Everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink

Filed in Blog by on October 14, 2009 8 Comments
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One man's rubbish from our recycle centre

One man's rubbish from our recycle centre

It’s been a real windfall week for us at zero waste towers recently.

Yesterday I grabbed some bargain apples (you can’t get better than free!) and dried them to make our own dried fruit. Last week I made tomato ketchup for next to nothing by ransacking the greenhouse for tomatoes.

This week another bargain, quite unexpectedly fell into our grateful laps. It’s been a year of ‘home improvements’ for us. Most of our projects have centred around the green living theme and we’ve been looking at ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

So far we’ve got most of the downstairs lighting running off LEDs powered by solar panels. We’ve had double glazing installed and now we have plans for a tankless water heater. This means we can have hot water en tap at the kitchen sink, but will need to put the immersion on for a bath.

At the moment the immersion comes on daily yet we don’t have a bath every day, so sometimes it’s wasted water that we’ve heated for nothing.

You know how it is though, once you’re in the throes of installing things and changing things around, all those ‘we should get around to this one day’ jobs start vying for attention.

I have dutifully put up with a spanner in place of a cold water tap in the kitchen for about 3 years. But now I’ve had enough of it.

During my major deep clean and declutter I became a tiny bit more house proud. Not ‘Home and Garden’ proud. Not even ‘Country Living’ proud, but more of a ‘I’d really love to have a tap rather than a spanner’ proud.

To install a tankless water heater, Mr Green will have to turn off the water. As the water is turned off, why not replace the tap at the same time? The ‘I have to drain the tank and turn off the water’ has been his excuse very good reason for not getting around to replacing my tap beforehand; so now I have him cornered.

To be fair it isn’t the easiest of tasks. Due to the age of our house, six houses all share the same water supply. We can’t isolate the water to just our house; if we turn it off we need to check with six neighbours first; so you always feel a bit responsible for getting the job done as quickly as you can.

So now I have a new tap thanks to Lidls I’m looking at my washing up sink. It’s white plastic, scratched, melted in places and you can’t get it clean. Once you look at the sink, you cast your eye over the worksurfaces; there is an area I once melted with a wok and another where water has gone underneath it and it’s bubbling up.

All of these things I have happily lived with for 8 or so years. I mean, having a grubby sink and an area of melted work surface isn’t the end of the world is it? But now I’m finding it annoys me. I would rather like to have a shiny sink and I would like a worksurface that reflects the light better because then we can use less lighting – when you’re limited to the amount of electricity you can use, every watt counts!

With my conscious easing about my desire for some new kitchen paraphernalia Mr Green and I planned a trip out to our local friendly DIY store to price up sinks. On the way we needed to do a couple of errands, including a stop at the recycling centre to drop off our wares.

Now, how’s this for Divine Intervention: Just as we were feeding our cardboard into the relative skip, a guy next to us headed to the metal recycling with a stainless steel sink! Yep a shiny, new looking sink – just the sort of thing I was about to spend £70 on.

Well, you can guess the rest of the story right?

Alas the trend is clearly for granite looking work surfaces, so I didn’t manage to get my white work surface yet, but I have a new shiny sink,  a grown up tap and a shower from Freecycle that we are going to use as a tankless water heater. It would appear that you can get everything you need, including the kitchen sink at our local recycling centre!

What about you? What bargains have you bagged through taking on someone else’s ‘rubbish’?

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. Jen CleanBin says:

    I love this!! I’m thinking renos lately, and I am definitely going to challenge myself to find things for free first. WHat a lucky find for you guys (ps – love your hardwood floors)

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m busily doing the opposite! I’ve just rehomed via freecycle: an old silk screen and the wiper thingy that went with it – gone to an art student who can clean it, remask it and use it for project work; a pair of electronic games – one pink and one blue – gone to a brother and sister who will love them for a bit longer rather than them gathering dust at my house; 2 old and very battered rugs – gone to someone just starting an allotment and they’ll insulate her newly started compost heap.

    I love freecycle. Just the broken workbench collection to be arranged and then to decide if I’m hanging on to the spare loo seat or not…

  3. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Great to see some worthwhile home improvements to make life a bit easier about the home. Replacing plastic with a metal sink has many pluses. From the Zero Waste perspective eliminating plastic based features with more sustainable choices can only provide further downward pressure on waste outcomes.

    One item I recently ended using was a cooking pot range with a non-metal insulation material in the base. All metal options will be the only type purchased from now on, after a breach in all bases of the discarded pots ended their usefulness.

  4. What a beautiful sink, Mrs. Green! Here at Casa Savvy, we have one just like it except made of porcelain. It’s white and dingy and I just love it — they don’t make too many sinks with built-in strainers these days.

  5. Condo Blues says:

    My in-laws had a load of bricks amongst a huge pile of rubbish on a property they recent got. I wanted brick hardscaping around my flowerbeds. Bricks that look like old pub walls. Well, those bricks in their pile were old and beat up and mine for the taking. I had enough to stack them three high and make a raised garden bed. They still had enough bricks leftover to make a large fire circle on their farm.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Jen CleanBin: Morning Jen, you know what? I LOVE my floors. We’ve had them for 3 years now and I still walk in here every morning and think how much I love them, especially when the early sun is shining on them – they’ve aged beautifully and have a kind of honey rose colour to them.

    @Sarah: Sounds great Sarah; I love a good declutter.

    @John Costigane: Hi John, yep, metal is the way to go. Plus the plastic sink has been burned and subsequently melted, which can’t happen with stainless. We even managed to freecycle a tap to go with it, so I’m very happy!

    @SavvyChristine: Ahhh, that brings back memories – a porcelain sink; I used to have an old fashioned enamel one in my last home; it was a monster of a thing but I loved it!

    @Condo Blues: How lovely! I love it when things like that work out – one man’s trash truly being another’s treasure. I bet your raised garden bed looks awesome and I think things like that look so much nicer with naturally aged products.

  7. Alea says:

    I have been intrigued by the tankless water heater for some time, you will have to give us an update and let us know how it works.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Alea: We will, Alea – so far so good, the electricity savings are huge already!

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