Get off your arse Thursday – week 6

Filed in Blog by on April 16, 2009 32 Comments
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get off your arse thursdayRoll up roll up for Get off your arse Thursday! What are you going to do this week to reduce your landfill waste? Remember, there is a cyber prize to be won each week for the best efforts.

What tiny step could you take that will keep one more thing out of the bin? Could you change a purchase, mend something or develop a system to remember your reusable shopping bags?

I was supposed to be gardening last week, but despite rain I was determined to get out there anyway. I didn’t get much planting done, but I did take out some weeds. This week I’m going to sort out my wardrobe and see what can be sent off to a charity shop.

Last week, CaroleB was busy planting tomatoes and basil in some old ice cream containers on her windowsills. She was also taking part in true ‘make do and mend fashion’ by darning her smalls to save them having to be thrown away.

Poppy was collecting discarded cans on her walk and delivering helpful information to someone about their garden.

Maisie was creating delights in her kitchen – Ratatouille from the last two weeks veg box leftovers.

Di was checking out the contents of her fridge and like me, was getting out in the garden – tidying up the raised beds, harvesting some veggies and starting more plants.

Meanwhile, Mrs J was busy sorting out clothes and toys and checking out the recycling facilities at Ikea and discovered that they recycle plastic packaging – yipee!whiteboard

The prize for last week goes to Di. Di has been gradually working through her freezer over the past month to use up all the old food and has been working hard at reducing her food waste each week. To have found virtually nothing that needed using up last week was a great achievement. Well done Di!

Your prize is a whiteboard for you to attach to your ‘fridge or freezer to maintain an up to date inventory so that you never waste food again.

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 (32)

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  1. Not quite sure what we’ll be doing today as it is DS1’s 14 birthday.

    He does have a few cards to open and all envelopes minus stamps will be either reused or recycled; stamps will be posted off to a contact I have for RNLI.The cards once finished with will be sorted for my cardmaking stash, and the remains recycled.

    He requested cash from us so he could get exactly what he wanted and in true zero waste fashion has been scouring Ebay over the last week to make a few purchases. One t/shirt has already arrived and I was delighted to see although it had an inner type 5 bag ( can now be posted to STM)it was wrapped in brown paper which once the tape has been removed can be at least recycled.

    He has said he’s not bothered about a cake but I may well make one later as we have friends coming tomorrow.

    The last part of his birthday treat is a ticket to the football match on Saturday,again money well spent and no waste or things to find homes for.

  2. John Costigane says:

    The white board is an excellent way to monitor, fridge/freezer contents, Mrs Green. It could certainly catch on for busy mothers.

    Today, the compost bin will be emptied of useful material with the top quarter replaced in the composter. Building raised beds can then be done.

    Planting will be in May due to the colder conditions up north. Carole’s idea to grow basil indoors appeals to me as well. This would remove the regular dried basil purchase and the resulting plastic cap and wrap, landfill bound.

  3. Sarah says:

    It’s raining here so we’re on housework mainly, so it’s out with the soap nut solution and wipe everything, clean all surfaces in the kitchen.

  4. Seraphim says:

    I think I did a good landfill dodge this week… I finally used up all those net bags (from onions etc) that I hadn’t wanted to throw them away by crocheting them into a scrubber for washing up. Works a treat!

    Nice blog here, by the way 🙂

  5. Fr. Peter says:

    “Reduce landfill waste?” Easy I would clear out our son’s car when he comes to visit!

  6. Di says:

    Yay thanks! This week I plan on doing a charity shop run. Stuff to drop off and a little clothing browse whilst there to check out some Summer clothing.

  7. Carole Blake says:

    I haven’t got too far off my arse, (just leant across to my handbag where the plastic debit card resided), but have finally, FINALLY gotten around to ordered a Bokashi bin (in fact a double one, so that one is fermenting while one is filling) from these guys
    They’re only in the next county so not too far for the bins to be delivered.

    My own small composting bin that I keep in my kitchen hasn’t been working too well recently, as the promised communal bin for my flats has failed to appear, and having no other neighbours with a garden, there’s been nowhere to put it. There is no council run composting system (although I’ve emailed them moaning about this) and my last resort, the school composter is also out of action atm as it’s behind where some new building work is going on and it’s all screened off.

    The Bokashis will still come in useful when I move up to my fiance’s for those meat based scraps that I won’t be able to put on his compost heap.

    I’ve opted for 3 to 5 days delivery as the cheapest option, and I’m really looking forward to making my own compost inhouse and having some plant feed too!


  8. Carole Blake says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, the basil and tomato seeds are doing quite well! I started them off over my tropical fish tank (the heat from the lights works fantastically) and they have just shot up. Today I moved them to the windowsill proper as they were practically leaning at 45 degrees to see the light from the windows!

    I can’t wait to get up to Saltash where I’ll have a garden and can go a bit mad on the old herbs and veggies.


  9. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake: Carole. 1 Bokashi is sufficient. All you need to do, while the final fermenting process is taking place over 2 weeks, is store the food waste in a freezer container until the Bokashi is emptied, washed and dried. Save yourself £30 pounds and some storage space. I have done this for 8 months with no mishaps.

  10. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake: Basil seeds will be my first purchase when I go to a garden centre. The plan is to plant in a pot on a south facing bedroom window ledge. I can later grind a full size leaf to small pieces then freeze for future use. We can compare progress, Carole.

  11. Carole Blake says:

    @John Costigane: Hi again John, unfortunately the double Bokashi order is already in place. I don’t have too much freezer space in my small under counter freezer, but do have room for a couple of small (hopefully!) Bokashis. My usual compost bin will be moved out/ reused for something else so that will free up that space.

    I have two viewers for my flat on Saturday, keep your fingers crossed for me!!


  12. John Costigane says:

    @Carole Blake: Fair enough, Carole. You could always sell one on if you could spare it.
    Emma on has covered the Bokashi in a recording. It will give you some insight.

    Best of luck with the sale. You have put a great deal of effort into preparing it, which is always a positive.

  13. Carole Blake says:

    @John Costigane: Ah, a site I didn’t know about, have gone to have a look!!


  14. Deb from Boston says:

    I’ve been busy doing taxes all week does that count as getting off my arse? Some other things I’ve managed to accomplish this past week (though not on a Thursday) sew on some bottons (found in my grandmothers old botton bin) onto a vintage cashmere and wool coat that I picked up from thrift store for $1, and startd the garden – planting a few rows each of peas, beets, and turnips (I think our season is a bit later/shorter here in Boston)

  15. Grandma Green says:

    I have just placed an order with wrap’s ‘recycle now’ scheme for a subsidised compost bin and a free accompanying kitchen caddy – this will make a huge difference to the vegetable waste that gets thrown out. Am also sorting clothes for a charity bag that very conveniently plopped through the letterbox today. Hurray!

  16. Charity says:

    Thanks for an inspiring blog – this is my first comment as I only found you recently :). This week I bought 8 cloth napkins to use at mealtimes instead of kitchen paper for my very messy children (aged 4 and 1). Should save me (and my bin) a fortune. I have also started saving the plastic bags that come in my fruit/veg box for reuse as freezer bags and for taking our weekly fruit donation into my daughter’s nursery school. Next job is to choose a second composting system as my wormery is completely stuffed (fussy children create a lot of food waste, unfortunately).

  17. may i bring a bit of rural flavor to the thursday get off my” log, yes, i know it’s friday here, blame it on geography or my yard i did not sell the yard..
    i conducted a yard sale of all non-essentials which netted me slightly more than my utility great, net zero for the month. economics = one, ecology = one.

    my refuse pile shrunk, my coin pile grew, and i found small treasures in my stash as well, the garage looks roomier now. for example, those onion mesh bags will become hammocks to support my climbing cantaloupes and squashes along the back fence, saves space and is quite decorative = i save on entertainment and food budget.

    i am not competing for British goodies,only sharing the small delights of a small life.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Hope your son had a great birthday, Maisie! It sounds like you had a great day planned – did you make a cake in the end?

    @John Costigane: How did all the garden work go, John? We’re growing more herbs this year too. I’ve just sorted a shelf and had to throw away so much plastic from the lids and refill sachets. This year I shall DIY as much as we can.

    @Sarah: Hope you got all the housework done, Sarah. You find the soapnut solution works well? It’s a great zero waste solution to cleaning.

    @Seraphim: how did your handiwork session turn out, Seraphim? It sounds intriguing, do you have any photos to share?

    @Fr. Peter: Did you actually do the deed, Peter? I want to know what’s in that car of your son’s!

    @Di: Oooo, another feel good mission, Di. Did you find anything nice for summer for yourself?

    @Carole Blake: I’m looking forward to hearing all about your bokashi bin, Carole – did it arrive safely and have you made friends?
    Glad the seeds are growing well.

    @Deb from Boston: Sounds like a great day, Deb. I hope you managed to get through everything – the charity shop finds sound wonderful.

    @Grandma Green: Grandma Green; we had that leaflet through the door too. I’m glad you took advantage of it and hope others did as well. How are you finding the kitchen caddy?

    @Charity: Hi Charity – welcome to the site! Switching to cloth is a great move, as is saving and reusing plastic bags. Good luck with the composting system – do you have something in mind?

    @nadine sellers: Hi nadine; ’tis always a pleasure to see you here. I love the sound of your yard sale – talk about win-win! You did really well and have reaped the rewards, not only in money, but in space and order.

  19. I did make a cake it was a choc and vanilla marble sponge, which got baked along with the bread in the morning.

    His other parcels have arrived over the last few days and have been an array of brown paper, bubble wrap and plastic bags.

    Luckily all the plastic can either go to STM or my HWRC. The bubble wrap has already been re-used to send off a book I sold, and it was wrapped in the brown paper for good measure.

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Sounds gorgeous Maisie – is the recipe on your site?

    Glad all the packaging was zero waste in the end!

  21. Yes the recipe is on my site, had to check as wasn’t 100% sure 😀

  22. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: The garden preparation is mostly done, Mrs Green. The later start up north means May will be the best time outdoor, but indoor I will start from Monday.

    My thought are turning to slug elimination. I have a small sunken beer bath to install as well as other more deadly plans for them. At least they can contribute to soil improvement.

  23. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Thanks Maisie; I’ll pop over and take a peek.

    @John Costigane: I’d love to hear your ideas for the slugs, John. We have them too on our clay soil. They’ve already munched my weakest broadbean plant down to a stump!

    Glad you got through most of the preparation – that feels good!

  24. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Mrs Green, I plan to collect any visible slugs, using tweezers, and place in a bucket, followed by adding boiling water. This should be sufficient. Salt can be kept to hand for survivors.

    Collection times would be wet days, early evening, during the night and early morning. Any found while doing the garden chores would be dealt with in similar fashion.

    Finding the time of maximum numbers would be ideal and I will certainly post this and other relevant details.

  25. @John Costigane: I hope my own slug and snail problem is over….the chickens eat them 😀

  26. John Costigane says:

    @Almost Mrs Average: Another bonus with home chicken-rearing, Mrs Average. My back garden is open, lightly separated from the neighbours. This makes outside animal-keeping impractical. Hedgehogs are another option for those able to provide a reasonable environment.

    Slug-free gardening is worth investigating, regardless. A sustainable use for the leftovers would be excellent. This could be for garden bird feed, or as a soil enhancer.

  27. DIz says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, try freezing the leaves whole, then scrunching them – they may crumble into usable bits.

  28. Carole says:

    @Mrs Green: My bokashi bin is about one third full already! We don’t waste much food here, but peelings, fruit cores, skins etc make up some of it. There is no smell as it seals tight with a large O ring and clip handles.

    There is loads of foil awaiting moulding in our shared work room at school. Hopefully on Friday there will be another moulding session. I can’t wait to start getting some pictures!


  29. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole: Sounds like the bokashi is working well, Carole. We were discussing getting one today. I’m still thinking about whether we really need one. I’m looking forward to seeing some photos of the foil moulding too!

  30. John Costigane says:

    @Carole: Hi Carole, Great to see that you have a big collection of foil (£600/tonne). I am continuing the foil balls aiming for the tonne, but room to store it all would be a problem.

    Joking aside, we should think of a prize for the school to acknowledge their Zero Waste achievement. A trophy of some kind or a piece of useful equipment (worm bin?) might be possibilities. They are very young so it will require some thought. Any ideas yourself?

  31. Poppy says:

    I recycled my foil last week and there was just under 600gms of it. A lot of that weight was down to 2 heavy weight foil dishes.

    Sorry John, we didn’t get round to making a ball.

  32. John Costigane says:

    @Poppy: Hi Poppy, No need to apologise, especially where recycling facilities already exist. Nearly 600g is a colossal amount. My several month total is 100g; a whole lot of Schogetten chocolate wraps and Auld’s/Greggs’ cake bases.

    There are great swathes of the UK where tinfoil recycling is not available. That is the reason for the effort. Carole’s school campaign is a new feature which could be beneficial to our trend, mainly due to Carole’s Zero Waste enthusiasm. We can learn from this to promote other efforts.

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