And we’re off – day one of WRAP’s Recycle week

Filed in Blog by on June 22, 2009 8 Comments
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Day 1 of WRAP's Recycle week; decluttering our garage.

Day 1 of WRAP's Recycle week; decluttering our garage.

Over the weekend, Mr Green and I did some preliminary work towards our WRAP’s Recycle week pledge. If you’re new to the site, you can find out exactly what we’re up to with our short video where we announced our intention to declutter our garage.

Mr Green created much-needed space to work from by moving Little Miss Green’s trampoline off the patio outside the garage and sweeping up. Meanwhile I was sorting the house. If we were going to be creating messes outside all week, I needed the house to be relatively clutter free. After that I took time to discover how Little Miss Green was planning on helping, which you can find out here.

Before we even started this week’s recycle pledge I had created another 4 bags of clothing and toys for the charity shop and some fabric for the textiles bank. I’d also freecycled a dvd player and printer and sold some books and other items.

Mr Green’s plan for the grand garage declutter is to touch items as little as possible. Today, he hopes to get everything out of the garage and do a coarse filter into the following groups:

  • Items that are useful and are going back in
  • Items that are obviously landfill
  • Items that need recycling
  • Items that can be useful to someone else

From there, we will work down and filter more finely. For instance, some items will be easily recyclable, such as old bits of wood. Others will need some work and dismantling before we can recycle them; which is the list I’m most interested in. These items are the sorts of things that, a year ago, would have been ‘too much trouble’ to do anything with, so they would have ended up landfilled.

Little Miss Green’s job will be to sort and label things – this is her thing. She loves classifying, putting things into categories, having a sense of black and white and has a great eye for detail. She’ll have wires, cables, nuts, bolts and screws galore to sift, sort and scrutinise. (It’s not, as she might lead you to believe, all about taking everything from the garage and hoarding it in her bedroom!)

Obviously, our pledge this year will create landfill waste, but the aim of our project is to create as little useless waste as possible and responsibly dispose of the rest.

In addition I’m going to try and use up food from the freezer. I’ll be on the look out for zero waste convenience foods, because an hour in the kitchen after a day in the garage is not going to get my juices flowing; it’s more likely to get the tears flowing.

So with old clothes on and my hair tied back; off to the garage I go…

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:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Organisation is the key. When I, and other relatives, cleared out Anna’s stuff. There were distinct categories:
    Metal and wood formed sizeable portions, textiles of many kinds, another, all for recycling. There were hordes of items for reuse. Particularly of note were old items of pre-plastic age.

    For similar collection of unused items in smaller locations, like lofts, presses, below stair, extracting specific type of material would allow a slower approach, with less upheaval.

  2. Layla says:

    Interesting approach!!

    Do recommend wearing a scarf on your hair too – it can get dusty in there!! (& they used to wear dustcaps in the old times for a reason!!)
    /not to mention spiderwebs & such!! am learning to appreciate the wisdom of old times re: headcoverings!! :)/

    Wishing you great luck with it all!!

    Do know some old painted wood can have arsenic in the paint/treatment & such – so be careful what you do with that! (not sure exactly what is best to be done with it? probably burning in the home fire is really not best! & it’s probably best to ask/tell that it’s old treated wood at the local recycling facilty!)

  3. Deb from Boston says:

    Mrs G – May I suggest you pull out the slow cooker this week – with just a few minutes of prep in the morning, you will be treated to a fulfilling dinner by end of day. Best wishes to all of you this week!

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John; we don’t have many treasures from by-gone years. I do, however, have a small crate of stuff I took from my Grandmother’s house and now it’s time to sort it and make decisions. This is proving difficult for me at the moment.

    @Layla: Hi Layla, fortunately, nothing is old enough to have lead paint on it as far as I know. Luckily there were not too many spiders to contend with; they seem to prefer our house 😀

    @Deb from Boston: Deb, you certainly may – I love my slow cooker and think every busy person should learn to use one. Mine will be getting good use made of it this week 😉

  5. I have some boxes of things which were my Mum & Dads and have to sort through those but have kept putting it off, but now with carboot season upon us it would be a good idea to try and sell anything we don’t want to keep for ourselves.

    The saying is when you move house if you don’t open a box in storage for at least 9 months then you probably don’t need the stuff inside, so deal with appropriately.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: I was thinking about the things in the garage, Maisie – technically none of it has been touched for years, because we haven’t been able to get to it. So TECHNICALLY it should all be disposed of. Mr G has other ideas, as you might imagine 😉

    Good luck with shifting your Mum and Dad’s boxes of stuff – let us know how you get on.

  7. Layla says:

    I meant *arsenic* not lead – & the site just told me I) seemed spammy & gobbled up my comment!! grr!!

    so I’ll just try adding this one link: (check under hazards & arsenate)

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: 😀 thanks Layla – no worries 🙂

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