Monthly challenge for August

Filed in Blog by on August 1, 2008 18 Comments
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August\'s monthly challenge
It’s August already, and time for a new zero waste challenge. During June, we asked you to simply become aware of what you could recycle where. By now you should know what is collected from the kerbside, what facilities are available at your nearest household recycle centre and where your local recycling banks are.

During July, we asked you to set up a recycling system at home. In order for you to be able to recycle effectively, you need adequate storage and different containers and boxes that work for you as a household.

During August, I want you to take a look at your schedule for the month. Look at your work commitments, errands, gym visits, visits to friends and families and anything else you are doing.

Is there an errand, appointment or visit you are doing that takes you near a recycling centre or bank?

If so, mark this in your diary, on your blackberry or wherever it is you take care of your appointments and make a commitment to yourself. The next time you are going past a recycling centre, you will leave your home ten minutes earlier and take some items to recycle with you.

You might be fortunate enough to have most things collected from the kerbside, in which case you might only need to take, say cardboard, just once every two months.

You might have very few kerbside collections, so perhaps a weekly visit to the recycling centre on your way home from work, on the way to the supermarket or in between gym and picking up the kids would be a suitable time.

It’s counter productive to make a special journey just for recycling unless you have a full car load. All this does is use up your time and emit emissions into the atmosphere. Trying to incorporate a recycling centre visit into your regular routine is better for two reasons: firstly it doesn’t involve extra wear and tear on your vehicle or excess fuel and secondly, if you incorporate it with your routine, you’re more likely to get this habit in place quicker, which means you will succeed and this in turn leads to motivation to do more!

To find your nearest recycling centre visit Recycle Now. You can also find out about recycling tetrapaks on the Tetrapak site.

What about you – do you already have a schedule in place for recycling that works, or do you just take things as and when you think about it?

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 (18)

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  1. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    Reading Borough Council isn’t doing too badly in providing decent kerbside and drop-off recycling facilities. It’s a bit of a slog to the drive-through recycling centre but there are loads of banks, often at playgrounds and swimming pools.

    Plastics are the main problem, as always. We don’t have much any more. I rarely even recycle glass, most of it gets reused by me or by other people. Our main recycling now is tetrapacks and plain paper and card, largely from junk mail.

    Food waste is the biggest deal. Bah.

  2. We are blessed to have curbside pickup for all recyclables…and as of a month or two ago, we don’t even have to separate paper from the rest!

  3. Mrs Green says:

    It sounds like you are doing really well with producing little waste, Alibhe. What is your main source of food waste?

    Kristen; it’s amazing how different areas in the world and even in the same country are for recycling…..

  4. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    My main source of food waste is toddlers. A four-year-old and a two-year-old aren’t always predictable, so there are leftovers, and those aren’t always in a fit state to re-use. A close second would be teabags, I think; Rob is very much a one-bag-per-cup person. We’re working on saving raw veg waste for stock but it’s a new idea to us – ziploc bag in freezer. Fruit peels are bulky, too. Raw veg waste – mainly potato peelings and fruit peel, I think. We eat most parts of most veg, stalks and so on. There aren’t many apples at this time of year so no cores.

    I’ve ordered some bokashi mix today, having finally realised I don’t need to use the huge bin they sell for it, I can use my small-footprint tubs just as I do now. I’m also going to try to rescue my wormery, which is in dire straits, with a moisture mat and some somethingorother earth, sold by Wiggly Wigglers.

    Yes, coffee stores better in bean form. The Workhouse Coffee Shop grinds the beans on a per-cup basis so I can buy fresh-ground coffee there whenever. They have paper bags or I can bring my own.

  5. Mr Green says:

    Hi Ailbhe, It seems like you are already making good progress with low food waste. I guess we all have to bite the bullet and accepts that children are not little robots that we can predict. They are just learning and we must give them love and time to understand themselves and the world they are in. Most important is not to give them negative messages about food as this can make a serious impact in later life. The good news is this is only a short phase and they soon learn to adapt to your values and standards.

    I am envious about your coffee shop though … I remember these coffee grinders as a child, I could smell the roasting beans all the way down the high street. It was a a source of facination to see the the milling machine in the shop window and see the whole process in action. I am suprised these places have gone out of fashion, despite modern packaging, you can’t beat fresh ground coffee in a paper bag!

  6. Mr Green says:

    >>Kristen …

    We are blessed to have curbside pickup for all recyclables…and as of a month or two ago, we don’t even have to separate paper from the rest!

    You are very fortunate with this. It demonstrates how different states, regions and countries recycling policies vary. Even here in the UK we see huge differences in levels of facilities. I guess that ‘zero waste village in Kamikatsu’ takes the star prize tho.

  7. Kris says:

    Ailbhe’s comment about teabags just made me smile… my husband is very much a not-too-strong! person and we have a teabag caddie by the kettle ready for his teabags to be used twice or three times for the perfect cuppa! I hadn’t thought of this being quite green but it probably does cut down our footprint a little.

    Of course we’re just amateurs compared to my aunt who is more a cup-of-milk-and-water-with-the-bag-just-dipped-in person – I think her one teabag does a whole day.

    I’m more a a beverage butterfly and drink herbal tea (one use but could definitely look at that), coffee, decaff, juice with hot water and many other things. I feel though that I’ll pledge to give up the Options sachets which come in plastic tubes. I think Cocoadirect can be had in paper sachets instead if I source it from Traidcraft and get myself organised as it gets colder.

  8. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    I make a pot of tea and put it in a flask – no milk. One teabag used fresh makes more cups of drinkable tea than if it’s allowed to cool and then re-used.

    What I hate is two mugs, two identical teabags, both binned afterwards. We don’t even buy one-cup bags. One bag makes a pot for three mugs or five cups of tea which I am happy to serve to guests, or about six mugs for me and my mother, both of whom really prefer weak, golden tea.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Does anyone grow and use their own herbs for herbal infusions? Little Miss Green loves to choose her own herbs from our garden for drinks – sage, mint, thyme all get her vote.

    She keeps picking me rosehips too, but I don’t know how to use them, so I buy rosehip tea bags. If anyone has any insight, I look forward to hearing it.

    Unfortunately, some brands of herbal tea bags have tiny staples in them that are a pain to get rid of….

  10. Poppy says:

    I hate that so many of them contain sweeteners!

    I posted the following last night, but maybe it didn’t like me putting a link in 🙁

    So without a link –

    To make tea with whole rosehips, you’ll need around 5 of them per cup of water (or 2 teaspoons, if you are using pieces). If you are using the whole hips, make sure to steep for at least 10 minutes.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Poppy,
    Hmmm, I didn’t capture your message anywhere, perhaps it has been spammed – I’ll take a look in a moment.

    Thank you for the recipe – it looks easy enough!

  12. We have a good recycling kerbside collection; garden waste and cans, plastics, paper etc one week, then household rubbish the next.

    We have a compost bin for compostables – i.e fruit, vegetables, cardboard, coffee grindings, teabags etc.

    Our chickens also eat any green veg waste.

    I think our dog eats the rest!

    We try not to buy too much plastic but it is hard. We get an organic box delivery every week for fruit and veg.

    The compost bin is fab though – allsorts gets whizzed in there to minimize landfill.

    We do a trailer-full of recycleable stuff to the tip every 6 months or so – the stuff that is too big for the council to remove, and the rest will hopefully get Freecycled.

    We also won’t accept plastic carrier bags – there have been shopping trips where we have forgotten the hessian bags and I have taken a put all of the shopping in the boot – loose, as I didn’t want to use plastic bags!!!

  13. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Claire,
    Your kerbside collections sound really good. And dogs and chickens are great for scraps and leftovers!
    Going without plastic is one of the most difficult things, as we have found. We are invariably left with SOME plastic every week. And yes, we’ve had loose fruit and veg rolling around in the back of the car too! All of these ‘inconveniences’ help to remind us next time though, eh?! 😉

  14. Marie Phillips says:

    I’ve only just found your site (through Clare’s veggie box) and it’s so good to find other people who are passionate about recycling. I’m not very “up” with computers either so it was a matter more of luck than management that I got to your comments pages (if that’s what they call them!)

    I come from an age when nothing was thrown away without careful thought, so have a big cupboard full of glass jars, some of which will be used for jam and chutney-making. Plastic is my bugbear (I’m not alone I know), some manufacturer is going to have to take the bull by the horns for that one. The matter of teabags: they will go on the compost heap, but no-one has mentioned loose tea. You can either make a potful or just one cup: it is cheaper this way and the leaves go on the compost – or houseplants if there’s no garden. Nice to talk to you.

  15. Mrs Green says:

    Hi marie,

    Great to see you here; Clare’s site is wonderful. She is so passionate about her subject and deserves to be supported in her mission. You’ve done brilliantly to get your comment online; it wasn’t that hard was it?! And you’ve got a picture of your gorgeous cat on the screen too – he’s very cute!

    You’re right about the tea, and I wonder if the art of a pot of loose tea is a dying one. But it’s certainly better for the environment to buy loose tea leaves (and perfect because you can make the tea to the exact strength you like 😉 )

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment; you’re welcome any time!

  16. Emma Thompson says:

    Hello Green Guys,

    I am glad I found you…I’ve signed up and will try my best to reduce my waste.

    In Bristol we have quite a good ‘recycle’ system from the council…we even have a bin for food – so anything that can’t go on the compost heap goes in there.

    And of course they only collect the rubbish fortnightly so reducing the amount we produce can only be good news.

  17. Mr Green says:

    Hi Emma, thanks for stopping by on our site and leaving a comment. Living in Bristol puts you in a good position for recycling especially as you can recycle food also. Can you recycle mixed plastics too? It’s amazing how varied different councils treat the waste and recycling issue.

    Mixed plastics is our biggest challenge here in Gloucestershire, so we have to make very careful decissions what we buy.

    Good luck with your recycling and let us know any way we can help you out or point you some good advice, we have some good resources here.

    We are just about to engage in our zero waste week so we’ll post daily about our tips and experiences.

  18. Mr Green says:

    Hello Marie Phillips.

    I come from an age when nothing was thrown away without careful thought

    Sounds like you may have a lot to teach this generation! I think we see ‘Frugality’ as a dirty word, but really, it’s the key to much of what we talk about here. Nothing is rubbish and everything is a resource to be used creatively again.

    Any tips and tricks you have are welcome here. Thanks for your comment Marie.

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