The results of our zero waste week

Filed in Blog, Videos by on February 2, 2009 38 Comments
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results of zero waste weekDid we, or didn’t we, achieve a size zero bin during Gloucestershire’s zero waste week challenge?

Why not find out in our you Tube vid, presented by Little Miss Green?


How did you get on this week? We’re eager to hear your results!


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 (38)

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  1. Way-to-go folks or should that be Weigh-to-go! šŸ˜€ Sorry, got carried away there. It’s just another manic pun day!
    …oh there I go again….better stick to the day job!

    But what great excitement! That’s a fantastic result. Well done to all of you and indeed everyone who took part this week. Little Miss G…you’re a natural. x

    I now think Gloucestershire CC should start thinking about oretraining their waste collectors. There won’t be much work for them if things carry on like this šŸ˜€ xxxx

  2. maisie says:

    Well Done both as a family and to LMG for her presentation.

  3. Poppy says:

    9g Wow! That is amazing šŸ™‚ Well done everyone šŸ™‚

  4. Karen says:

    I’ve just sorted out our landfill for the week and submitted our forms online.
    I knew we wouldn’t be zero but am pleased with the 0.3 of a carrier bag we produced – down from 1.5 black sacks last week! Just windows from envelopes, meat packaging and plastic lids from milk and cartons really. Amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!!
    One of the scariest things I discovered while talking to people last week about Zero Waste Week was that most didn’t think our 1.5 black sacks was bad!! How much are they throwing out each week?
    I did find the week more difficult as the week went on – something I didn’t expect. Mostly it was trying to find the time to keep up with baking for my boys rather than just buying!
    I don’t think I could keep my rubbish this low every week but I have started some good habits that I intend to keep up, so I WILL NOT be putting out 1.5 black sacks next week!
    Can’t wait to hear how others have got on!!

  5. Kris says:

    Excellent commentating from LMG šŸ™‚ That’s a very impressive result too. And that’s a huge reduction Karen – I completely agree about being gobsmacked when other people seem to be on another (worrying) scale.

    Oh yes, weighed our waste…
    Quite a few items, as follows:
    Trimmings from raw meat
    String from meat (cooked from raw)
    3 windows from envelopes
    3 milk bottle seals
    Top of a boil-in-the-bag rice
    Headache patch
    Headache patch plastifoil package
    Puffy security seal from Boots
    Plastic tag from clothes
    total weight = 22g

    I’m quite pleased with this as I was rather downcast at the beginning of the week with a dreadful headache and the headache patches are really effective, but made an immediate impression on the bin! Less than a day in and I was already beyond the reach of Zero Waste. But it hasn’t got a lot worse.

  6. Mrs Jackson says:

    Am pleased to say we went from 8 and a half carrier to less than half a carrier. Most of which was food from my toddler that had been squished in his high chair or thrown on the floor. This COULD still be recycled but we don’t have the facilities so we hardly made any either.

    Well done everyone and thanks for your support. Am seeing that most of the houses here have a bulging bin full – am proud of my little bag.

  7. Kris says:

    As you should be Mrs J šŸ™‚

  8. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: Thank you. You have done marvellously too. We used the window envelopes for our robots hair lol…which apparently then became a cape haha.

  9. Grandma Green says:

    What a great video. Well done Little Miss Green! It was interesting to see that the only family member who added nothing to the weigh-in was the lovely Cattus Green.

  10. John Costigane says:

    Mrs Green, good to see the young one joining-in with the activities. 9g sets a fine example for the other participants in the week’s effort. It will be great to see how the 1500 managed. Judging by the many posts, there seems to be an enthusiastic response.

    Poppy, Kris, Maisie and Mrs Jackson, apologies for any omissions, have taken up the challenge with gusto. Their container use is an excellent addition to that campaign.

  11. Poppy says:

    I thought it was a real shame that there wasn’t more information about Gloucestershire’s zero Waste week. Other than on here I’ve sign one sign, that was it!

    Well done to everyone who took part though.

  12. Oh well done, LMG! My girls gathered ’round to watch.

  13. Rik Boland says:

    well done guys that fantastic, now is that going to be the max as well?

    We managed to get it down to 3 items but we didn’t weigh it.

    Just to update you Lancaster C.C as guessed isn’t going to be carry out the same example, but that Lancaster for you hypocrites, o well we can vote again soon!

  14. carol boulton says:

    thank you lmg,for a great presentation!well done all of us,it hasn t been as easy as i waste has gone from 2 carrier bags to 3 foil and plastic tablet packs and a plastic cake pack that held 2 tarts[prezzy from sister!]
    the compost bin has been well “fed”!!I dropped off cardboard,plastic milk bottles,and bags at supermarket recycling,foil will go when bag full.i shall continue this as a personal challenge now,good training for when i go to germany next!now can i exchange my big wheelie for a mini one?

  15. Di Hickman says:

    whoohooo! Great going to the Greens! And well done LMG on her presentation!

  16. Kris says:

    @carol boulton: I’ve just burst out laughing at this because I used to have a replica wheely-bin, about five or six inches high – I wish I still had it, just the right size now!

  17. Mrs Green says:

    Thank you everyone; I’ve just read LMG your comments and she is thrilled that you liked her video. Hopefully she will be stepping up for the limelight again in the future šŸ™‚

    Karen, Kris, Mrs J, Carol and Rik – you all did brilliantly – well done all of you!

    Poppy, your comment is not unique; many people have told us that the first they heard of ZWW was through this site **sigh**.

    Maybe they could do a repeat venture with a leaflet drop to every household first šŸ˜‰

  18. Poppy says:

    Oh dear this is going to get confusing with 2 Poppy’s!

    @Kris: I have 2 mini Wheelies that I got from the tip visit last week. I took a picture of them with our rubbish in from last week. Perhaps if I send a copy to Mrs G, she could post it on here somewhere.

    I thought my son would like one and one for his friend, but he doesn’t seem that interested. I even said he could use it as a Dr Who prop as one of the cahracters got ‘eaten’ by a wheelie and came back a a plastic version of himself!

  19. Kris says:

    I wonder if you were in the same trip as my Mum Poppy, she was also visiting the tip, driving over the dunes.

    I know exactly the scene you mean in DW – you are talking to a woman with two daleks on her desk šŸ˜€

  20. Poppy says:

    I went at 1pm, but I was with 2 fellas that I know, so no, I wouldn’t have been with your Mum Kris.

  21. Layla says:

    WOW!! Well done everyone!! šŸ™‚

    I am now so proud of everyone’s efforts!!
    And great presentation, Little Miss Green!!

    Must admit we were nowhere ‘zero waste’ as the family hasn’t been fully onboard yet, & my sister kept buying cookies and tossing the packaging in the trash, among other things!!
    so I may have to resort to drastic measures, and, uhm, bake things for sis!! (even though I don’t eat them, if I can help it, and she’s officially ‘on a diet’ to lose weight!! hmm!! :)) /Not sure how to resolve the dilemma!!/
    (I’m afraid I may have started the trend by throwing away a plastic chocolate packaging we had all eaten before..)
    And I threw away some dental floss.. don’t remember throwing away other stuff, personally.. there are still ‘dim areas’ though..

    Also, though the yoghurt was a success, sis & Mum want a low-cal yoghurt! Any idea how to make that out of whole milk?
    There’s been snow, so probably we won’t have the local fair with homegrown products (so the devious plan to buy butter in a reusable box is sort of postponed!)

    On the plus side, I have learnt to light fire in a wood-powered stove, WITHOUT PAPER!! (Uncle said not all people even in the hills, where he lives, know how!!)
    And became closer acquainted with milk production (though still haven’t dared to actually, uhm, milk a cow, with all the technology and stuff!!)

    I still haven’t dared to actually weigh the stuff, as it’s a bit gross, and smells.. (various things go in there.. including Mum’s preventative syringes she was given because of some palpitations or such, ‘just in case’.. Sis glared at me when I mentioned what a waste I think throwawayable syringes were.. every day a new one, for the same person and the same stuff..
    Mum now’s had a cold too, and there’s waste from the packets of meds too.. šŸ™
    The most eco way is to be healthy..

    @ Kris – for headaches, check next time if you may have too little Magnesium (you can check nutrition on or Cronometer), and eat something with lots of magnesium.. OR sometimes it can help to drink some water.. the headache can be due to dehydration.. (or lots of stress/worries, in which case journalling or relaxing in a dark room with lovely music may help..)

  22. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Layla, baking your own stuff is great for many reasons. Firstly, of course, there is less landfill waste. But it can also be cheaper, not to mention healthier – you know **exactly** what is going in there! Make your sister some; I’m sure she would love that!

    To make low cal yogurt, I guess you would start with skimmed milk?? I’m not sure if it behaves in the same way.
    Would love to hear how you are starting your fire without paper šŸ™‚

  23. Kris says:

    Thanks Layla šŸ™‚ Unfortunately it was a type of headache I get sometimes that just doesn’t respond to anything, and I was drinking lots of water in case it was dehydration, that helped a bit. I’ve got some snacky seeds in the cupboard but was avoiding that sort of thing last week as the packaging was a problem for zero waste. I ate tons of broccoli over the week though!

    There’s an article on ThisisGloucestershire today about some refuse collections being cancelled due to the abundant snow and I have to admit to being quite shocked at the responses of people who are angry that their bins will overflow now šŸ˜®

  24. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: Haha yes it is our bin day today and I felt really proud that mine is still empty from last week (I still haven’t filled my carrier from zero waste week so no point putting it out yet.

  25. Poppy says:

    I didn’t bother to put the bin out today and I think it will take a nother month or so before I need to šŸ™‚

  26. Kris says:

    I’m afraid I dropped some cooked food and had to bin it – and it’s making a huge difference to the bin because it’s smelly! I am going to put it outside, though I think it can patiently wait for whenever the next collection is.

  27. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Sorry to hear about the bad headaches, Kris – they can be so debilitating. I shall be over to the Thisisgloucestershire site in a moment to have a nose at the article.

    @Mrs Jackson: and @Poppy: That’s brilliant news Mrs J and Poppy. No bin for a couple of weeks or more – I hope you are both feeling very proud of yourselves.

    @Kris: I think cooked food waste is the reason many people have problems with their bin, Kris. Collection of food waste might be a good solution and will help people to reduce landfill rubbish.

  28. Layla says:

    @Kris: Sorry to hear it was a resistant one.. Yeah, snacky seeds and nuts are good for magnesium.. am planning to get all pumpkins next year de-seeded and prepared for snacks! (this year they got away..) we also have some walnuts from uncle’s, which are totally zero waste! (or some can be bought at the marketplace..?) not sure if broccolli alone is enough.. you could check on Fitday or Cronometer etc.

    As for the article on ThisisGloucestershire – excellent PR opportunity to comment & brag about your zero waste, and ask people to take part? šŸ™‚

  29. Katy says:

    Brilliant! Very inspiring stuff. The council should include this in post-ZWW publicity. Maybe they can do a better job with that than they did pre-ZWW…

    I am with Mrs G on the possibility of baking things which are yummy, cheap, low-waste, full of good ingredients, and a known quantity in terms of calories and so on. I have a couple of recipes on my blog, even!

  30. Mrs Green says:

    @Katy: I’ve enjoyed your recipes, Katy and would love to see more of them if possible šŸ˜‰

  31. Diz says:

    Well, I weighed my binbag 2 weeks before ZWW and it was 4kg. The following week it was 2kg, and for ZWW itself was about 1.75 kg. I am actually quite pleased with that for my stage in the journey. The bag itself is still sitting on the drive, as our collection was cancelled. I have to get rid of it each week, as we keep the bin in the garage, and it would smell too much otherwise. I still need to educate my husband. He either throws everything in the bin, ot leaves it on the kitchen worktop for me to sort.
    My compost bin has arrived, but I haven’t come to terms with it yet. I’m having difficulty deciding where to put it, (uneven garden) and I can only get the top off by gripping the body of it with my feet and knees and hauling like fury at the lid. I am SO unimpressed with it I am close to just chucking 2 weeks worth of compostibles in the landfill and freecycling the thing.

  32. Layla says:

    YAY Diz, good for you!! šŸ™‚

    Well, if you’re unhappy with the composting can.. you can always return it, right?
    And as for the stuff that could be composted – maybe your neighbours who garden and have a compost heap would lick their fingers over it?? My Dad always complains we don’t have enough compost!!

    OR, in worst case, is there a park with ‘wilder’ & not-so-populated corners, or woodland, where you could easily put your compostables? basically giving back resources to nature… (but it’s good to do this somewhere where it’s okay to do so and not perceived as ‘littering’..)

    much better to have just compostables in one place, than to have ’em mixed up with plastics and other refuse & toxified…

    Yeah, educating others is one of our biggest tasks… Wishing you luck with hubby!! My Sis & Dad are still so-so.. Mum’s better about it all..

  33. John Costigane says:

    @Diz: Diz, a tight lid is a good thing as it will be wind-proof and wasp-proof. You just have to find the knack of removing it. Things loosen with use.

    My own compost bin lid is too loose, so I complained to Wrap and they sent another. Maybe that is the reason for your tight lid.

  34. Diz says:

    Thanks Layla
    Well, I climbed out of my pram, crawled round til I found my toys and went back out for another go or twenty. It is a knack thing, evidently.
    Bin is now situated as far from the house as possible, even though that (a) isn’t far (b) is the most inconvenient place for me to put stuff in it – I reckoned the most important thing was for it not to annoy other half. It now has the waste in it, covered by some shredded paper.
    I also had a lightbulb moment, and put some shredded paper in the bottom of the kitchen bin, so soak up ickyness during the week.
    I’d better go make some soup to use up some sad looking veg and get the peelings building up again.
    ..and breathe…

  35. Kris says:

    Sorry to hear about your issues with the new bin Diz – though thank you for making me smile at the mental pic of you wrapped round it! šŸ™‚

    I was delighted to get a 3kg plastic tub with handle at Lidl today (think it was cĀ£1.90) – they were selling it as something to put your laundry tablets in (and it has a picture of socks on the washing line on) but to me it’s a large but compact handled container with a well fitting lid that I can use to collect a weeks worth of composting before taking it out, perhaps that sort of thing would also work for you, so that you’ve only got to trek down the garden every few days?

  36. Layla says:

    YAY Diz, for making it!! šŸ™‚

    Kris, good idea!!

    Actually we have a small ‘mini-bin’ for compostables/leftover food/coffee solids etc in the kitchen (as big as a pot maybe, you could also use an old pot with a lid, or a small bucket), this gets taken into the ‘small garage’ where the big bucket/s for compostables is/are.. (1 in the summer/autumn/spring, perhaps more in the Winter, if it’s difficult to get it outside due to snow etc…)
    So one does not need to run outside for every little thing..

    When I was staying with Granny at her flat in the city, & before there was a collecting programme by the council, we kept some (dry) compostables (like potato peels, lettuce parts etc) in a paper bag, which was in a plastic bag on the balcony (she also kept her bin outside when this was possible..) She collected the ‘wet’ leftovers separately, on the kitchen sink in milk cartons (which weren’t collected for recycling then – a reusable dish would be better).. Maybe these ideas could be of help to you too?

    YAY for breathing!! You’re doing a fantastic thing, your husband should be so proud!! (Here, Dad is the driving force behind composting, as he loves the garden produce to grow well in a healthy way, with no chemicals!!)

  37. Poppy says:

    Well done Diz šŸ˜€

    Our day to day compostables are put into a container I made by cutting down a 4 pt plastic milk bottle and a 6 pt milk bottle. The 4 is the base and the 6 is the lid. To start with I was replacing them every month or so, but I think we’ve had this one for nearly a year now šŸ™‚

    I do sometimes look at ‘proper’ containers, but then talk myself out of the idea.

  38. Mrs Green says:

    @Diz: Hey Diz, a hearty well done for your continuing reduced waste – that is excellent news! And I’m so pleased you carried on the fight with your compost bin! A tight fitting lid is good, as John pointed out. Last year we ended up with wasps in ours and you don’t want that šŸ˜‰ hope hubby starts to join in with the fun soon!

    @Kris: Cool find in Lidls, Kris – we have a box too, which we empty every two or three days. We get through a LOT of fruit and veg in this house!

    @Poppy: I love the idea of your home made composting box, Poppy. Excellent reuse šŸ˜‰

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