Weekly weigh in number nine

Filed in Blog by on August 6, 2008 23 Comments
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weekly weigh in number nine
Waheee! We’re celebrating in true zero waste style fashion here at Chez Green with our ninth weekly weigh in.

With only three weeks to go to wean ourselves off the hard plastics and packaging of 21st century life, we’re having to work hard now to slim our bin.

As I mused last week, that last bit of a weight loss diet is always the hardest part. The grams are no longer slipping off, but hanging on for grim life as we try and oust them from our life.

This week I’ve used up a few odd bags of things lurking in the cupboards. You know how it is; instead of completely emptying a bag or box of something, you just open up a new one and leave the old stuff on the back of the shelf to do as it wishes and feed the weevils (please tell me you do, or am I a total loser at housekeeping?!).
So there are 4 bags of rice in the bin this week; all of which had about an ounce of rice and a couple of ounces of dust in each (and a few weevils, but it’s ok, they cook down nicely and add a little protein).

I also gave into a shop bought pasta salad for Little Miss Green this week. When I got it home I realised to my horror it came with a disposable plastic fork. Mr Green looked at me as if I had committed a cardinal sin with a stern ‘You know I don’t support you in this decision, don’t you?’ But believe me, the name ‘Little Miss Green’ is not exactly a truthful one, when our beloved child would not touch anything green on her plate for many a year.

So, if we’re out and she asks for something with very green lettuce and astonishingly cucumber in it, it’s going to get a hearty yay from my Mothering instincts; which basically, wants to keep her thriving and healthy with good food and green things.

I bought it her with her solemn promise that she would not waste any (the bloomin’ thing cost £2) and an agreement, signed on the dotted line that what she didn’t eat for lunch would be given her back for tea.

Two days and four meals later (always true to my word, me) the contract was duly completed. I guess it was value for money after all as it was so filling for her……….

I also had a bit of a moral dilemma with a disposable razor blade. As au natrelle as I am, I’m not ready to embrace my inner hairy Amazon woman just yet (nothing wrong with these lovely ladies and I admire women who do, but it’s just not for me). I buy the razors where you keep the handle and replace the blade, and, to be honest I’m not exactly obsessive compulsive about the ‘hair free’ lark, but I probably get through half a dozen blades a year.

What’s a girl to do? Electric razors are crap, to say the least, waxing leaves those horrible sticky strips to dispose of, depilatory creams kill you with their noxious scent and kill the environment with toxins that get washed into the water supply and then you’re left to get rid of aluminium and plastic lined tubes anyway and I am not paying out money to visit a salon to give someone else the pleasure of inflicting pain on me.

Home sugaring with reusable strips? I don’t think so. I’m a hassle free gal when it comes to my beauty routine.

In my defence I don’t buy a special foaming product, I use a bit of shampoo or conditioner or even aloe vera gel straight from the plant herself, so I’m minimalist and I think I’m just going to live with that for now. Compared to most women, who reportedly, use about 20 products a day, I think I can hold my non coloured, non treated, hardly ever really brushed hair head high on that respect.

We also had three crisp bags, but they were bought by a visiting friend and her two children. They come along with a packed lunch for all the children to share. What do you do in that situation? To be honest I didn’t think about it at the time, but Little Miss Green said ‘couldn’t you have asked her to take them home with her?’ I thought about it and actually I could. We’re really good friends and I know she will understand. She’d rib me about it for the next years worth of visits, but what are friends for?

It also got me thinking about zero waste week. I’m wondering just how far my courage will go with putting aside ‘British etiquette’ about anything bought into our home. Certain friends you can be forthright with and turn things into a bit of a joke. Others, you just can’t do that.

“Geesh, thanks for bringing lunch, but you’ve bought a whole load of rubbish too, would you mind taking it home with you? Here, I’ll just take a photo of it so that I can plaster it over my blog and then put it in this jute reusable bag and you can return the bag to me next time we meet up. In fact, why don’t you keep the bag and start using it yourself. Did you know that supermarkets in the UK give out 17½ billion plastic carrier bags per year………………..”

It’s not exactly great in some company is it?

Oh, oh, oh……..and there is something potentially very exciting coming up for us. Mr Green has been ‘having conversations’ with a company in Swindon who recycle many types of plastic and it looks like I might have somewhere to send my yogurt pots. How cool is that?!

Ok, it doesn’t get to the root of the zero waste problem, but it removes some of my guilt and my panic about zero waste week and gives me time to gradually get used to the taste of home made yogurt so that I don’t have to stride widely outside of my comfort zone kicking and screaming as I go. Or worse still, find out that I have lost a stone at our next weekly weigh in.

Anyway, back to the contents of our bin. Tottering up to the scales in a pair of bargain second hand Gucci stilettos from eBay we have:

2 yogurt pots with lids (I’ve been using a lot of them for storing things this week so there aren’t as many)
4 rice bags hiding in the back of the cupboard
cream cheese pot and lid
a piece of foil that had chicken fat on it
1 straw
pasta salad box
3 crisp packets
date packet
lentils bag
2 salad bags
1 disposable razor head and packaging
1 cereal bar wrapper.

We have skipped joyfully into WELTERWEIGHT status with just 141 grams of waste this week.

How proud are we? happy dance at chez green

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 (23)

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  1. Denise says:

    WOW … go The Greens

  2. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    I reuse all the disposable cutlery we get when out – also the spoons that come with medicines. Most of them seem to survive even the dishwasher ok.

    How do you stop targeted / direct mail type catalogues which come in plastic wrap? They drive me bonkers.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you Denise!

    Ailbhe, if you are happy to post at your own expense, then there is a company in the UK who will happily take this packaging from you. You can read about it on our Recycle plastic polythene page.

    Alternatively, SOME supermarkets will take it in the same recycling bins that they collect old carrier bags; but you will need to check with each individual store.

    I’ll be posting our full, overflowing box of polythene packaging to Poly Print Mail this week. I’ve never done it before, so will let you know how successful it is 🙂

  4. russell says:

    Well done you guys. I have been thinking about razors as well. I use homemade shaving oil but have a really thick beard and have to shave everyday. Occasionally I toy with the the older fashioned razors that use traditional razor blades but then I just picture myself cut to shreds! One day I might be brave and give it a go….

  5. Ailbhe Leamy says:

    Ooh, no minimum quantity! That’s useful.

  6. Hi Mrs Green,

    Good to see you have a new recycling opportunity for the yoghurt pots. I am collecting polythene too but with the Glasgow Fair holiday postal service being so slow, I will post later.
    Actual Zero Waste is very difficult. My bugbear is commodity bags and alternative might arise from the September pledges. Friends and family, like with me, are further behind in Zero Waste, but I find they at least see merit in it.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you Russell. Well I’m pleased report I don’t have a thick beard that needs daily maintenance 😀 I think I am far too scared to use a traditional blade though. There are a few companies that sell solar powered shavers for men; I don’t know how effective they would be………….

    What are commodity bags, John? I’ve heard you refer to them twice and I’m not sure what you mean.

  8. Hi Mrs Green,

    Chris’s latest blog entry is about bin waste. I have given a Zero Food Waste post and this is an ideal topic for all Zero Waste enthusiasts.

    Commodity bags are for the basic foodstuffs which you cannot avoid eg salt, dried fruit etc. Finding countrywide non-plastic alternatives is part of the September pledge. Such an alternative would reduce waste.

    Razors are a problem for me as well. The old alternative is a steel shaver with a razor blade held in situ. Probably a museum piece but worth a search. Shaving soap is another part of it. This worked by rubbing on the face for a lather.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks for the alert, John. I went over there, posted my comment and realised I just said in a much less eloquent way all that you had already said!
    Ah well, to hear it twice is no bad thing.

    Thanks for the explanation of commodity bags 🙂

  10. Hi Mrs Green,

    You post was an excellent addition and I mentioned Mrs Average as well. When she returns the 2 of you can contribute and I will join in. If the 3 of us contribute and encourage others apart from Chris, there could be a bigger response compared to a single contributor. What is your view of that?

  11. Good job!!! My trash has been less recently(especially since I potty trained my youngest!), but I’m nowhere near your status.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    John, I’m a firm believer in telling the same story from many angles. Each one of our thoughts is a seed and it may fall on barren land or fertile soil; all we need to do is keep planting them and where it lands is out of our hands.
    It will be great when Mrs A is back to add her contribution, especially as she has a bit of ‘celebrity status’ with her recent Radio 4 work.

    Thank you Kristen and well done on your recent bin slimming. Potty training much be a huge relief to your weekly waste.

  13. Hi Mrs Green,

    You are right. The best we can do is support Chris in the trend of the blog. Readers may follow-up posts and join-in here and with Mrs Average.
    On BBC Breakfast, Chris showed viewers the wooden toothbrush alternative. I use one after Mrs A. introduced this German type several weeks ago. Hopefully, more people will buy them. This may be the best contribution Chris makes towards Zero Waste, showing viewers, and us, green options for many items eg toothpaste, food bags.
    Today’s blog entry is about nappies. There have been fewer comments and even some male efforts which offer little towards the discussion. I am staying well clear.


  14. Mrs Green says:

    That’s good to see the wooden toothbrush being mentioned on national TV. Is she doing a regular daily slot? (we don’t have a TV, so I’m a bit out of the loop on this!)

    I’ve just bought Chris’s attention to compostable nappies. Not ideal, but they might just help with bridging from disposable to washable nappies.
    I think she said her son was 18 months, so potty training might start soon anyway…………

    I think she will get heaps of comments from washable advocates by the end of the day with lots of advice from other users.

  15. Hi again,

    Chris has been on TV occasionally and it was maybe to reinforce her intentions since many comments are not directly relevant. Guys argued about incineration and 1 package industry type wrote a lengthy harangue against anti-package comments. Others complained about her use of plastic in everyday items, light switches and many more examples. The conditions set related to new purchases only. I feel that following her idea closely is the best way. What do you think of the many varied posts?


  16. Mrs Green says:

    G’morning John. I’m glad Chris had the opportunity to reinforce her intentions on TV.
    I think it’s great that her blog has generated so much activity, but am somewhat disheartened by some of the deliberately antagonistic or ‘clever’ comments.

    It seems a lot of people are trying to ‘catch her out’ without really understanding what she is doing or why she is doing it and I just find that sad and a waste of time.

    But there we are; if we go public with an idea on the internet that moves people from their comfort zone, you need to be open to comment on that.

  17. Hi Mrs Green,

    Good morning. I hope the whole family is enjoying some summer sunshine. It’s fine here today, at least for now.
    As you say, open discussion is part of the ‘net. Any newcomer will find the full range of opinions. That has to be a good thing.
    Change can be difficult, even for enthusiasts like us. The toothbrush example could be 1 among thousands of sustainable items required. The old-fashioned home razor, like current types, but all-metal, is another example. It is possibly a museum piece.
    Mrs Average’s holiday posts have been entertaining. There is no holiday from Zero Waste, just a fresh perspective.


  18. Mrs Green says:

    How are you finding the wooden toothbrush – is it effective? And what are the bristles made from? I hope it isn’t nylon!

    I’ve seen ‘twigs’; I can’t remember where now. But I know that people in some countries brush their teeth with neem twigs.

    The scenery in Switzerland looks beautiful, following Mrs A’s posts.

  19. Hi Mrs Green,

    The wooden toothbrush is ace. Being made of wood drying is important. The bristles come from a pig’s bristles (sterilised animal byproduct), and do a fine job just like nylon, only Zero Waste since they are compostable. This seemingly was an old-fashioned design, before plastic.
    The problem with the plastic toothbrush and the plastic wrapping is the landfill contribution. This wooden toothbrush reduces that to a minimum with a small cover of the bristles when purchased.
    I like its mainstream potential.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    Glad to hear the toothbrush is working out for you.

    Pigs bristles is interesting! My hair brush is made from these too (well it’s boar) and it’s fabulous. Plastic handle though 🙁 But it’s built to last and I feel sure it will outlive me.

    But we do have wooden combs, which I bought years ago because LMG’s hair gets very static and knotty. So that’s good.

  21. Hi Mrs Green,

    Pig bristles seem to be very useful and wooden combs are another fine example.
    I read your post to Chris and I am sure she appreciates the moral support when many comments are less positive. I was in conversation with several plastic enthusiasts and feel other readers will have learned more about Zero Waste.
    Next week, our threesome will be able to put the message across in a knowledgable way.

  22. Sue says:

    Well done Rae!!
    Razors … I use a battery powered razor, no it’s not very good, but it does a good enough job for me. I use rechargable batteries. Sorry if this is tmi, but I only shave my legs if I am showing them off (i.e. wearing a skirt) or during the summer. I find that the less you shave, the less you need to shave. I remember years ago I shaved everyday! But now it’s no more than about once a week. Underarms get done all year round, again probably once a week!!
    I was asked by dd this week if she was allowed to start shaving her legs! She has very fine hair on her legs, I know there is a lot of peer pressure with teenagers, but I feel if she can put it off, it will be better in the long run. She also has very dry (eczema) skin, so shaving would make her legs drier than they already are.
    On the yoghurt pot issue, sorry I havent been around for a while, but I was wondering how you are getting on with the home made yoghurt? I bought a lovely wide topped 750ml thermos stainless steel flask last weekend for my yoghurt making, it is so much more convenient than the old plastic narrow necked flask that I was using, and so easy to clean. I have a collection of 3 yoghurt pots, when one is emptied it is washed out and the next lot of yoghurt started in the flask.

  23. Mrs Green says:

    Hello Sue,
    Good to see you again. Good luck with trying to persuade your dd not to give into peer pressure yet! That’s always a tough one.

    Oh the home made yogurt – don’t ask. I just had a Suma order and ordered 18 pots of lovely ready made stuff 😉 It sounds like you are doing really well over there. I have a wide necked flask to try too.

    One day……………

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