Welcome to the final day of zero waste week

Filed in Blog by on September 7, 2008 9 Comments
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self-portrait in a bag by Fran Crowe
Welcome to the final day of zero waste week, and what a week it has been. So far we’ve got nothing for landfill, despite a few near misses.

Last night I ran out of a reel of sellotape and was left with a plastic inner. Little Miss Green said she would reuse it for her fairies, but my conscience kicked in and I wasn’t sure if that we genuine reuse or whether it was, in fact, a landfill item. How could I bring myself to deceive my favourite readers?

So we opened up a poll which you’ll find on this page. It will remain until we go to bed this evening to give YOU the vote. Is the sellotape inner a landfill item or not?

But in true action packed fly-on-the-wall documentary style, as I was tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep in the knowledge that your vote would seal our fate, Mrs A doned her hotpants and high heeled boots and with a twirl in a phonebox and a slick of lipgloss, came to our rescue at the eleventh hour with an innovative solution to our dilemma.

She flew in our face with news of fly in the face. Fly in the face belongs to artist Fran Crowe. For her latest project, Fran is asking Mrs A to donate her rubbish and Mrs A has explained that she would be honoured to include our sellotape inner and give it a loving, creative and artistic home. What could be better than to turn our trash into another’s art to help spread our message further?

We’re happy to support this, so it will be packed up in reused packaging and sent on its merry way across the wet lands to St Edmonsbury first thing tomorrow. Let’s hope it doesn’t get in a flood on the way, or perhaps it might end up as a life ring for a small fish.

Talking of such things, do take a look at Fran’s work, my favourite is her ‘Food Parcels‘ project. It’s a stark reminder of why we are trying to keep things out of the landfill and making more conscious purchases. The picture at the top of this post is her “self portrait from two carrier bags” which is the contents of two carrier bags worth of mad man made debris she collected from a walk along the beach one day. Think of that next time you put something in the bin or ‘throw it away.

Where is away? Well, perhaps as Fran has found; it’s at a beach near you…………..

Today Mr Green wants a big celebratory Sunday lunch to reward us for all our hard efforts. Last night as we fell into bed he said ‘well this week’s been really easy for me, no problem at all.’ You can tell he’s the laid back type can’t you?

Meanwhile I’ve been on tenterhooks all week with planning meals, making sure we don’t run out of things which means a dash to the shops in a frenzy to find something suitable, pacing up and down every time something has come through the post, bandaging poorly fingers with old nightdresses and holding my breath when Little Miss green has been out with friends in case she brings a crisp packet or biscuit wrapper home.

I guess that’s why we make a good team. I worry and get myself stressed out and he soothes my ruffled feathers with a good pep talk every now and then.

Mr Green found something in the Co-Op this week which will show the busy person how to produce a stress free and waste free roast dinner. More on that later. Convenience is the name of the game for most and I think we’ll be able to show you how to put on a showcase dinner that is straight forward and zero waste.

Little Miss Green is stiring, so I’m off to make breakfast. Have a lovely Sunday everyone xxx


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 (9)

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  1. Kris says:

    I’m on tenterhooks now for what this is from the Co-op…

    Well done for all your focus and effort this week, you’ve been really inspirational, and I think the three of you are indeed a great team with LMG also fully on board and very committed.

    I’m definitely interested in what comes next – how far along the path is your natural resting place. I suspect it may be quite close to continuing to attempt zero waste now as you’ve got such good habits and have found some great solutions. I was just reading Mr G’s post about living in C21 and sometimes of course that does intrude even with the best intentions so you’ve got to strike a balance. (Sorry, trying to write a quite thoughtful post at what feels like early o’clock this morning, I’m aware I’m not entirely getting my sense across!)

  2. Hi Mrs Green,

    Zero Waste Week is a testing period, but it demonstrates to all others the mindset required to challenge the current throwaway system. The truth is total Zero is impossible over a long period. Waste minimisation is good enough for day-to-day living.

    As we all find alternatives for waste items, avoidance or special use (Mrs A’s excellent example), the problem will diminish with time. Communicating, to others, new options is a valuable contribution.

  3. Hooray, Fran will be so happy to include a piece of your trash. I can’t wait to see what her work is, but one thing’s for sure, you can now rest up with not long to go, happy in the knowledge that anything else you’ve got languishing for landfill can be posted up to me too. Bet it won’t be anything else though.

    It’s remarkable timing. Tomorrow marks the 6 month anniversary of the start of my Zero Waste Week back in March. Your fabulous work this week has brought back the memories of what it was like back then. It’s the most amazing challenge isn’t it…and if anyone is holding back on giving it a go, my advice is just have the gumption to do it. It doesn’t matter if you think you might fail, because it’s not about failing it’s all about learning and trying new things that can fit into your own lifestyle, in your own time. And what works for one person may not work for the other. We are all different.

    As John said, it’s the waste minimisation that’s important and I have every faith that this is how life’s going to be around your way from now on…

    Anyway, great going guys. I can’t wait to look in later. 😀 x

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you Kris,
    LMG has been a real star – yes she’s bought things to me in a shop, but there has been no argument when I’ve said no.

    We’re treating this week as a ‘first step’ rather than a one-off week. I think we’re going to take a leaf from John’s book and admit that waste minimisation is a realistic goal rather than long term zero waste. All the while things are changing; for example Maisie’s comment yesterday about Sainsburys switching their packaging to LDPE over the next couple of years. So we hope that as packaging and facilities improve, our waste will decrease even more.

    The next step is to start writing to manufacturers and getting our voice heard. Tracey’s ‘armchair activist’ campaign is a great starting point for this.

    John, we agree that we have to get back to the root cause as well, which is the disposable society we now live in. Some of us are questioning the wisdom of this and making changes. And it’s shown from our pledge and win that others are exploring this idea too. With people joining in with campaigns like The Compact, Buy nothing day, plastic free living, it’s clear there is a swathe of interest and momentum is gathering in this idea of modern convenience and consumerism.

    The timing is awesome, Mrs A. Just 6 short months ago for you and 3 for us. It’s quite unbelievable. It must be unreal for you to be in the position of ‘Mrs average’ one moment and writing a book and appearing on radio and WRAP conferences now – that’s quite a lifestyle turnaround!
    I would urge other people to try it too and I know Maisie was onboard with this idea from her pledges. She has done brilliantly, with only the minimal of stuff in her bin – a couple of crisp packets if my memory serves me…….

    Maybe it’s time for you to challenge someone new with a bin audit?

  5. Poppy says:

    I noticed that your favourite rice currently has a flash on the pack which I believe stated that new packaging is coming shortly, so you may be able to go back to it with a clear conscience 🙂

  6. russell says:

    Hey guys WELL DONE!

  7. It’s really amazing isn’t it and a bizarre set of circumstances.

    Now that you guys have safely landed in one piece and have shown the world what can be done, if anyone else does want to rise to the challenge and would like me to rummage in their bins and hold their hands I’d be glad to do so. I just need a volunteer and if they live in a flat, have no garden and feel that they could never ever do it, even better! ;-D x

  8. maisie says:

    Mrs Green, a little more than a couple but a big decrease on what we were putting in the bin only 3 weeks ago.

    It has gone from
    1.3kg on 25 Aug to
    743g on 1 Sept to
    325g on 8 Sept

    now what can we achieve next week.

    And this is without buying special items or not buying things I would usually buy just looking at the “waste” more appropriately before throwing it in the bin; a big help was the phonecall to the County Council who told me which plastics I can take to my HRF (household Recycling Facility).

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Poppy,
    We did indeed hear mutterings from Tilda ourselves in an email, but as far as I am aware it’s just going to be a different look rather than a different material.

    Thank you Russell – good to see you popping in 🙂

    Hi Mrs A – I hope you get someone else; it would be great to watch someone else slim their bin.

    Maisie – that’s truly brilliant; well done you 🙂 You’ve achieved a lot in three weeks. As you say, initially, it’s just about sorting ‘rubbish’ more carefully and this can have a huge impact on landfill waste. I’m so pleased for you!

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