Something we do NOT miss about our zero waste lifestyle!

Filed in Blog by on January 2, 2009 11 Comments
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up at 7:30 to put out the rubbishWe had an interesting experience this week. We put our bin out! This was the first time in around six months.

The trouble is, you forget about the things you used to do as habit. I was lying in bed on Tuesday evening in that lovely place between sleep and wakefulness when Mr Green suddenly said “Oh no, I forgot to put the bin out!” That was enough to shock me in to semi consciousness. That meant we had to SET THE ALARM and make sure we were up by 7:30 to drag our buxom bin to the kerbside.

Needless to say we didn’t end up with a good nights sleep. I’m sure we both secretly dreamt about Biffa coming along early and missing our house.

We got up early and boy was it cold. Minus 3 to be exact! The cat soon told us that it had dropped to minus 6 in the night and now we had to brave the outdoors to go and grab our metal, metal dustbin before the bin men arrived. Metal handles in the palm of your hands at -3 is no laughing matter.

Naturally, we wanted a pic to celebrate this momentous occasion, but the bin men were more interested in running to keep warm and getting the round finished before a drunken rendition of Auld Lang Syne – who could blame them, it was New Years Eve, after all.

rubbish being taken away

We told the guy who gathered up our trusty bin that this was the first time we’d put it out for six months, but I think he thought we were as drunk as the masses will be at midnight. He just looked at us like we had lost the plot or were pulling his proverbials.

Looking up and down the road we saw sights such as this:

neighbour\'s rubbish

and as the contents of the last 6 months of our non-recyclable stuff was tipped into the lorry, I felt a kind of lump in my throat – surprisingly it was an incredibly emotional moment for me. I started to think of my ‘past life’ and of my wasteful lifestyle before ‘waking up’.
Then my thoughts turned to the future and what we can expect. Incinerators? More stuff being shipped abroad? or lots more people taking responsibility for their rubbish and big positive changes ahead. Who knows what this year will have in store for us?
our rubbish is in there somewhere!all gone! six month\'s rubbish

What it proved to me, however, was how much hassle and stress we have cut from our lives! Sure, taking your own bags and containers to the shops takes a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn’t swap it for having to put out our bin every week. Not on your nelly! The whole energy of our household changed this morning; we were snappy with one another because we needed to get things sorted, I was trying to write down this week’s weigh in whilst Mr Green was champing at the bit to get it all to the kerbside, we had to set the alarm to get up (and I pretty much resented having to do that just to dump a load of rubbish) and then we had to put on warm layers to get out there and do the deed.

I’d rather stick a reuseable bag and container in my pocket and sort all my recycling from the warmth of me own home and prevent all this faffing about in the first place, wouldn’t you?

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 (11)

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  1. Greenlady says:

    Hehe, your post did make me chuckle, in a good way ! its commendable in a way to be that unprepared for the binhandling 😉

    Yes, hopefully people will take more responsibility for their own rubbish in future. I try to with mine but it’s an odd situation as my rubbish is partly my own and partly work related, so my range of control varies. Also I am responsible for trying to battle with the communal recycling for the ( small ) block I manage, which is mostly older people. I did manage to get them to give us a paper recycling bin, now to fight on for a glas and tin one also.

    The comment about incinerators reminds me of some thoughts I have had lately about how we used to dispose of some rubbish by burning it – I mean on a domestic level. Whilst it is best not to cause the waste in the first place, and certainly there are many arguments regarding pollutants of you burn unsuitable stuff, I can’t help thinking there might be some small thing to be said in favour of using some rubbish as fuel on a very low level.

  2. It is amazing how the mindset changes from the “bag all the rubbish and put out on binday” to “avoid the rubbish and enjoy the lie-in”. This is not laziness but a reward for good practice.

    This year might be a time to consider avoiding plastic use due to the uncertain recycling situation. Home toiletries are now Zero Waste for me thanks to the Lush products and container use. There are sure to be further developments possibly in refillable/reusable systems.

  3. LOL – this did make me laugh Mrs G and I loved the photos. In your honour, I’m going to put out our bin next week, which was last seen strutting its stuff in the summer too – August I think, after we’d come back from hols and had to get rid of the cat litter. As it’s now harbouring some more litter from Christmas as well as a dead mouse, it’s time to flaunt it again. At least you can go back to your lie-in next week. Good luck with 12 month challenge 😀 xxx

    P.S. Note to John – I enjoyed a Lush frenzy this week, and bought a year’s supply of their fabulous shampoo bars. They’re great. Thank goodness that’s one high street store that hasn’t gone down the pan.

  4. Ailbhe says:

    I am too tired to feel as guilty as I ought to about this. We’ll get there. I salve my conscience a lot with the fact that most wheelie bins are full every fortnight and ours is less than a quarter full. It’s quite good salve but it’s running low.

    I’d really love to get our recycling bin lower too, it’s almost full every fortnight. I’m not sure where we’ve gone wrong and I’m too tired to figure it out.

    2009 is going to be good though. As long as we can afford food.

  5. Mrs A, Well done with the Lush shampoo bars. After using for a few weeks, I find a cold water lather and scalp rub-in helps avoid loss due to heat. Hopefully this will extend the product life to the max.

    Coal Tar Soap, slate grey coloured, was on display last time. This looks superb and will be on the list for my next visit.

  6. Oh, good job Mrs. Green! A can full every six months is quite an accomplishment.

  7. Condo Blues says:

    Congratulations on your slim bin!

    I forget to put our bin out too. Yesterday I remembered and the only thing in it was a furance air filter (my husband got a little lazy and didn’t want to clean our reusable one and but in the lone paper backup instead) and little bags of doggie payloads. That’s it.

  8. gloves–search the accessories box at the local thriftshop and do buy a pair of gloves for each of you. better yet, send out an all alert bulletin for donated gloves and give the dozens of extras to the local school for these unfortunates who have to drag their bins into the COLD mornings.

    it was -25 here, and i did not have a binful yet, large ugly black plastic trashcans here…the neighbors haul six or seven of these curbside (kerbside in british) every week..every week plus boxes which fly in the wind and spread multiple ornaments of the trashy lives on the highway. who’s complaining? i sell the stray aluminum cans to the metal man, price way down from 70 cents to 14 cents per lb now.

    thanks for the lovely update on the small waste, and a happy new wasteless year to you and your avid followers.

  9. Nearly Green says:

    Two weeks before Christmas, I discovered your website. It is really helpful. I have started making some changes in my shopping habits and I have bought the Little Book of Rubbish Ideas. It’s a great read and really informative.

    I’ve still got quite a few changes to make, but I am looking forward to being ready for Zero Waste week.

  10. Mr. Green says:

    It was s strange feeling putting the bin out for the first time in 6 months. No, really, it felt like ‘secretly dropping litter’ when you hoped no-one would see, something dirty and irresponsible. WE are pleased that we have cut down out landfill waste to a small level, but it’s still waste that should not exist at all and alowing someone else to ‘take it away’ seemed to cintradict our values of personal responsibility.

    I guess these feelings are good and a reminder of a new social and environmental awareness that has seeped into us. Can we go a year without further landfill? Will that feel good or even more like a betrayal of values?

    I know, you must think we are mad questioning such things, but in the end we are custodians of the earth. In the same way as a parent nurtures and cares for a child, we collectively have a similar duy to our planet.

    Today in the co-op we saw the check-out lad put ONE ITEM (toilet rools) in a carrier bag for his grateful customer!! Even though we were carrying and sporting a colourful Onya bag, he still automatically offered us a BAG!! when it was our turn.

    I wish Planet Earth had a NSPCA equivelent! Grrr! 🙁

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Greenlady; yes I guess being unprepared for putting out the bin could be seen as a good thing LOL!
    It sounds like you are working wonders with the communal recycling; it’s all about manageable steps and you’ve made some good progress.
    I have to say, we run a woodburner and for the small amount of non recyclable waste we produce we COULD put it on the fire – plastic and all. But the fumes are incredible even from one yogurt pot (which I’ve burned when I’ve found a mouldy one in the cupboard), but then it keeps us warm for a few seconds!

    Hi John, Yep, I’d rather enjoy the lie-in! Like you we are looking at ways of reducing our plastic all the time. It’s a little more tricky with a child, but there are solutions for most things now. And of course, we all have our favourites and our quirks which we don’t want to give up in a hurry. We’re not bad on the toiletries front, but there is still room for improvement.

    Mrs A – a dead mouse LOL! Couldn’t you chuck it under a hedge and let nature (or a fox) take its course? Enjoy wheeling your bin out as you get to do it so infrequently now!

    Hi Ailbhe – good to see you again and Happy new year to you. You sound tired, so it’s best to just carry on as you are until energy and motivation is yours again. I think you’re doing great and we have to slowly figure out a way around these things. One of the most useful things is to produce an audit, but it does take commitment and is best done when you’re feeling better. Take good care.

    Hi kristen – Happy new year to you and your family and congrats on your 6 month blog anniversary 🙂

    Hi condo blues – that’s an amazing achievement on a small bin – well done!

    Nadine; now I feel like a complete lightweight; complaining about -3 when you are enduring -25 😀 I guess it’s all relative.
    Six to seven bins per week is incredible – what on earth do they find to fill them with? At our worst we used to fill 2 1/2 – 3 (and to think there was a time when I never thought more about it or felt it unreasonable to do so) Ah well, we live, we learn, we change…….

    Hi Nearly green – welcome to the site; I’m so pleased you found us and are enjoying reading about our adventures. Tracey’s book is wonderful and full of great ideas. I’d love to hear more about the shopping habits you have changed and good luck with zero waste week!

    Mr Green “in the end we are custodians of the earth. In the same way as a parent nurtures and cares for a child, we collectively have a similar duty to our planet.”
    Amen to that – just beautiful (as are you) 🙂

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