zero waste stories of the week

Filed in Blog by on March 13, 2011 13 Comments
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Does wine taste as good from plastic or tetra pak

Does wine taste as good from plastic or tetra pak

Welcome to this week’s roundup of reduce, reuse, recycle stories.

This week we’ve got everything covered from drinking wine to getting your glass clean afterwards!

Zero waste dishwashing

I get a monthly newsletter from Sally at Natural Spa Supplies and I was interested to read this month that you can use Soapnuts in your dishwasher!

I’ve heard of them being used in washing machines and even for rinsing your hair, but never in a dishwasher.

According to Sally’s neighbour, you can place 3-5 soapnuts in a dishwasher cutlery tray and whiter vinegar in the rinse solution compartment! Re-use the nuts for several loads, replacing the vinegar as needed…

I don’t have a dishwasher myself but I’d love to hear any feedback on this as it’s a greener way to wash your dishes! Thanks to Sally, we now have a zero waste way to wash and comb our hair.

Ask David Cameron to talk half as much rubbish

Friends of the Earth have launched a waste campaign and ask “are you sick of having to throw stuff away that could be recycled or reused?”

If you are (and I know many of you are) FOE need your help to make sure the Government’s new waste review puts things right.

Fill up the bin on their “Talking half as much rubbish” campaign page then add your details to send Mr Cameron a clear message about setting an ambitious goal to help homes and businesses reuse and recycle more and waste less.

let me know what you think – does armchair activism make a difference?

Tetra Pak containers for wine?

On Wall Street Journal this week was a lengthy, but fascinating article about wine packaging.

The author wonders if wine from a Tetra Pak can taste as good as from a glass bottle and meets someone who is pioneering putting wine into PET plastic bottles!

She also meets someone who reckons wine ‘filling stations’ are on the horizon.

Have a gander of  “Paper or Plastic? Wine by the Box, Keg and Can

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 (13)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    I certainly am annoyed at how much I throw away that can be recyled. Am seriously thinking of doing what you do and sending them back to the companies.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Let us know how you get on Julie. It’s a bit time consuming and you don’t always get a response, but I think you have the inner determination to do it!

  3. Simon Hewitt says:

    As a new reader of My Zero Waste I find it really encouraging to learn that there are so many different ways to reduce and recycle. Is there a central point of reference where information can be obtained on all items that can be recycled?
    Thank you!

  4. Teresa says:

    Why is it getting rid of stuff is so difficult if you don’t want to resort to landfill or even the green bag scheme? It feels like I’m trying to get rid of an infectious disease which I can only get rid of if I pass it on to somebody. Charity shops are over inundated with donated goods and only complain because no-one’s donating valuable items (such as antiques, first edition books, designer clothes still in fashion, heirlooms, crystalware and silverware) and selling them on E-bay instead. Well good for them. It’s the on-line equivalent of car boot sales.

    The irony most of what I’m trying to get rid of I didn’t buy in the first place but either bought at jumble sales or were unwanted Christmas presents so it’s not a shopping addiction problem on my part but due to other people’s shopping addictions. There’s also the stuff that belonged to my mother who has now passed away that my father refused to give away until recently.

    Bookcrossing is an excellent way to pass on books you no longer want to keep. No money changes hands and the books don’t end up stuck in the back room of a charity shop.

  5. Teresa says:

    I meant good for those people who prefer to sell their unwanted stuff on e-bay because they deserve a bit for it.

  6. I haven’t used soap nuts but I do use vinegar instead of rinseaid, have done for over 5 years.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Simon Hewitt: Hi Simon, welcome to the site and thanks for your comment. At the moment there is no central place for all the information, but our search, over on the right hand side, is excellent and pretty accurate. I’m working on an A-Z of recycling, but may be gone some time 😀

    @Teresa: bookcrossing is great. I do know what you mean about getting rid of stuff, but once you’re rid of it you can start to control what comes into your home and make better choices. That’s very much the stage we are at. My ‘stuff’ is becoming an increasing burden and it sometimes gets me down, but we have to work through little by little and see what we can responsibly dispose of. I’ve always been met with very gracious responses when regifting things, so it’s a shame you are not sensing that yourself.

    @maisie dalziel: Thanks Maisie! That’s good to know. I know of people who use borax as well with good results..

  8. Joddle says:

    I don’t know this to be true as I’m too young to have directly experienced this – it’s just the anecdotal opinions of my friends and family etc…

    Anyway it’s been suggested to me that modern appliances have a shelf-life built into them so that now they will last for not much longer than 12 years before they need to be replaced again.

    Certainly this would help increase profits. A washing machine that last 30 years isn’t going to drive industry or the economy.

    I’m told that older appliances – I know of a dishwasher that lasted 20 years – often lasted a lot longer. Any thoughts on this subject?

    Clearly any appliance made from metal and components is a large thing in itself and can become a significant piece of junk. For this reason I don’t personally have a dishwasher. They may save water but once dumped they have a negative environmental impact.

    Thoughts anyone?? I’m really curious about this issue.

  9. Teresa says:

    Built-in obsolescence started in the 1950’s but it really has only come into it’s own now. Gadgets don’t last as long as they did in the 1970’s and the ones manufactured then don’t last as long as gadgets manufactured in the 1950’s. Even if the piece of equipment is robust then spares will eventually become no longer available so be sure to stock up on them. However you could end up with spares to a piece of broken down equipment.

    I don’t have a dishwasher either. I think they are for the workplace, hotels, hostels and large families not for small households.

  10. Teresa says:

    @Mrs Green: At first as I was getting rid of stuff found that all I was doing was making room for other stuff and most of it wasn’t bought by me. It was other people decluttering their stuff into my home and I had to learn to say ‘no’ and yes it did lead to a few fallings out. You soon realise who your friends are when you make things plain and clear. I was soon afraid to declutter in case more stuff came in and then somebody told me that the way to deal with clutter is to first and foremost not let in come into your home in the first place.

  11. Joddle says:

    Hi Teresa,

    I’m interested by your comments on built in obsolescence. Modern appliances have a lot of unnecessary stuff built into them which I’ve always thought is just more to go wrong. Am I right in thinking the more strictly mechanical something is e.g. an old dishwasher, the easier it was to fix?

    Now there are likely to be lots of electronic components which would require a specialist engineer – whose expertise is potentially brand-specific.

    ~However, having just brought this up with my mum she says EVERYTHING is better now and that things used to break down all the time.

    Really we only have to look at the disappearance of appliance repair shops (now replaced with computer repair shops) to know that it must be cheaper to replace goods than it is to fix them now. This only leads to more waste!

  12. Poppy says:

    My personal experience has been that supposed obsolescence is very often related to finances and easy come, easy go money. One relative for instance, deals with everything via a credit card and lives her life on bought finance. When we started out, we started with begged and borrowed goods. Nearly everything was second hand. We gradually replaced it. My relative had everything new and replaces faulty or damaged goods, or those not quiet trendy enough, with more new.

    When I was in full time employment, the thought of spending £100 on a new vacuum cleaner or a few hundred on a washing machine was a minor inconvenience that I could live with. Now times are a little harder, make do and mend is my first thought. My hoover has had a visit to the repair shop and a seperate purchase of another small part for it in the last 12 months, when it would previously been ditched in favour of a new model.

    When the washing machine started making horrible noises, I called the repair shop and paid £30 for the guy to come out and put it right.

    Neither are the latest flash models, but they still do the job they were originally bought for, so I don’t need or want new,

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @Joddle: Hi Joddle, oh lucky you to be too young to know about this LOL! I can certainly say that things seem a little more ‘flimsy’ than they used to be (thinking of my Mum’s typewriter compared to say a £40 inkjet printer) and VCRs seemed to last forever whereas mobile phones seem to die after 18 months. Plus many items have ‘non serviceable parts which means you can’t repair them AND most of the service repair shops seem to have disappeared from street corners only to be replaced with discount electrical stores!
    I have a post coming up on this topic soon, so stay tuned!

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