consumers how easy it is to adopt a greener, healthier way of living through making painless, small changes. Our website provides links to local recycling services, our very own recycling auction site which is FREE to use – called Wicycle-It (www.wicycle-it.org.uk) and an online shop containing over 800 eco-friendly products for personal use and use around the home. We are also launching an initiative with primary schools this year to promote various ways in which we can help them achieve eco schools awards.

    If you’d like to view our products or find out more about us and ways in which you can help (and help us in our ‘Plant 10,000 trees’ campaign this year), please visit our website http://www.wikaniko.com/1003204 or http://www.go-eco-friendly.co.uk for my contact details. Thanks x

  70. Kim says:

    Congratulations and thank you for some very inspirational ideas.

    I’ve just found your site and in the mist of trawling through all the articles and posts for recycling and money saving ideas. There are so many great idea’s i’ve seen so far, i will now be saving milk bottle tops and sending them off, saving crisp packets and send them to you ( call you soon) and the fab idea of re.using plastic bottles to help prevent against slugs is brilliant.

    The plastic bottle will be re.cycled now into 3 parts, bottle tops will be up turned into plant pots in the garden to help with watering, the middles will be your fab slug guards and the the end i’ll put over seedling to help them along. fantastic

    Right better go, feel the need to re.arrange my kitchen cupboards to re.house containers for recycling :-)
    then i’ll be back later for more ideas :-)

    thanks so very much xxxx

  71. Elaine says:

    Hi Mrs Green
    Like you I’m trying to reduce my landfill waste to an absolute minimum although I have to admit I’m still quite a long way short of achieving zero. I’m currently involved in a de-cluttering exercise but have a problem. Over the years I’ve accumulated a small pile of old hot water bottles which can no longer be used. In fact they now probably leak! Unfortunately no one seems to want old rubber.
    I don’t want to throw them in the bin and I don’t want to incinerate them. Help! What can I do with my old hotties? What do you do with your?
    Elaine

  72. Elaine says:

    Hi Mrs Green
    Like you I’m trying to reduce my landfill waste to an absolute minimum although I have to admit I’m still quite a long way short of achieving zero. I’m currently involved in a de-cluttering exercise but have a problem. Over the years I’ve accumulated a small pile of old hot water bottles which can no longer be used. In fact they now probably leak! Unfortunately no one seems to want old rubber.
    I don’t want to throw them in the bin and I don’t want to incinerate them. Help! What can I do with my old hotties? What do you do with yours?
    Elaine

  73. Karen says:

    @Mrs Green:
    I recorded your TV interview this week for my Husband to see. I think this might have got him thinking . I am sending him the link to MYZEROWASTE .Watch this space.

  74. Nigel Shepheard says:

    Hi there

    There are some things that are very small but just annoying – Assuming I don’t burn them (which I would rather not) how do people deal with things like:
    * the plastic/foil wrappers pills come in
    * the little sticky labels on fruit
    * the card and foil tops on milk bottles

    Anyone got an idea?

    Nigel

  75. Mrs Green says:

    @Paul Watts: Hi Paul, brilliant story. I’ve come across this too with a filing cabinet I bought – the thing was practically bomb proof but it arrived swathed in cling film. Yes, complain, send the photo, along with your letter and their response and we’ll post it up. Contact me initially though the ‘contact us’ form and we’ll see what we can do to change their policy ;) http://myzerowaste.com/contact-us/

    @Naomi: Hi Naomi, welcome and thanks for telling us about your site. I’ve come across you before and it looks great :)

    @Kim: Hi Kim, welcome and what a brilliant start you’ve made. I’m so pleased you can now put your milk bottle components and crisp bags to good use! stay in touch and keep joining in the conversations :)

    @Elaine: Hi Elaine, great question and one which I haven’t yet had to deal with. My hot water bottles are years old and thankfully still going strong! I’m thinking about those grip mats that people use to grip jar lids which are hard to open. Maybe you could get crafty and repurpose your hot water bottles as gifts for those who could use them – they might be useful for the elderly? I think I might post this up as a ‘readers question’ if you don’t mind and we can find some inspirational ideas from our readers!

    @Karen: :D Great Karen – what did he make of us?

    @Nigel Shepheard: Hello Nigel, welcome to the site. Medication packaging is a good one that lots of people talk about. I’m not sure how to deal with it to be honest. I might post that up as a readers question too and see what other people have to say.
    Sticky labels on fruit is something I am going to investigate next week as I’ve been thinking that exact thing. So far I’ve managed to avoid them, but I’ve only done one shopping trip this year. I’m sure they will catch me out eventually, so I’m looking in to it. I’m hoping they are compostable.
    For the plastic / foil seals on milk bottles, I’m talking about it tomorrow – our only answer was to switch brands and we may even start using a milkman. I’m now buying milk that has the plastic seal around the lid. Probably not the answers you were looking for, but there we are – let’s see if anyone else picks up on your comment; if not. I’ll post them all up to get reader input.

  76. Pip says:

    Please can you let other readers know about this petition. I am trying to make a difference bydoing something about the amount of plastic waste that is going to landfill.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/reuse-plastics/

  77. Poppy says:

    HELP!

    The young man and his friend went trotting off this morning with fishing rods and flasks of soup and chocolate. I was patting myself on the back at this zero waste entertainment and then they came home …. with a broken flask!!

    I’ve done a brief hunt around on the internet and it appears that you can’t get refills anymore!!! The newer flasks all say unbreakable.

    Has their zerowaste entertainment turned into a big quack quack oops? Or are there refills still hiding out there somewhere?

  78. Mrs Green says:

    @Pip: Thanks Pip – good luck with the petition and well done for setting it up., How many signatures would you like to collect?

    @Poppy: Oh poppy, I’ve not seen anything at all. I would ask around in a camping shop. I hope you find something!

  79. Greg says:

    I thought this might be of interest to people. Apparently from today retailers who stock batteries must of recycling facilities for you old batteries. Of course people should be using rechargables.

    Quoting from the article:

    “New rules mean that from today, any retailer who sells over 32kg of batteries per year (about 1 pack of 4 AAs a day) is required to provide a free recycling point for consumers to return their used / flat batteries. In practice, this means that most retailers who sell batteries will now have a collection point; making it easier for everyone to recycle,” the body says, adding that the average household uses some 21 batteries a year.

    For the full article see:
    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1589808/battery-recycling-compulsory

  80. Nigel Shepheard says:

    Poppy don’t know if this helps but there is a thermos refil on ebay currently £1.99 item #110489014927

  81. Greg says:

    Now this looks interesting. Spray on glass. I like the sound of:

    “In the home, spray-on glass would eliminate the need for scrubbing and make most cleaning products obsolete.”

    See: http://www.physorg.com/news184310039.html

  82. Jean Blanchard says:

    Hi, All

    One way to deal with unwanted plastic cards (like credit and store cards) is to re-use them as scrapers in the kitchen e.g. scraping the gubbins out of saucepans and casseroles or stubborn burnt on spills on halogen hobs. OK shouldn’t have burnt them in the first place but they are very efficient in getting the hard bits off following a bit of a soak, of course. Plus scraping cake mixture out of the bowl; ice off the windscreen, smoothing polyfilla (and icing on cakes), yes a very useful thing to keep and easy to keep clean.

    Jean B

  83. Mrs Green says:

    @Greg: Hello Greg; I saw the article on the BBC; it’s good news as so few batteries are recycled at the moment. Rechargeable batteries are great and create much less waste. I’ve written about them here: http://myzerowaste.com/2009/12/use-rechargable-batteries/
    Not so sure about the use of spray on glass; why would I want that??

    @Jean Blanchard: Hello Jean, I like the idea of using an old card for scraping out the bowl or icing a cake – kind of like a palette knife. Excellent idea – thank you!

  84. Greg says:

    Mrs Green,

    If it works, you would want spray on glass because you could coat surfaces in your home and be able to clean them just using water and not have to use bleaches and chemicals.

  85. Mrs Green says:

    @Greg: Oh, I Seeeee – yes, I’m up to speed now! So, using spray on glass with a microfiber cloth would mean an end to chemical cleaning. Fabulous! At the moment, my most used product is a plant mister with essential oils and water in it. I use that with a microfiber cloth on virtually everything except greasy surfaces.

  86. Poppy says:

    Lawnmowers!!! For years now we have hovered, kicked and struggled with technology and the lastest answer to the summer woes of grass cutting …. but no more …. I have just ordered a push mower. No wires to worry about, no panic if the weather turns mid cut, free exercise and Master P can use it in relative safety. And there is something strangely therapeutic about the (much quieter) noise of a manual mower.

    Okay, so we’re not totally weened off electricity …. it’ll still be there on standby if this doesn’t work for us … but we’re going to give it a go :)

  87. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: :D brilliant Poppy; enjoy your new mower! We once found our gate open and about 50 sheep in the garden; they did a pretty good job, but my roses suffered LOL!

  88. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    That’s a price you pay for living where you do ….. the sheep is king! lol

    Have you had any Wild Boar?

  89. hubris says:

    A well used but trusty saucepan was recently damaged in my house. The sole issue is the plastic handle snapped when it was dropped. I am unable to remove the stub of the handle from the saucepan, so am curious to know if it’s possible to attach replacement handles to a saucepan where the stub of the old one is still there.

    Any ideas, even unusual ones?

    Thanks.

  90. Jane says:

    Replacement handles for saucepans and knives were made out of wood by my father. Exactly how he atached them I do not know – but they have been working for years.

  91. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: The boar don’t visit us; they tend to be more in the heavily forested area. ;)

    @hubris: Hi Hubris, welcome to the site. I can think of 3 options:
    1- if you really can’t remove the stub then make another handle (from wood as Jane suggested) and attach it on the opposite side of the stub.
    2- if the saucepan is ovenproof, give it up as a saucepan and use as a casserole instead
    3- drill holes in the bottom and repurpose it as a plant pot. :)

  92. CarSue says:

    I don’t throw away old pill bottles. They can’t be recycled where I livee. I save them and fill them with shampoo, lotion, sunblock, or pills when I travel. This way, I still save money and resources by buying in bulk, and I don’t have to waste money and resources on those little travel sized bottles.

  93. Mrs Green says:

    @CarSue: Hi CarSue, great idea for the reusing of pill bottles; they are the ideal size for travel toiletries – thanks for sharing your idea!

  94. Kate says:

    Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to those juice boxes and juice pouches that kids will nearly die for? Obviously if the container is coming home with my son, I send him along with a reusable one. But what about for snack time after sports or activities, when all the kids pile in their own cars and head their separate ways?

  95. Mrs Green says:

    @Kate: Hi Kate, we use a stainless steel drinking bottle and refill it – whenever DD goes off for an activity or club she takes it with her already filled. Can you not recycle tetra pak juice cartons in your area?
    http://www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk/locator.asp
    As for juice packs, we had an article this week from Ella’s Kitchen about recycling them with Terracycle but they are for tots, not older children. To be honest we just don’t buy them and use our own bottles, but I know that’s not ok for everyone

  96. Tillie says:

    An idea to lower on plastic recycling. Sainsbury’s have started to sell Milk in plastic bags which are 75% less packaging that normal milk bottles. They also have jugs for 50p that you can then put the milk into.

    I’ve looked into it and it actually works out cheaper as well as more eco-friendly. A normal 2pt of milk is about 85p but the bags are 2 bags (2pt) for £1.50 and 50p one off payment for the jug. So normally to refill the jug, it’s only 75p for 2 pints, and the bags are then recycled in a normal plastic recycling centre at your supermarket.

    I’m definately switching to this, if we all did, it would make a huge difference!

    P.S Great website family Green!

  97. Mrs Green says:

    @Tillie: Hi Tillie, thank you for taking time to leave your comment. Great that you have done the maths on this type of packaging for milk. What do you think about these bags with regards to recycling? For us it is easier to recycle a plastic bottle rather than the bags – what is it like in your area? Do you think these bags might encourage people to throw them away rather than recycle?

  98. Jane says:

    Lots of people can only recycle plastic bottles. Is Sainsbury’s choosing the areas that it sells these plastic bags into carefully? I’d like to think so.

  99. Poppy says:

    We get the bags of milk, but it also depends on what other offers are available. We can get 2 x 4pt organic milk for £3 or 2 x 2pt pouches for £1.50. Last week though, there was a special offer on Cravendale so we went for that.

    We have until now, taken all our plastic bottles to one of the supermarket bring sites to recycle, but as of our next recycling collection, we get to go kerbside!! Yeah!!!!

    When we use pouches, they are washed out and put with the bags and other plastic bits to be dropped off at the supermarket when we go shopping.

  100. Poppy says:

    Forgot to say, it does say on the council blurb, that we can’t recycle brown or black plastic bottles :( I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any restriction like that on the big bring banks. I’ll have to look more closely next time I’m there.

  101. Jane says:

    It is logical that if you get the packaging from the supermarket that you take it back there – I just hope others will too. Shame about the the brown or black plastic bottles in your kerbside collection. The only one that springs to mind though is Ginger Beer and we don’t buy this to drink at home as a rule. Funny that the supermarket should start their new milk system just as your new kerbside collection starts. The majority of plastic bottles that people have must be the milk ones which WRAP have worked on closing the loop with. I fail to understand how the supermarkets have all been allowed to use milk as a loss leader for so long. I use the milkman with his reuseable glass bottles and then top up with whatever is available nearby – carton or plastic. This cuts down on shopping trips which I know cost me even more money!

  102. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Well fortunately for us, our Sainsburys DOES recycle polythene, in with the carrier bags – I’m not sure how many of its stores does. Perhaps that is a question I could ask them …

  103. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: Isn’t it time that more supermarkets took back plastic bags as well as carrier bags and hard plastic?

  104. Poppy says:

    Both Tesco and Sainsbury’s take bags etc, by us. I’ve been told that others do too, but I haven’t checked that out yet.

  105. Poppy says:

    I’ve recently been in touch with a company called Yellow Moon, who make lots of arty crafty gift type stuff for children and adults. They offer a percentage of all sales back to charities and schools etc who promote their business. At one point I was getting catalogues from 4 different organisations that we supported.

    The reason for my post is however, that I have suggested to them that they either have a special eco section in their catalogue or mark things within it that have no or minimal waste. They have forwarded the idea to the people responsible for the catalogue. I’m pretty sure it could be a winner for them.

    http://www.yellowmoon.org.uk/

  106. Jane says:

    Sainsbury’s mark some of their plastic as acceptable in their plastic bag bank – this includes their mozzarella bags as well as fruit bags – including nets. I reckon Sainsbury’s also mark up much more of their plastic than Tesco – who exasperate me with their lack of info. Morrison’s do now at last do a Bag for Life but for ages after the others were they still didn’t.

    So if you do forget to take a bag and can’t carry everything in your shirt or jumper then you can pay 10p for something that you can roll up and re-use again and again until they (or you) recycle it and if you don’t see one – ask for one! (They have been known to hide them in a drawer so that you don’t buy one (what else do they have for sale that is not visible?) and will advertise them all the way home with a single-use one.)

  107. Poppy says:

    I watched the new kerbside collection with interest and found that the cans and plastic bottles all get tipped into the same section. In there they get squashed up and I’m told that they are segregated at a later point in the process, but neither the man pushing the buttons or the local cabinet member were sure how far down the line this is.

  108. Karen says:

    I have just clicked on explore on the popular searches box on the right of this page and ended up on a casino web site.

  109. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: Ewww, how horrible. I just tried it and got what I should have done – a kind of ‘mind map’ with links to other people’s sites. Can I ask what browser you are using?

  110. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Hi Poppy, love your idea about Yellow Moon supporting something eco – that’s an excellent suggestion. They are so popular and I’ve used them in the past. Let us know if you get anywhere with them :)
    I’m a bit dubious about the plastic bottle sorting; are you? Or did it feel ok to you?

    @Jane: Great to know about the mozerella and fruit nets in Sainsurys, Jane; I didn’t know about those. If you ever get a moment, would you mind posting about some of your finds on our sister site? http://zerowasteshopping.com/

  111. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    I have reservations Mrs G. I’ll see if I can investigate further with the company that the handling is contracted to.

  112. Poppy says:

    I’ve been nobbled! Or should that be bin nobbled! :( We are 10 weeks into our second bin slimming campaign …. all non-recyclable plastics have been stored to stack up tidily in 3 weeks time to see if we can beat our previous 13 week record ….. then today, I went out to check to see if by any chance the missing spare back door key had found it’s way into last weeks small bag of refuse ………. and it’s gone! GONE!!! 10 weeks work down the drain! :( :(

    I’m really annoyed and could happily write some expletives here! I don’t know who’s to blame yet, but I have a couple of ideas.

    As it was a late pick up last week following on from the Bank Holiday, it’s possible that a neighbour or the collection guys thought they were doing me a favour, but the blame may lie closer to home.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  113. Chris Bellamy says:

    Hi,

    I need 6 large, empty Kenco coffee Jars with Blue lids

    Can anyone help?

    Chris

  114. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Chris, good to hear from you. I think you might do better on your local Freecycle group as anyone here would need your address and have to post them to you.

  115. Karen Mattos says:

    Does anyone have any ideas what can be done with the various styles of flower pots, but the brown round plastic types?

  116. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen Mattos: Welcome to the site, Karen. Do you mean you have surplass flower pots to get rid of? They are usually snapped up on Freecycle or some garden centres take them back to recycle. Why not ask your local centre?

  117. Poppy says:

    I’m having problems rehoming some chipboard. It came from a unit that we had in our living room. I did try to pass it on in one piece, but despite putting it on Freecycle and calling all the local second hand furniture people, no-one would take it. I then dismantled it and offered the componant parts. Today someone took the hardboard from the back, but I still have loads of chipboard and some glass. Where to next?

  118. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Hmmm, I would be inclined to phone up your friendly household recycling centre and see if it can go in with builders waste or household rubble (or whatever it’s called). Glass seems to be a problem, they only seem to take bottles at our local one – they used to take sheet glass but the skip was taken away due to ‘health and safety’. You might have more luck in your neck of the woods….
    What does chipboard have in it? Lots of toxic nasties? Just wondering if someone would use it on a woodburner….

  119. Poppy says:

    Thanks Mrs G, I think I’m going to hang on to it for a week or so in case a re-use option shows itself. I didn’t realise that glass could be a problem. It seems such a shame to waste it, but finding a use seems unlikely.

  120. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    I’ve come up wtih a partial solution. The seats on our sofa and chairs have become just a little too comfy aka saggy and I was thinking about some items called sofa savers that a friend used to have, when it hit me that I could do the same with some of the chipboard panels. So the sofa and chairs have had a quick makeover and I’ve even put some boards under the mattress on our bed. The chair I’m sitting on at the moment does feel a little uncomfy, but I’ll give my bum a chance to get used to it and see how we get on. Should also be better for my siatica ….. fingers crossed!

  121. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: :D you’re a genius!

  122. A great site and one I recommend the increasing number of consciously aware people to…. thanks for all you are doing.

    I love the recycle bra feature – I have never done this and timely as I have a drawer full that are ready to go which will be now heading in a far more resourceful direction than landfill!

    Keep up the great work!

  123. Mrs Green says:

    @Michelle Zelli: Hi Michelle, welcome to the site. Glad you have found one of our articles useful already – enjoy decluttering!

  124. Poppy says:

    Last week I had a hospital appointment and was intrigued to see a note on the appointment letter asking me to return the information brochure, but nothing to say why. Today I went back to a different department with my niece and there was a note on the wall asking people to return brochures so they could be re-used.

    10/10 to the hospital! I wonder how many they get back?

  125. Jane says:

    @Poppy: Old windows were often used to make cold frames for use in the garden.

  126. Jane says:

    @Poppy: A couple of months ago I was at a major London art gallery where the little exhibition guide books were being collected so that they could be used again. Brilliant idea as many people obviously seem not to want them for longer than the walk around the gallery.

  127. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: @Jane: Great to hear about that. I too wonder how many they receive back. Great initiative though :)

  128. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: It was a tall see-through container which had a lot in it. At first I thought it was some sort of exhibit – until I got closer and read the sign! If these exhibition guides aren’t reused you can be sure they will be recycled.

  129. Poppy says:

    Some more good news. I bought apples and clementines yesterday and while looking at the clementine packaging, wondering what to with it, I spotted a little note on the side of the wrap around that says “FILM & NET – PLASTIC recyclable at a larger Sainsbury’s. So into the plastics bag it goes :) :)

  130. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Oooo Poppy; so I assume it’s Polythene then? Who knew! THanks for the heads up.

  131. Poppy says:

    I was feeling newly inspired after this find, but also guilty having also bought a pack of Cadbury’s Clusters. So I put pen to paper and wrote off to Cadbury saying how much I enjoyed their product, but how much nicer it would be with at least one of the guilt factors ie the throwaway unrecyclable packaging, removed.

    As is the way of most manufacturers, they totally missed the point and I had a letter back telling me how the ‘wrappers are designed to be easily opened when the consumer wishes to eat the product. It should not prove difficult to open wrappers in normal circumstances, but we do appreciate your comments’

    And as a gesture of their concern, they included a £2 voucher!!!

    I’ll try again!

  132. Lou Tonkin says:

    I know it was discussed in an earlier post that perhaps as I am moving I should be a little kinder to myself about ‘waste’ and relax my efforts, I thought about it for a day and WASN’T happy! If we all said we are too busy to care or be bothered right now that in itself would be rubbish! So I have decided (inspired by your site) to tackle it the other way around. I don’t have a very good way of composting at the moment so instead I am going to try seriously hard to only cook or use as much as we need. We have waste from things like breakfast cereal, so I am giving the children only a bit at a time and having ‘seconds’ -and thirds, but just enough. Or overcooking things on amounts like pasta so that i can have it again for lunch the next day (also saving cooking energy from my obsessive breadmaking) we are trying to use everything in our freezer which is actually quite useful because you can just take out a bit at a time.
    Packaging all goes to the recycling which can continue.
    Clearing out the house of all the things we don’t need is the really big hurdle, I am trying (very hard because nobody is replying and my application isn’t working- HELP someone!) to join the Forest of Dean Freecycle I have stacks of things to ‘offer’.
    I’ve got a carboot stash growing but what do you do about bits of broken toys? does anyone want them for an art project or something? I saw a project once where a group of children were asked to make new toys/monsters out of broken toys, rubbish, buttons etc… they were then asked to draw them and make 3D models of them, they ended up by projecting their drawings onto a wall to paint a mural. Any takers? Maybe it could be a promotion project for the next opening week of zero waste?
    Whatever, i will endevour to reduce, re-use, and recycle!!!!!!!

  133. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Oh my goodness; they just didn’t read your letter AT ALL did they Poppy :( It will be interesting to see what the next letter reveals!

    @Lou Tonkin: Hi Lou, we take small portions and go back for more with everything; it works wonders and now LMG has a pretty good idea of her own appetite; which is a gift in itself (especially when kid’s appetites vary from day to day).
    I’m not even sure who runs the FOD Freecycle group now; it used to be me! What problems are you having signing up? Maybe I can help you figure it out. Do you have a yahoo profile or do you need to set that up as well? Not sure about broken toys; they really are a problem :(
    I admire your will power on this one and wish you all the best. How far are you moving?

  134. Nikki says:

    I have just spoken to the Phillipines Community Fund after reading on here about collecting crisp packets and as I work in a hospital thought I would be able to get tons – what a loveley lady I spoke to and tomorrow when I get to work I will be promoting this idea and collecting crisp packets and toothpaste tubes and should get a lot from hospital workers – great site, great ideas and loving all the tips.

  135. Poppy says:

    I’ve noticed a few items recently that have what appears to be, the same type of silvered packaging as crisp packets. Namely, Kit Kat and the Go Ahead! range of biscuits. Can these be recycled in the same way Mrs G? There was something else, but it escapes me at the moment ;-)

  136. Mrs Green says:

    @Nikki: Nikki, thank you so much for helping out – it would be fantastic if you could set up a collection point. I hope it is popular for you and thanks again :)
    @Poppy: Yep, laminated foil can be sent to the PCF where they will make good use of them :)

  137. cath says:

    Great site.

    It would be good if people create plenty of links to it from other sites. I’ve just written about the site and created a link from:

    http://tiny.cc/p8zcd

    Constant pressure is needed to get rid of the absurd, toxic volumes of plastic stuff being created everywhere.

    Equally, manufacturers need pressure to stop making so many things that can’t be repaired. I have three really sturdy radiators that have stopped working and *no-one* will repair them. “Throw them away” everyone says… It’s a scandal to have to throw away such big sturdy objects after 2 years just because a small internal component can’t be fixed or replaced. The radiators themselves would last for decades. I don’t want to dispose of them but I’m not sure what to do with them.

    Cath

  138. Mrs Green says:

    @cath: Hi Cath, our disposable culture is a real problem for sure. Especially, as you point out, now that few items are able to be repaired. I remember my Granddad used to fix everything; Mr G is the same but it’s harder now because of tamper proof screws and built in obselescence

  139. david paterson says:

    Recycle all paper, even small pieces like till receipts by placing them inside a paper bag. Shred any personal information first. When the bag is about 2/3 full carefully squash the air out and fold the top over a few times, then place the bag between newspapers for collection.

  140. Poppy says:

    My receipts are ripped or screwed up and sometimes given a dunk in the washing up water for good measure, before being fed to my wriggly friends in the compost bin :-)

  141. david paterson says:

    @Poppy: well done poppy thats a good way of disposing of them also

  142. Mrs Green says:

    @david paterson: Hi David, thanks for your suggestions on those tiny pieces of paper. We do a similar thing – stuff them in a paper bag or envelope before recycling with the newspapers :)

  143. david paterson says:

    Mrs. Green, have you thought about using a waste disposal unit for disposing of your leftover cooked food? Also any suggestions for how to dispose of a chicken carcass other than landfill?

  144. Jane says:

    @david paterson: Before you dispose of your chicken carcase take the opportunity to make some stock with it. It is just the time of year to start making soups – especially with all the colds and flus moving in with the colder/change in weather. My great discovery was using a slow cooker for this. Strip the chicken after supper and then bung the carcase in the slow cooker with some water overnight or for the rest of the evening. Once you’ve done this your carcase will have disintegrated pretty much and after putting it in a sieve to drain you can wrap up the leftovers fish-and-chip style. We put these in our food waste bin which is collected weekly and goes to make electricity and compost. We have had a food waste collection for about five years now. Other options are a green johanna or a bokashi bin. Have a google to find out more!

  145. Mrs Green says:

    @david paterson: Hi David, we don’t tend to have leftover cooked food and I don’t personally feel a waste disposal unit is the answer anyway. I prefer the bokashi bin where you can compost the remains afterwards and keep the cycle of life turning :) And of course, prefer prevention of food waste in the first place :)
    @Jane: Thanks for the great reply Jane – you covered everything brilliantly!

  146. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: I always try to make three meals out of a roast chicken dinner: the dinner itself, another dish eg fried rice with the small amount of meat stripped off, soup with the stock. I’m happy with my methods for this from the buying of the chook to the boiled bones I’m left to dispose of (at present). Other aspects of waste reduction/change of lifestyle I have much further to go with!

  147. Mark says:

    Hi Mr & MrsGreen

    We always recycled, but the recycle bin was always outside and …..well it was always easier to throw it in the bin in the kitchen.

    But now our landfill waste is every 2 weeks, so
    we made the bin in the kitchen the recycle bin and the landfill waste is outside

    WOW now we recycle everything, be honest the landfill bin is always a 1/4 full even after 2 week.
    So my tip for recycling is make the recycle bin your main kitchen bin.
    Sorry if this has been suggested before.

    Mark

  148. Jane says:

    @Mark: I too think it is easier to recycle at source. I would like to see more publications showing rectangular bins in cupboards in the kitchen and different ideas for flexible solutions. Instead I too often see the tall large free standing bins so beloved of Interior Designers. ( I just imagine the two of them in an embrace and dancing around the kitchen floor space together.) All style and no practicality – a bit like choosing a coffee machine for its looks and not because it makes good coffee. Let’s see more of the practical solutions!

  149. Mrs Green says:

    @Mark: Hello Mark, Your suggestion is brilliant and it was a real epiphany for us when we did the same a couple of years ago. Several of our readers do this, but it’s always good to go back over the old basics, because new people find our site all the time. Thanks for taking time to write and share what has worked for you!

  150. Louisa says:

    We are told to dispose of light bulbs separately from normal household waste. Unfortunately the nearest civic amenity site is on an exposed and hilly section of the A65 (Skipton by-pass), and I can’t get there without a car. Is there an address I could post my spent light bulbs to?

  151. Jane says:

    @Louisa: We all struggle to do these things individually when it may be no effort at all for a neighbour already going there to help out. I used to do a swap with a friend – give her my cardboard and take her plastic bottles to be recycled. Now we can both recycle both.

    These are the low energy ones? I don’t believe the others are recyclable. I believe Ikea take back any low energy spent bulbs but don’t know if anyone else does. It would be good if the stores that sell them took them back just as they have to do with batteries if they sell more than a certain number. There are more initiatives for small electricals now but the trouble with low energy lightbulbs is that they are considered hazardous because of the small amount of mercury in them and so have more regulations.

  152. Mrs Green says:

    @Louisa: Hello Louisa, there are various recycling points dotted around the country; for instance some Sainsbury stores and Robery Dyas stores have collection points for low energy bulbs. You can try typing your postcode into this locator to see if there is a recycling point nearer to you: http://www.recolight.co.uk/FREE-Recycling/ I had a go myself and learned something new! There is a low energy bulb recycling point 7 miles away in a town I visit once a week anyway!

  153. Janet says:

    Sainsburys recycle the low energy blubs in their stores.

  154. Poppy says:

    @Janet:

    I only noticed that the a few weeks ago. It’s by the big recycling containers in the car park. Batteries and carrier bags and coincidently ( in a ‘while I;m here’ kinda way!) some containers (check out own brand cleanser), are in the foyer.

  155. Jane says:

    Must have another look!

    I haven’t inspected the collection bins outside in Sainsbury’s car park recently as I haven’t needed to find any other recycling points BUT I did check a couple of local Council websites and found them very disappointing and in one case definitely LESS informative. The Sainsbury’s collection bin in the foyer is not just for carrier bags (we only now have the occasional one) but for other similar plastic (eg the plastic around loo rolls LDPE 4 and other plastic that Sainsbury’s have identified as recyclable there). It is a shame that other supermarkets are not also identifying their plastic like this or using the BRC scheme which is a start.

    It is also a shame that fluorescent tubes are not included – it might mean that we found them dumped less often in the bushes. They are often for domestic use – not just commercial.

  156. Poppy says:

    I heard about the following guy sometime ago and did make contact, but he wanted more from me in a work capacity, then I was able to give. He has now moved on hugely as you will see from the website. (I feel that you have both grown your acorns well Mrs G!) I wonder what he does with the stuff he collects? I can’t see any mention of recycling on the site, but having done a fair bit of litter picking myself, I know that sometimes seperating it all out can turn into a bit of a nightmare.

    My litter group usually meet at the end of the month, but for some strange reason, no-one wants to come out on the 25th ….. can’t think why! When we do get together at the end of January I’m intending to go armed with a camera to get photos of everyone to put on the site :)

    http://litterheroes.co.uk/index.htm

  157. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Poppy, what a brilliant site – thanks so much for the link. I can’t imagine why no one wants to come out on the 25th; perhaps we should hold a litter pick for all the people who don’t celebrate Christmas and really give something back to the world ;)

  158. Colette McNeil says:

    I have a collection of left hand rubber gloves because I always go through the right hand first. Is there a left handed person who has a problem going through the left hand first? I would be happy to give them my surplus gloves.

  159. Mrs Green says:

    @Colette McNeil: Hi Colette, you know, we *almost* set something up for reuniting left and right gloves, but never got around to it – mine get a bit icky inside and I figured no one else would want to use them!

  160. Marco says:

    Hello all from Italy, you just made it to the front page of quite a few newspapers down here!
    Not sure if it is off topic or not, but it sure is funny (to me at least) that there are now even dating sites for green people.. You recycle your ex so you are sure there is no waste??? ;)

    The oldest one around seems to be a UK site, actually… http://www.meetyourgreens.com

    Off to sorting my recycling bins now… ;)

    Marco

  161. Stefano says:

    Hello all from Italy.
    It is nice to meet such news on early morning :) :)
    Thank You for showing people how to preserve and respect our wonderful world.
    Just one question: when you say that one year waste is contained in one bag you mean that all the other stuffs (plastic, organic etc.) have been wasted in separated bags during the year?
    Stef

  162. Mrs Green says:

    @Marco: Welcome Marco; I didn’t realise we were in the Italian news; that is why I’m seeing a spike in visitors this weekend! Recycling your ex, now there’s an idea for a post – thanks for the inspiration and laugh :D

    @Stefano: Morning Stef, thank you for taking time to comment. Regarding your question all other things have been reused, recycled, composted or we have changed our shopping habits to avoid getting non-recyclable materials here. Does that make sense?

    So all plastics that CAN be recycled have been – the ones you see in the bag of landfill waste are not recyclable at the moment. Organic food scraps such as vegetable peelings are composted or put into the wormery (or fed to the rabbit!)

    We’ve found ways to responsibly dispose of most items and the bag you have seen in photos shows what is left for landfill…

  163. Maurizio says:

    Grea Ideas !!!!
    In Italy we are facing big waste problems in Naple that the solution is always far away !!!!
    Probably we should send Italian’spolitics to visit you !!!!! :-)
    Hoping to continue to hear such good news I wish you a greener 2011 !!
    Maurizio

  164. Frances says:

    Ciao from Italy & congrats for showing everybody that we can/could make it
    Since you did not you were on our news, here is the article link for you.
    http://www.repubblica.it/ambiente/2011/01/09/news/strauss_rifiuti-10995907/?ref=HRERO-1
    Frances

  165. Mrs Green says:

    @Maurizio: Hello Maurizio, thank you for your well wishes. I have read about the issues in Naples and it is very sad. I truly hope things can be sorted.

    @Frances: Thank you for the link Frances; it looks good although they could be saying anything about us and I wouldn’t know ;) Great to see so much interest from Italy!

  166. Pat says:

    I see that my local Tesco are supposed to be starting to recycle crisp packets in February. Last year I recycled my own crisp packets and those of my friends at Tesco. However, the box has not been there since Christmas, and I have been told that it will not be replaced. Also, this year they are not recycling Christmas cards for charity. There is a notice in the foyer saying that cards can be put in the recycling facility along with other paper/card waste. Scrooge is obviously alive and well at St Oswalds Tesco!

  167. Louisa says:

    Perhaps it’s not appropriate to pin all the blame on Tesco. Apparently the Christmas that’s just been is the last one from which the Woodland Trust is collecting cards for recycling. Participating stores are TK Maxx, M&S (including some Simply Foods) and HomeSense.

  168. Jane says:

    I’d like to see Tesco doing more about reducing, identifying and recycling all the plastic that they use. I loved their TV advertisement saying they didn’t mind how we took our shopping home and then showing for example Alan Titchmarsh with his wheelbarrow etc. I don’t feel they are putting in as much effort and initiative now.

    Most of us now have kerbside recycling for cardboard and that was not the case when the Woodland Trust started their Christmas Card collections 14 years ago.
    http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/more-trees-more-good/Pages/christmas-card-recycling-2.aspx?WT.mc_id=main-ccrs There’s a nice little video here. You can also vote for more trees where you live by entering your postcode.

    Reuse of the card is of course better than recycling. I received one recycled card this year made by a friend who was recovering from an op and couldn’t go shopping. Sometimes you need to be physically stopped so that you can change your direction! I haven’t sent any cards for years but I can’t say that is really from any sense of greenness and I feel guilty about not sending them to some people – there are some elderly relatives who would have read and re-read any cards they received – very different from the younger generation who may get and give them but aren’t really interested in this way of communication.

  169. Mrs Green says:

    @Pat: hello Pat; yes we originally set that box up and I’ve heard nothing from Tescos! Am still awaiting a phonecall, but it’s interesting to hear you have been told it won’t be coming back – do you know who you spoke to?

    @Louisa: What a shame about the Woodland Trust Louisa, I wonder why they are stopping it – I thought it was very well supported?

    @Jane: I used to make all my Christmas cards too, but didn’t make the time this year. Mind you, I only sent 8 so did the next best thing and bought charity ones ;)

  170. Poppy says:

    Is it my imagination or have the supermarkets gone back on their pledge to minimise the amount of free carrier bags? Most tills seem to be well stocked with them now and I see a lot of trolleys being wheeled out loaded up with them :(

  171. Jane says:

    I stood behind someone in Sainsbury’s taking masses of carrierbags the other day. The young girl put a whole lot on top of the counter and she took them all – some had things in them others didn’t. I could only watch in disbelief. I just wasn’t in the mood to come up with an amusing comment. They are banned from my house and even so quite a few manage to creep in. The supermarkets need to teach their personnel to be a bit more proactive – and I suppose I should write again.

  172. Louisa says:

    Sometimes in my local supermarket you have to be quick before some pesky kid packs your shopping into carrier bags and insists on getting paid for it because it’s all in aid of their school’s jolly junket to the Third World. In my day we never went anywhere further afield than Europe… >:-(

  173. Jane says:

    A new year another year of young shop assistants with not enough experience? It would have been better had she just put a few out when asked instead of the whole batch. Then the customer would have had to ask for more. I am sure the supermarket did not intend to provide free carrer bags simply to line bins (which is what many people use them for) after all they sell bin liners. They like the advertising they provide being carried from the shop (but not hanging from the trees). Are any schools selling cloth bags? It strikes me they would be a good alternative to teatowels.

  174. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: I’ve noticed in several supermarkets now I have to actually wait before my stuff gets put through because the cashier is busy opening carrier bags to stick down the end of the conveyor belt. Even when I say “No bags, thank you” they still insist on their regime of putting them all out and opening them for me

    @Jane: I’ve seen that too and I was reminiscing that I used to be one of those people. I would take home an additional 20 or so bags and use them as bin liners

    @Louisa: LOL! I’ve come across that too :D Mr Green, however, gave them a quick Citizenship lesson about the harmful effects of carrier bags and it was lovely – the kids were enthralled and knew completely what he was on about…

  175. Louisa says:

    On at least one occasion when my “no bags” request was ignored, I made a point of transferring all the shopping to my own bags and leaving the plastic bags at the checkout, only to see the cashier tear off some new bags for the next customer – as if the discarded ones were considered unsuitable for re-use!

  176. peter howe says:

    I live on your doorstep near Hedge End. To save on postage what’s the chance of adding your collection bins to Sainsbury, Hedge End, Asda, Chandlers Ford and Tesco, Bursledon. And for good measure get your bins in the large school complexes at the likes of Wyvern and Wildern and a number of others.
    I note as with Tetra containers, Eastleigh Council, who usually pride themselves on collectables, are being left far behind here. And again with the bottle tops. Their neighbouring Councils and Sussex as a whole are beginning to beat them at their own game.
    Whike the Council remain lethargic, can you help us by adding the bins to the local supermarkets and the schools. It will save on ever incresing postage and the take up will be infectious, I’ve no doubt whatsoever

  177. Mrs Green says:

    @Louisa: Oh Gosh, that’s just too bad – soiled goods no less LOL!

    @peter howe: Hello Peter, thanks for your comment. The PCF are in Hedge End, not us ;) There will be changes happening regarding collections anyway, so sadly I don’t think this will be a possibility… I will be putting an announcement on the site over the next fortnight once all details have been finalised.

  178. Anthony Walter says:

    Does anyone know if BRITTA home water purification filters…see link ..can be recycled..my queries have fallen on deaf ears for now.

    http://www.brita.com/products/replacement-filters/pitcher-filters/

  179. Mrs Green says:

    @Anthony Walter: Hello Anthony, we covered this topic a while ago – you can read about it here and let me know if it answers your question: http://myzerowaste.com/2009/05/recycle-brita-water-filter-cartridges/

  180. Jenny says:

    I have a couple of old hot water bottles which are rather worn out and about to be replaced. The bottles are manufactured from thermo-plastic material as opposed to rubber. Do you know if they can go for recycling along with other general types of plastic bottles, or are they destined for the dustbin like their rubber counterparts?

  181. Ben says:

    @Jenny: Hi Jenny, I suspect hot water bottles are a difficult item to recycle. They’re almost certainly a different kind of plastic to the ones commonly used for bottles so I doubt you could recycle them that way, but identifying the material and asking your recycling centre might turn something up. I’m presuming that the bottle itself is worn out and you can’t just replace the cover?

    http://www.recycle-more.co.uk suggests cutting hot water bottles up to make jar openers, non-slip mats under plant pots, or filling them with some kind of soft substance to make kneelers for gardening. However, for all I know you might live on the 23rd floor of an apartment building, have no house plants and never buy anything in jars, so sometimes we have to accept landfill waste happens, which is when I try to make a better choice next time though replacing the item with one that I expect to last longer and/or have better recycling options when it does wear out. An offer on freecycle might surprise you though, people really do want these random items sometimes.

  182. Mrs Green says:

    @Jenny: Hi Jenny, great advice from Ben and I would support the idea of freecycle – sometimes artists want all sorts of textiles for their projects – it’s worth a go!

  183. Jenny says:

    Thanks Ben & thanks Mrs Green for some useful suggestions. I know it was a long time ago when I bought the bottles in question, but I seem to remember reading at the time that they were recyclable. I’m now wondering if that only referred to the packaging and not to the bottles themselves!

    This was the first time I had bought thermoplastic hot water bottles and I have to say I never liked them half as much as the traditional rubber ones. As both materials appear to be equally non-recyclable, I’ve been out this morning and bought two natural rubber replacements. At least rubber is a natural, renewable source.

  184. Mrs Green says:

    @Jenny: Glad you were able to get the traditional rubber ones Jenny – often new materials replace old ones and the old ones are no longer available …

  185. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    Bad news this morning Mrs G (actually, last thing yesterday), but only out to the wider public this morning – http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Waste-incinerator-costing-163-500-million-step-closer/article-3340414-detail/article.html

    It kinda makes everything we/you’ve been doing seem pointless, but reading more I see the idea is to run this alongside recycling. I don’t see how they are going to have enough residual waste to keep it going though, if everyone (ha ha) recycled properly. My little fortnightly bag for example, would do very little to feed it!!

    Very worrying, and not the best news to go to sleep on :(

  186. stephen says:

    Poppy, we in Suffolk have very much the same problem,. The Suffolk Preservation Society organised a protest and 250 of us joined together at Eye Airfield. The press attended and we managed to get to MPs interested because their mail bags were overloaded with complaints about the lack of information about the development which managed to get approved into the top 8 sites in the Core Waste Strategy with only 6 people protesting the council as a result of the lack of communication and underhand tactics by the local council to try to push this through with nobody noticing, at the 11th hour we found out post the consultation period so there were just 6 protests from a town including ourselves!!!. I’m afraid our research highlighted that you are not alone, and that these are spreading to every county in the British Isles. My greatest fear is the death of recycling. It you will see many complaints that people beleive its a done deal… The decisions are made at Central Government and the council have to implement them. So the grounds for appeal are minimal, such as transportation. Ha Ha. Not health because they refuse to admit that this is an issue.

    We need to consolidate resources because individually these groups are not successful on the whole! If they are successful locally, which is rare, as the grounds are infrastructure generally rather than health, this pushes the problem to another area. There are no boundaries of which way the wind blows and the pollutants can travel everywhere so the problem has not gone away other than visual. The C02 problem for the ozone will just continue to worsen. If you want to see the personal video of our local protest that I made on a grass roots level, and comments the link is here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htgZK_QNrdk&feature=related

  187. stephen says:

    Sorry poppy, try this link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SanJeSFoGxM

    The previous link I gave you in error is for
    Professor Dr Paul Connett which is very relevant and we are considering inviting here to UK to assist if we can get support locally.

  188. Poppy says:

    @stephen:

    Thank you for the links Stephen.

    Professor Connett has been in this area and spoken about what was then a possible plan to build an incinerator. He was very good. When the council however, employed their own ‘independent expert’, it was known that this is the answer he would come up with …………… no surprises, but very sad and dissappointed that they didn’t think more instead of going for the easy answer.

    There are several action groups who I think are feeling a bit stunned for the moment, but they’ll be back :)

  189. Louisa says:

    @stephen: What is the “C02 problem for the ozone” to which you refer?

  190. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: What I want to know is, IF there isn’t enough material to be incinerated, could a local authority be a teeny bit tempted to chuck all our carefully sorted and collected recyclates in there?

    @stephen: I have contacts for the person who organises Paul Connett speaking in the UK if you are interested …
    Which one is you on the video?

  191. Antonio Pachowko says:

    Mrs G

    To answer your question the incinerator will accept commercial waste and waste from other councils. How do you think councils with no incinerator dispose of some of the waste, So this is not a problem?

    Professor Paul Connett is a retired chemist and we Chemical Engineers know from bitter experience that Chemists do not have the knowledge both physical and with maths to design. Chemists specialise in reaction mechanisms, kinetics, reaction routes, selectivity etc, but they do not have the knowledge to design chemical reactors because it is complex maths. They also do not have the knowledge to design unit operations such as filters, pumps, cyclones, hydrocyclones, valves, distillation columns, absorber, solvent extractors etc. As engineers have the knowledge to design plants, to make them safe, to make them have low environmental impact, to make a process which normally so dangerous (high risk of exposure) to do safe (low risk). Remember that lots of the things you use everyday has come about through toxic process.

  192. stephen says:

    Louisa sorry for the delay, but the answer to your question is at :
    http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/green_incineration_claims_02052006.html

    http://www.eclipse.co.uk/exeter/burner/case.htm

    This is a pro incineration scientist view to balance the argument:

    http://science.jrank.org/pages/3548/Incineration-Emissions-pollutants.html

    it very much depends on what you are burning to get any proper evaluation ,but obviously it must be inflammable which limits it somewhat ,( most recyclables are inflammable by the way!) not forgetting one third, go s back to landfill as toxic ash, polluting the water courses or worse eg: brick making for housing, road building etc…. but everyone is in agreement that incineration produces great quantities of CO2(a greenhouse gas that destroys ozone !) if you burn municipal waste
    Sorry mrs g ,
    I would be very interested in Professor Dr Paul Connetts details thanks….

    Mrs g I was the one behind the camera

  193. Bev says:

    Only time will tell if the new incinerators prove safe. The old ones would have claimed to be safe, otherwise surely Councils would never have allowed them! Here are some articles where it went wrong!

    http://www.ukhr.org/incineration/IncinerationLetters.pdf

    However well designed the engineering solution mistakes happen. The Environmental Agency recognise limitations in safety systems, they call this the ‘human factor’. That is people’s behaviour is not predictable. E.g. In France the filters were removed because this just made their job harder?. Local people suffered. Health stats deteriorated significantly with Increased cancers, birth defects, respiratory diseases etc. Eventually a whistleblower called in the authorities!

    These hungry machines need hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste to burn a year to make a profits. The temptation to take unauthorised waste to make profits is too great where systems do not exist to filter their toxins. With so many planned country wide, at best, it will reduce the opportunity for recycling, and, at worse, will divert recycling on the basis of economics. These Incinerators are being sold as Eco, Waste to Energy and apparently they Recycle?? I think traditional recycling is at risk. Our resources are disappearing at an alarming rate and some point in the future recycling will become critical and the huge mistake of incineration will be recognised more widely.

  194. Louisa says:

    Stephen, none of your links say anything about carbon dioxide depleting ozone. Can you provide a chemical equation?

  195. stephen says:

    http://people.ucalgary.ca/~keith/papers/21.Kirk-Davidoff.1999.OzoneDepletionStratosphericWater.e.pdf
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    http://people.ucalgary.ca/~keith/papers/21.Kirk-Davidoff.1999.OzoneDepletionStratosphericWater.e.pdf

    http://timeforchange.org/CO2-cause-of-global-warming http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?

    _ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VB5-48XKNPN-5K&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F1989&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1695213316&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=33e31a9ba596a8ddbf0d292a03913780&searchtype=a

    the debate go’s on bla bla bla …”.but do we need scientific evidence to know our actions are trashing the planet, I say tread lightly and you can’t go far wrong no mater what the scientist say”

  196. Stephen says:

    It seems you are right louisa incinerators do not deplete high level ozone but increase low level ozone instead which nobody  wants ,Low level ozone (or tropospheric ozone) is regarded as a pollutant by the World Health Organization and the UK Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is not emitted directly by car engines or waste incinerators but formed by the reaction of sunlight on air containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from these sources that react to form ozone directly at the source of the pollution or many kilometers down wind. Ozone reacts directly with some hydrocarbons such as aldehydes and thus begins their removal from the air, but the products are themselves key components of smog. Ozone photolysis by UV light leads to production of the hydroxyl radical OH and this plays a part in the removal of hydrocarbons from the air, but is also the first step in the creation of components of smog such as peroxyacyl nitrates which can be powerful eye irritants. The atmospheric lifetime of tropospheric ozone is about 22 days; its main removal mechanisms are being deposited to the ground, the above mentioned reaction giving OH, and by reactions with OH and the peroxy radical HO2· ,There is evidence of significant reduction in agricultural yields because of increased ground-level ozone and pollution which interferes with photosynthesis and stunts overall growth of some plant species etc etc. 

    Another shcool of thought is of Dr Timothy Ball saying we have got it all wrong, in this day and age it’s a job to know who to believe, every 40 years or so scientist seem to rethink  theory’s and come up with new conclusions to old theory’s it seems:      
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FoS_Ozone&CarbonDioxide.pdf

  197. Louisa says:

    Stephen, do you know what Timothy Ball’s academic credentials are? His arguments sound uncannily like those touted by two placard-bearing protestors I met outside the Royal Swedish Academy of Science back in late 1995 (when Paul Crutzen, Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry).

  198. Stephen says:

    Louisa
    My point is Councils  can always find an advisor who supports their claims!  Professor James Bridges, an advocate of cigarette smoking,  still claims today  there is no evidence to prove smoking is bad  for your health!  Well he is now working for Suffolk county council as a qualified advisor claiming  how safe municipal waste incinerators are.  The old incinerators proved a disaster, yet despite this, Councils have faith in new systems not repeating the mistakes of the past.   Faith in profit making companies putting public health above profit where councils are willing to put a price tag on it.  The Council have taken the easy option being delivered a solution on a plate energy from waste and a way out of European landfill fines!   The people have been refused their rights, hoodwinked to push the systems through planning.       We can not believe anyone where there have a vested intrest eg: tim balls PhD

    http://www.desmogblog.com/dr-tim-ball-the-lie-that-just-wont-die

    When a so could expert comes on the scene general common sence appears no defence 

  199. Louisa says:

    That last link says that Tim Balls is no expert because he is not qualified, regardless of whether or not he has a vested interest. One charlatan does not a school of thought make. What about James Bridges?

  200. Stephen says:

    Tim. Balls is not a expert but in some ways his got a point may be?,but james bridges has no excuse, I think it’s pretty much established as fact that smoking is dangerous for your health by now ,but he insists he is right , by the way he was working for the tobacco industry at the time! I think he may be a charlatan or simply a mis informed toxicologist, that don’t take all the evidence that he sould in consideration , he sould not be advising over people’s health over incinerators when it’s such a dangerous thing if you get it wrong, and people’s lifes are at stake:
     http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=110595672390&topic=12233

      I “think theirs more to this then meets the eye”

  201. Antonio Pachowko says:

    An expert will have their work published in a peer reviewed journal, where experts in the field can judge to say if it is good enough to be published. Otherwise it is people venting unsubstantiated facts that cannot be back by empirical evidence. Always judge somebodies merit by how many papers they produced in what journal.

  202. stephen says:

    Prof Paul Connett and Prof James Bridges are both retired toxicologists ,but their views could not be more different. Connett has produced over 3000 papers (1700 seminars world wide) in 50 countries and 49 States of America on incinerators claiming its not a solution to the 20th century and giving solutions not just problems. Bridges has published appox 300 papers!

    It appears that the decisions to implement the core waste strategy was made at Central Government for councils to implement. Because James Bridges has been used extensively at the exclusion of other equally qualified people, its difficult to see a thorough balanced review to support their decision has been carried out and further is independent and unbiased without question.
    The result is the public have lost trust in the so called democratic process.

    There is real concrete evidence on incinerators causing harm in the past. Only time will tell whether Bridges turns out to be right about the optimism withe the new incinerators being safe. If he is wrong, people get hurt and the councils need to think about the responsibility they have in signing off these developments off.

    The USA have learnt lessons. They ceased using incinerators since 95. They listened to their people!! They were very unpopular and their Government found them very expensive mistakes and caused harm and pollution. They recycle on average over 70 % of their waste.
    It’s improving year on year. One of the largest users of resources on the planet. Their key to their success was bringing everyone on board to recycle at point of source. They did not rely on their government to do it all for them it has proved very cost effective as well with no long contracts going on for 25-30 years and it of course as no impact on recycling as 9 times out of 10 incinerator DO !…..

  203. stephen says:

    sorry that was supposed to say 21st century.

  204. stephen says:

    A reasonable document about waste management for the 21st century from ‘ukwin’ that might interest you Mrs g :

    http://www.ukwin.org.uk/files/pdf/UKWIN_DEFRA_Submission_4_October_2010.pdf

  205. Mrs Green says:

    @stephen: Thanks Stephen, I’ll take a look at it over the weekend ;)

  206. Stephen says:

    http://suffolkcclibdems.org.uk/en/page/no2incineration
    Even the Liberal Democrats are opposing the  incinerators agreeing the main concerns we have and they are in a coalition with the  Conservatives so why is this happening still?  
    Surely they have some influence?

  207. Stephen says:

    Sorry mrs g, just a little more light bedtime reading material, about! you guessed it incinerators, if this is true we all have been hoodwinked about health around them….

    http://www.ukhr.org/incineration/incinerators.htm

  208. Mrs Green says:

    @Stephen: Thanks Stephen, nothing like a little light bedtime reading to keep me out of mischief ;)

  209. Stephen says:

    Mrs green,
    If you liked that, you are going to love this link, it seems The government as known all a long that incinerators are killing people and baby’s etc, but are going out of their way to cover it up, and doing absolutely nothing about it, but proposing lots more of them ?….

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmenvfru/780/780we14.htm

  210. Mrs Green says:

    @Stephen: Sadly, that doesn’t really surprise me….

  211. Stephen says:

    Tim bridges is the governments main person that advises over the safety of the publics health on incinerators, and I think he has been mis advising for years it seems eg:
    “expert” Professor Jim Bridges, whose seven page report on my statement was erroneous as detailed in the South London Mercury, 23 November 2005. Professor Bridges stupidly quoted from non-existent published birth defect data for Bexley and then, through Lovells (his solicitors), refused to retract his erroneous report after I reminded Professor Bridges that I had access to unpublished ONS data.”

    The report above by Michael Ryan in 2005
    I have seen lots of so could reports by him bridges that look just as unlikely

    I think we need to stand back take a deep breath, and look at the waste problem once more to find a sustainable way out of this mess, that don’t include burning it ,one way is not letting manufactures make produce that can’t be recycled, household waste only accounts for 9%, and most of the other waste can not be burnt, of the 434 million tones a year of waste in the Uk, after all the western culture relies on buying stuff year on year to make bisness

  212. Stephen says:

    Tim bridges is the governments main person that advises over the safety of the publics health on incinerators,  and I think he has been mis advising for years it seems eg:
          ”expert” Professor Jim Bridges, whose seven page report on my statement was erroneous as detailed in the South London Mercury, 23 November 2005. Professor Bridges stupidly quoted from non-existent published birth defect data for Bexley and then, through Lovells (his solicitors), refused to retract his erroneous report after I reminded Professor Bridges that I had access to unpublished ONS data.”

    The report above by Michael Ryan in 2005
    I have seen lots of so could reports by him bridges that look just as unlikely  

    I think we need to stand back take a deep breath, and look at the waste problem once more to find a sustainable way out of this mess, that don’t include burning it ,one way is not letting manufactures make produce that can’t be recycled, household waste only accounts for 9%, and most of the other waste can not be burnt, of the 434 million  tones a year of waste in the Uk, after all the western culture relies on buying stuff year on year to make business flourish….

  213. Louisa says:

    Tim Bridge, Jim Bridges or Him Bridges?

  214. Stephen says:

    Sorry about the slip up at the end, but my phone buttons are dangerously close to the send button at the bottom of the page !…

  215. soma says:

    I just heard about your ‘project’ in a German weekly (Der Spiegel) and now I became curious.
    Is there any ‘Getting started in 10 steps’-guide for people who never thought about their waste before? – or at least, did not think about it seriuosly. I mean, as long as there is space in one of our beautiful yellow, blue, green or black waste containers I think about the waste, but in the end I just bring it down and then it is forgotten.

    Do you know if there is an equivalent ‘movement’ in Germany?
    oh, and before I forget – your site seems to be a worthwile avocation! I just don’t know where to start!

    I hope, my English is well understandable…

  216. Poppy says:

    Interesting that you ask this question Soma. I recently understood that Germany, as a country already has a zero waste policy. Could you tell us what goes in your multi-coloured bins?

    I don’t think Mrs G has a “10 steps guide”, but as you’ve alrady seen, there is heaps of information on the site if you take a look around.

    My number 1 point to those starting out, would be too think about the end of any product you are buying. Is it likely to be compostable, reuseable or recyclable or will it be a landfill item.

  217. Mrs Green says:

    @soma: Hi Soma, welcome from Germany! We’ve just finished filming with Galileo TV, so you should see us on there during the first week of May!

    I agree we need to set up a ‘start here’ guide; I’ll add it to my list of things to do. The site has been running for over 2 years and now has over 1000 articles, so we need a guide perhaps.

    In the meantime you could browse our beginners tips for reducing household waste: http://myzerowaste.com/2009/05/beginners-tips-for-reducing-household-waste/ and, if you’re doing all those already, then try the intermediate tips! http://myzerowaste.com/2009/05/further-steps-to-reducing-your-household-waste/

    And I’m afraid I don’t know of any similar movement in Germany. Although there is Katie who blogs from Berlin over at http://www.makingthishome.com/ and she tries to get by with as little ‘stuff’ as possible.

  218. Stephen says:

    The environmental impacts of the paper industry in Wisconsin USA , and I’m assuming the rest of world?, not quite the environmentally produce    it once was it seems, and you can’t recycle it more than once or twice because the fibres break down and become useless !.

    http://www.cwac.net/paper_industry/index.html

  219. Louisa Radice says:

    That the paper industry is environmentally damaging is not new news; the Women’s Environmental Network published a book about this 20 years ago:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tissue-Lies-Disposable-Paper-Environment/dp/0951429728/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303130257&sr=1-6
    And the Lonely Planet Guide to Finland has also touched upon this topic.

  220. Stephen says:

    Thanks for that Louisa,
    Every now and then we may need reminding that paper and cardboard is so damaging to the environment,  recycled or new,it’s not just plastics, and theirs so many people still using news papers, mags, etc,when today we have no excuse, eg: Ebooks , computers,etc ,I think we all knew it was damaging, but not as bad as this, it seems-worse than plastic even!       

  221. Mrs Green says:

    @Stephen: Hi Stephen, thanks for raising awareness about this. I too used to think paper was the answer to everything (rather than plastic) but I learned that it might not be as easy a solution as I previously thought.
    @Louisa Radice: Thanks for the link Louisa. Ok, so it’s not ‘new news’ but it might be to many people. Much of what I share on this site is not ‘new’ (in all honesty, what is?) but it’s about timing – if we can bring something to our readers awareness at the right time then they can use that information to make empowered decisions. I’ll check out the book, it looks good and I love the WEN work.

  222. Louisa Radice says:

    “Most climate scientists publish papers in peer reviewed journals. Climate sceptics have less accepted theories that are not generally passed by the peer review process so they use the internet distribute their ideas. People outside the academic community cannot gain access to the subscription only journals so a Google search throws up a disproportionate number of hits with convincing pseudo-scientific garbage. Climate scientists have got to make their publicly funded research more openly and easily available. ”

    Comment by Matthew Rea of Edinburgh at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8451756.stm

  223. Stephen says:

    Just another view from the same post!

    While the argument about climate change is going on, the subject of the explosion of human population remains a taboo. Like many species before us, humanity will collapse if it continue to breed out of control with the complete disregard to available resources.
    Is there a common purpose to humanity or it is simply a sum of our individual aspirations?
    Is there such a thing as an optimal size of human population that will allow us to evolve as species but would not put unbearable strain on this planet, our only home?
    These are the questions that need answers.

  224. Stephen says:

    By the way Louisa, just got a copy of a tissue of lies by WEN “excellent “.

  225. Joddle says:

    Hi All,

    This is one of my favourite blogs but I as I can’t get enough of zero waste reading etc. I’m looking for more sites to satisfy my cravings. Any chance readers of the site can start a thread about good eco blogs to read?

    I’m specifically looking for ones like Mrs G’s which don’t just rehash news found elsewhere.

    It can be hard to find blogs that are as interesting as this one to read. I’d be especially interested in reading ones from a UK perspective.

    Hope you can help!

  226. Mrs Green says:

    @Joddle: Hi Joddle; lovely idea. I’ll pop up a post and see what sites people share :)

  227. Stephen says:

    It seems to me ,all we need to do, to reduce some of this waste, and to stop polluting the environment, is to quell our insatiable appetite for procreation at any cost, because it’s totally unsustainable, “it may be to late even now” :

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/01/cult-of-consumerism-root-planets-environmental-degradation-destruction.php

    “Sorry to be so negative but that’s the way I see it”.

  228. Tracey says:

    @ Stephen – yes, at this point in time, it MAY be too late. But, if we don’t TRY – then it WILL be too late!

    All we can do is try our best and help to educate people who don’t know that they should be trying!

  229. Tracey says:

    Sorry – that’s educate in saving the planet, as well as in the use of birth control, the options available for that, etc.

  230. Stephen says:

    Tracy
    I think everyone on here is very aware of what the human species is doing to this planet, that is why I am assuming their have a intrest in zero waste, and are on this site, as it’s been said before, zero waste is just one facet of one much larger picture of the life we are inflicting on this earth, and I do think we have the tools at our disposal whether the mass population picks it up and runs with it, is a mater of conjecture, it’s just time is running out, I agree tracy we need more: EDUCATION  EDUCATION EDUCATION “sorry to sound so Pompous but the passion for this subject sometimes gets ahead of me”.

  231. Stephen says:

    Historic climate change deal with legal powers agreed by Cabinet
    http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/14/historic-climate-change-deal-agreed-chris-huhne?cat=environment&type=article
    Seems and government are finely seeing sense (green energy).

  232. Mrs Green says:

    @Stephen: You find some great article, Stephen; thanks for all the updates and links :)

  233. Stephen says:

    Another bit of info for the climate change optimist :
    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/overpopulation/index.html

  234. Stephen says:

    http://m.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/08/saudi-oil-reserves-overstated-wikileaks?cat=business&type=article
    WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

  235. Stephen says:

    http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/17-05-2011-fourth-carbon-budget-flawed-deal.html
    I really hope this is not goverment green washing, where the tax payer foots the bill, and industry gets away scot free? I Absolutely hope it all works out.

  236. Stephen says:

    It now seems that the C02 problem is even worse then Initially thought in 2004:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/05/110517-global-warming-scientist-concern/?
    source=link_tw20110517news-climate

    When the torrent of predictions about global warming got too depressing, there were Robert Socolow’s “wedges.”
    Socolow’s prescription for the climate problem today is :
    Scientists and advocates also should admit that minimal goals for greenhouse gas reductions are not enough, and the challenge to humanity now is to reduce emissions of the rich to the level of the poor—not to simply allow the poor to catch up.

  237. Stephen says:

    http://news.discovery.com/earth/humans-reshaping-earth-climate-110516.html
    Human may define a geological period in the way dinosaurs — and their vanishing act — helped mark the Jurassic.
    Dinosaurs were most likely wiped out by a giant meteor that cooled Earth’s temperatures below their threshold for survival.
    Humans, by contrast, have been the main architects of the enormous changes that are threatening to throw Earth out of whack.

  238. Mrs Green says:

    @Stephen: :D I think you fear I will sit idle in zero waste towers. Lots of catching up for me to do; thanks Stephen ;)

  239. Stephen says:

    Mrs g I don’t think that at all, I don’t no how you do it all, with the TV filming, and running the site, and posting most days at 4-15am? and running a famly etc etc, I myself dont go on the web like I used to, most times I’m working, and when I have a brake I may use the phone to get on sometimes, we all have a life out side cyberspace, don’t we. ha

  240. Stephen says:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/low-metal-recycling-threatens-green-economy-un-report-2290308.html
    UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that less than one third of about 60 metals studied are recycled to any significant degree.
    Too much metal is being thrown away when it could be recycled, wasting an opportunity to save energy and risking shortages in materials used for new green technologies, a UN report warned Thursday.
    But the report found virtually no recycling of metals such as Indium, which is used in semi-conductors and LEDs; tellurium and selenium, which are used in solar panels; and neodymium and dysprosium, used in wind turbines. 
    This alone doesn’t bode well with these  green technologies,some scientists are saying these green technologies have large carbon footprints in the mere fact of just making them, compared to the carbon reduction in use over in their lifetime now it seems that nobody is proposing to even recycle metals and materials even after end of use To help some of the carbon deficits in making these http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/low-metal-recycling-threatens-green-economy-un-report-2290308.html
    UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that less than one third of about 60 metals studied are recycled to any significant degree.
    Too much metal is being thrown away when it could be recycled, wasting an opportunity to save energy and risking shortages in materials used for new green technologies, a UN report warned Thursday.
    But the report found virtually no recycling of metals such as Indium, which is used in semi-conductors and LEDs; tellurium and selenium, which are used in solar panels; and neodymium and dysprosium, used in wind turbines. 
    This alone doesn’t bode well with these  green technologies,some scientists are saying these green technologies have large carbon footprints in the mere fact of just making them, compared to the carbon reduction in use over in their lifetime now it seems that nobody is proposing to even recycle metals and materials even after end of use To help some of the carbon deficits in making these, I  really hope this is not just not green marketing, so that the greed mongers can make even more money, because they may be making less money on the old technologies, and is not interested in the environment at all?Because we really have got to get cracking on the CO2 problem and there is a lot of people banking on this green technology to reduce CO2 and global warming. “My self included”.

  241. Stephen says:

    Sorry Something seems to have gone wrong with the last post but I’m shore you get the jist of it!

  242. Karen says:

    I planted peas that were sprouted from a packed of supermarket dried peas. I put them in compost filled toilet roll inners which were stood upright in a left over strawberry box. Yesterday I planted them on into the inner drum of my broken washing machine which was fill of compost. I put the toilet roll inners straight into the compost so I did not have to disturb the plants. You can’t see the drum in the garden as it is hidden between bushes. Hoping for a good crop of peas.
    I am now getting a large heavy sackful of coffee grounds to add to the garden every week. They come from the canteen of the company my husband works in.. I have now been doing it for nearly a year. The soil has improved massively and the slug population has decreased.

  243. Jane says:

    @Karen: @Karen: My sister has done this too. The idea not being to have peas but to have pea sprouts (although I expect she’ll end up with some peas). You will find pea sprouts in bought salads. They seem to be trendy at the moment. You just pick the very tops off and either eat them raw or cook them. They taste delicious. They are also very easy for children to grow – they don’t take ages for something to come up and be ready for tasting!

  244. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: That sounds fantastic Karen and something I’d not thought of doing. I did notice one pea had sprouted in the fridge the other day but I didn’t think to plant it – how brilliant. I hope you get a great crop too! Great that you are able to access all those coffee grounds too :)

    @Jane: Good to see you again Jane – I’ve not seen you for a while; hope all is well in your world :)

  245. Sonja says:

    Just came across the idea for using little washable cloths which get binned and washed daily for all the girls in the family-only for wees for obvious reasons…..what a rad idea and would save a lot of toilet paper! Has anyone tried it? Also, we are having a debate in our home about washing dishes-is it more green to wash dishes by hand or is it more green to use a dishwasher? I am a lazy dishwasher fiend and my hubby is a handwasher who does’nt mind tackling the leftover dishes in the sink which did not fit into the machine.
    Best Wishes
    Sonja
    Sintra, Portugal

  246. Nicki says:

    Hi, Does anyone have any experience good or bad of using food digesters (the type you can put meat, cooked food and bones in) My Dad seems to think it will attract vermin despite the adverts claiming they won’t. Here in Southampton we are currently well into a long term bin strike I’ve been managing to recycle most of our waste except this.
    Thank you :-)

  247. Janet says:

    @Nicki: Hi Nicki, I’ve not used a food digester-mainly because you seem to have to buy special “bran” to put in them on a regular basis- but I do have a worm bin which I use for any cooked food scraps (though I don’t usually eat meat but do put fish skins etc in). It’s sealed so no risk of vermin. Seems to work well. Janet

  248. John Costigane says:

    @Nicki: Nicki, Bokashi bins handle all types of awkward food waste items in a sealed container, which can be kept indoors. I have use one for a few years without any negative impact. There are a few strict rules eg, the lid must be securely sealed and liquid must be drawn off regularly, via a tap in the base, to allow the ‘pickling’ process to proceed. There are topics on bokashis elsewhere in myzerowaste for more details.

  249. Nicki says:

    @Nicki: Thank you Janet, I hadn’t considered a wormery for cooked food. Will make some more enquiries. Thank you again

  250. Nicki says:

    @John Costigane: Thank you John I hadnt appreciated the Bokashi bins could take meat/bones. Will do some more reading and may invest in one along with a Wormery as suggested by Janet. Thank you again.

  251. joddle says:

    I hope Mrs G starts posting again soon – I’ve got withdrawal symptoms!

  252. Poppy 2 says:

    Hi Mrs G.

    This video was sent to me by a colleague and I thought that you and many of your readers would appreciate it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PluXMBIXqP4&feature=youtu.be

    :)

  253. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy 2: It’s absolutely wonderful Poppy; thank you so much for sharing!

  254. Mrs Green says:

    @Louisa Radice: Hi Louisa, thanks for sharing the link. I can’t get it to open at the moment but will check it out again!

  255. Louisa Radice says:

    Inspiring initiative – but why not extend it to the whole of the London Borough of Camden?
    http://inmidtown.org/?q=node/19

  256. Jane says:

    @Louisa Radice: Office recycling. Not easy and this seems like a great idea. How do they deal with the food leftovers? I presume it must be more like the domestic collection except just for businesses. I’m not really keen on ‘Mixed Recycling’ – it doesn’t mean anything unless it is clearly defined as to what can be recycled.

  257. Poppy says:

    Mrs G & Co,

    I wonder if you have any suggestions about what I consider to be my guilty secret. The WHITE WASH! :(

    As a family of 3, we have very little white washing, but juniors school shirts really, really do need a hot wash or they just turn a horrible yellowy grey. I therefore end up with what is most likely a quarter of a drum including the towel from the downstairs loo and the tea towels, and maybe juniors bed sheets.

    I’ve tried handwashing the shirts, but it just doesn’t do the job.

    Poppy.

  258. Jane says:

    Poppy, I do not know what fabric the school shirts are made from, so cannot be sure that the shirts would cope with this. However, could you boil the shirts up in a saucepan with some washing powder? My mother used to do all the washing by hand in the kitchen sink. However, anything requiring a hot wash was boiled up in a saucepan, and was stirred about with a wooden stick kept specially for the purpose.

    Please someone correct me if I am wrong, but I would have thought that heating a saucepan of water (preferably with a lid on) would use less power than running a hot wash in the washing machine. You could rinse by hand with cold water afterwards.

  259. Poppy says:

    @Jane:

    Hi Jane,

    They are polo style shirts and 65/35 cotton polyester. I think a boil wash might kill them off completely. Label says . Machine Wash Only’ and has a 40 degree logo.

  260. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Poppy, there are times when we have to revert to a few toxic chemicals. Even though we use eco friendly cleaning products throughout zero waste towers, we do still have a bottle of bleach for emergencies; sometimes (thankfully rarely) nothing else will do. The bottle lasts us about a year.

    With the white wash perhaps you just need to buy a box of powder that has optical whiteners in it and use it occasionally when things start to look grubby – could this work or are you already doing that?

    If you’re already using something such as Persil or Ariel and it hasn’t worked then you could try using hydrogen peroxide – add 1/2 cup of 3% H202 to the rinse cycle of your machine but don’t use it if you’re using conventional detergents (you don’t want to be mixing chemicals), What you could use is either 1/2 cup of borax or soda crystals as your detergent – both of which have whitening effects.

    After the wash then hang everything out in the sunshine and even leave out there for a couple of days to make the most of the natural bleaching effects of the sun. Not easy this time of year I know… HTH.

  261. Louisa Radice says:

    For all of you who have asked “how can I recycle this?”
    http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/

  262. I was using my food processor at the weekend when the spindle that holds everything together snapped. I contacted the manufacturers who said they no longer make that model, so they couldn’t replace the spindle. I can still use the blender, but really want to continue to use the food processor part and am very frustrated. I can try glue, but I’m not optimistic it’ll work for long. Anyone found a good solution to this (NB. It’s a Breville FP21 if that helps)?

  263. Jane says:

    @Miriam Adcock: You can request things on some websites as well as sell/give away – eg Ebay and Gumtree and Freecycle/Freegle. You may find someone with one that has something else broken on it. Espares is a good online spares company I have used a lot. I’m sure there are others. http://www.local.which.co.uk is a website where you can find local traders and might find someone who mends electrical items near you. Have you any local online forums where you might find recommendations of local menders of electrical things? If you find someone local spread the word locally!

  264. sally says:

    Does anyone know if Tesco’s will replace their hessian carrier bags as mine has got a tear in the side so cannot be used for heavy goods ?

  265. bee says:

    i’ve heard that carpet has many chemicals in it that stays in the carpet for along time, and when placed in the garden with watering/rain run off these chemicals go into the soil and the plants particularly veges. does anyone know anything about this?

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