Mrs Green’s six stories on Sunday

Filed in Blog by on September 13, 2009 6 Comments
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Could you eat locally grown and produced food for two weeks?

Could you eat locally grown and produced food for two weeks?

It’s time to share some reduce, reuse, recycle and composting stories from around the internet.

Every one of these stories will help us work towards a zero waste future.

Reducing food waste

We all know how bad food waste is for the environment. Once it gets to landfill it produces methane which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Many people use bokashi bins or compost heaps for some food waste, but reducing food waste in the first place is even more important.

Scientists in Manchester are developing intelligent, low-cost sensors that will allow more scientific ‘best before’ dates to be set by food producers and retailers. This could cut the amount of fresh food that is dumped as well as bring down its price in shops and supermarkets.

Read the rest of the story “Smart food sensors could cut the amount of fruit ‘n’ veg dumped

Zero waste heroes

Over at the Rubbish Diet, Mrs A set herself a mission during National zero waste week.

Now I’ve always put Mrs A at a bit of a lycra-clad, telephone box turning, superwoman myself; but she decided she needed to find herself a hero.

Find out how she got on with her “Almost Mrs Average seeks Zero Heroes and Slim Jims” post.

Recycling laws

My Zero Waste focuses mainly on the householder. In many instances we’ve highlighted situations in which householders are confused about or unaware of recycling facilities or bin collections.

It seems we are not the only ones.

This week, Jo Swinson, Scottish MP and environmental campaigner slammed the Government’s failure to inform companies of packaging waste responsibilities.

Talking about Red Bull being fined £270,000 this year she said “Increasing recycling rates is vital to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and packaging regulations are an important way of doing that. While it’s right that these fines should be applied, how can we expect businesses to become compliant when they don’t even know these laws exist?”

Read more with “Jo Swinson MP says companies “unaware” of packaging law

From landfill to incinerator?

The other week we told you that the Government had plans to ban some materials, such as aluminium, from the landfill.

After studying four European countries to look at how implementing bans on the landfilling of some waste has effected them, Green Alliance have noticed that ‘incineration was the greatest beneficiary of landfill bans and restrictions’ in some countries.

They said the government should “discourage the incineration of recyclable or compostable materials, to ensure they are treated as high up the waste hierarchy as possible”.

Read the DEFRA report on ‘landfill bans and restrictions in the EU and US

Recycling tea and coffee!

You may or may not be aware that tea leaves and coffee grounds are useful additions to the compost heap.

but there are heaps of other great reuse ideas too!

Find out more with Re-nest’s “How To Dispose of Used Coffee Grounds and Tea Leaves?

Reduce food packaging – eat locally

While we’ve been celebrating National Zero Waste week, our friends in Chicago are half way through their Locavore Challenge.

Individuals have committed to eating locally grown and produced food for two weeks and restaurants are supporting the challenge.

This week we did a little seed saving of our own, took some herb cuttings and we’re still harvesting goodies from the garden. With the beautiful Indian Summer here, perhaps it’s a challenge we could all set ourselves. Could you eat local food just for one day?

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 (6)

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  1. I think that given the right circumstances and maybe finances anyone could really eat more local in the short term.

    For myself, if I was allowed a 50 mile radius then I could quite easily as I not only have the normal butchers, veg farm shops (with local produce) and also farmers markets and Grimsby Fish Docks but there are also 2 flour mills which sells to the public.

    The main stumbling block would be things that we now count as staples but weren’t 50 years ago like pasta and rice, although I’m sure pasta could be made.

    It would be very interesting to go back to the type of foods used approx 50 years ago and just use those, like the wartime foods but not on rationing.

  2. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Great to see Mrs A taking part despite a hand injury. She is a big part of our trend and brings a different approach with community efforts a recent idea. Zero Waste has a family, or individual, approach. This new angle could be away to expand interest.

    Local food campaigns, like the Chicago city-based effort, are worthwhile since they encourage local development rather than relying on more distant sources. Self-sufficient, sustainable, activities are good for local and central economies.

    Jo’s dismay over recycling is familiar to our trend, where we all have different, competing systems. Business is way behind in many areas and government has been indecisive in promoting better practice. They have other difficulties of course. Change is happening, thankfully, and many issues we have addressed have moved forward.

    The aluminium ban, from landfill, is well intentioned, but with this unseen? EfW outcome. Poor recycling performance is reason behind the ban. The answer for this is to make it easy for consumers/ people at work to access the new compressing bin facilities recently mentioned on another topic. Aluminium/plastic combination is another factor in the metals recycling performance. The answer here is probably to stop using this material or make it easy to separate materials for recycling.

  3. Sarah says:

    @maisie dalziel: Pasta is dead easy – an egg and some strong flour, mix til you have a stiff dough that you can work reasonably easily and will roll without cracking, you can add a drop of olive oil to help if it gets too dry. You can add herbs, tomato, whatever you like for colour and flavour. I’ve got a pasta roller which makes it easier but you can just use a rolling pin and it works just as well. Ravioli is easy too – roll dough into sheets, then cut into squares, add filling and either put another square on to or fold over – whichever you prefer.

  4. LOL, thank you Mrs G. The Lycra only comes out on special occasions when I get a day off from washing pants. It would be great if your readers who are working on reducing their waste could pop over to The Rubbish Diet and add themselves to the LET’S WASTE LESS map, or it can be found directly at It’ll be fab to get a global picture of where everyone is located.

    It would be great if the food waste sensors come into fruition (‘scuse the pun). Individual waste is one thing, supermarket waste is another thing entirely.

    It’s been a busy weekend. Haven’t had time to blog about progress my this week, but hope to do that very soon 😀

  5. @Sarah:

    Sarah thanks for that, I know how to make pasta but just don’t really have the inclination.

    I do keep hinting on a pasta machine, so maybe then.

    thanks again

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie, I agree it would be an interesting experiment. This, of course, is where I question my choice of a vegetarian diet. i don’t eat eggs or cheese, so eating locally (with a healthy, balanced diet) would be very difficult for me as I eat a lot of rice and lentils. But certainly if I were to go back to meat we could do it as we have some great resources around here.

    @John Costigane: Hi John, I believe, like you, that if recycling were made easier for householders – easier for those who don’t really want to do it, I mean – there would be no need for incineration. I guess the question is, how do we encourage people who don’t really give a damn to go that extra mile to recycle? I don’t think we can unless we offer incentives …

    @Sarah: Thanks for the recipe, Sarah. It sounds like a faff to me, but it seems with practise it must become easier. It must taste very different to the dried stuff?

    @Almost Mrs Average: You get a day off from washing pants? You don’t know you’re born Mrs A 😉 I’ve managed to get the map up on the site, so I’ll bring people’s attention to it

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