weekly weigh in 50

Filed in Blog by on May 7, 2009 8 Comments
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seeds-of-change-minestrone-soupBehold our rubbish bin this week. She’s not looking too bad because we had a couple of mishaps.

First up the butchers. Ol’ Cattus Green ran out of food on a Saturday afternoon and I had to do an emergency shop lest she should shrink away before my very eyes and call the RSPCA with her weak paw.

Those of you who have been with us since the start know that any brand of cat food is instantly thrown back up, covered in bile and stomach acid. Yum!

So she is fed fresh meat and fish from our local butcher.

My lack of organisation skills (I was certainly never Maisie in a previous life) led to the cupboard being bare and old mother hubbard with nothing to feed her cat.

Off to the shop I went and my only choice was a plastic wrapped chicken with its bottom placed on a fine, white plastic tray or a tin of salmon at Β£2.99 a pop. Much as I love my cat and the planet the chicken won.

Which brings up a whole bucket load of issues about sustainability and ethics, but I won’t go into them here.

Next up is a soup pouch from Seeds of Change. I like the brand for their organic certification, but therein lies the tale of a product that does not tick all the boxes.

The pouch is about 3 years old, and has been gathering cobwebs at the back of the shelves, so we decided to crack it open for lunch one day. I looked on the packaging for recycling information and found nothing.

A phonecall to customer services went along the lines of:

Me: I’ve just eaten a pouch of your minestrone soup for lunch; can you tell me what the packaging is and how to recycle it please?

she: Ummm, there’s no instruction on the pack?

Me: No.

She: you’ll need to ask your council if they recycle it.

Me: ok, can you tell me what the packaging is please?

She: It’s a kind of thick foil isn’t it?

Me: yes, but can you tell me exactly what it is please?

<I’m put on hold>

She: very sorry to keep you waiting, I’ve been advised that this packaging is only recycled in 2 areas across the whole of the UK, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recycle it.

Me: can you tell me which two areas those are please?

She: I don’t have access to that information, sorry. It’s best to phone your council and ask them if they will recycle our soup packaging.

Me: but I don’t know how to describe it if you can’t tell me what, exactly, the material is.

She: Well it’s some kind of thick foil soup pouch isn’t it? I don’t know exactly what it’s made from – I believe it is a type of foil. I don’t have the exact composition.

I don’t need to go on do I???

Take it from me, the conversation went on ad nauseum and we finally agreed that she would ask one of her senior colleagues about the information I was looking for.

Don’t hold your breath though; it might take her up to a week to find the information and get back to me.


In our bin this week we have:

1 plastic chicken tray
lentils bag
plastic coffee lid
soy sauce seal
seal from wine bottle
cheese wrapper
6 crisp bags
1 multi crisp bags outer
foil soup pouch

All in all it weighs am either-way-up 69 grams. Still under our 100 grams per week target.

What about you? How is your bin faring (i said Faring) this week – Is it bursting at the seams, or hungry for more?

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 (8)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Another good total, Mrs Green. The 3-year packet got me searching among the my mother’s old baking stuff. There was a pack of shortcrust pastry which had no recycling information. It is not a liquid so no tinfoil is required but the plastic seems old style.

  2. Poppy says:

    Oh Mrs G! You really are a star awkward customer!! I feel sorry for the poor woman … I really do!

  3. Deb from Boston says:

    6 crisps packages? LMG must be very happy this week ; ) 69 grams is still very amazing!

  4. Layla says:

    69 grams is still very great – but I know you can do better!! πŸ˜‰

    lol about the poor customer service rep! ‘what they expect from you these days, eh?’ πŸ™‚

    Well, to think of it, we do ‘swim in uncharted sea of unknown chemicals & packaging, eating utensils, fabrics, furniture…’
    I wish everything came clearly labelled & decipherable (& googlable!!:)) with all points of existence clearly identifiable..

    (our instructions here in Slovenia are: ‘plastic bags & foils go into plastics recycling’ mind you our package recovery company is one of those in 24 EU countries that plead for temporary ‘burn before recycle’ though!

    We still have the one plastic bag from zero waste week.. going on 4 weeks now, which is simply amazing!!
    /I adore my family for being so good!! We really must set up our recycling center ‘proper’ now though!!/

  5. Well done on keeping below your target 100g.

    When next at the butchers could you not buy a few chicken portions to keep in the freezer specifically for if/when this situation arises again.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, no idea on the pastry packaging. Such is the way of plastics, with little suitable markings on some packaging.

    @Poppy: Thank you Poppy. I wasn’t awkard, just, erm, I wanted an answer! I reflected on how most people would have been happy with that answer and thought nothing more of it. But yes, I probably did ruin her afternoon πŸ™

    @Deb from Boston: I thought the same as I was sorting it, Deb. 6 packs indeed is disgraceful LOL!

    @Layla: You are doing brilliantly with your zero waste bag, Layla. I know you have planned this well and the passion to make changes has been growing for a long time. Give your family a hug from me for being so good!

    @maisie dalziel: Thanks Maisie. Your idea of buying extras is great – i should do that. Can I cook from frozen for a cat do you think?

  7. Most definitely, as you can if careful cook from frozen for humans as well.

    I would poach the chicken in boiling water in the micro, could use the defrost programme first for 10 minutes with the chicken in the boiling water.
    Then just nuke for 10 -15 minutes depending on size of portion for cat.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks Maisie, I don’t have a microwave, but I’m sure I can figure something else out. Tbh, I’m not that bothered for the cat; seeing as they’ll eat raw chicken with no ill effects anyway. I shall start buying in bulk and see if I can avoid food packaging in the future πŸ™‚

    I did, however, get a phonecall back from Seeds of Change about recycling their packaging – all will be revealed next week!

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