Anyone for a cup of tea?

Filed in Blog, Videos by on April 21, 2011 32 Comments
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Ever the modern man, Mr Green is taught to knit by Tracey Smith

Ever the modern man, Mr Green is taught to knit by Tracey Smith

How many of you enjoy popping out for a tea or coffee?

The lovely Tracey Smith had a bit of time to kill yesterday while on her eco tour of Britain to promote her Community Blanket Project.

Like many people with a bit of time on her hands she called into a local pub to have a cup of coffee.The trouble is, it wasn’t quite the sustainable or zero waste coffee she had ever tasted.

In fact, she turned up on my doorstep asking to use my recycling facilities!

Tracey Smith shares her rubbish with Little Miss Green

Tracey Smith shares her rubbish with Little Miss Green

When we first ran my zero waste we used to have a monthly ‘dustbin demon’. It featured all those tiny, seemingly insignificant things we throw away without thinking – like an expired loyalty card, the seal around a jam jar or a plastic cork from a wine bottle.

Well Tracey found herself carrying around some dustbin demons of her own and here she is to tell you all about them.

Oh and while we’re talking about Tracey, she has given me a signed copy of her “Book of Rubbish Ideas” to give away to one lucky zero waster. To enter, let me know the most recent step you have taken to reduce your waste Β in the comments below and we’ll select a winner at the end of next week.

Tracey Smith signing a copy of her book for you to have!

Tracey Smith signing a copy of her book for you to have!

Next time you go out for a drink keep this video in mind and see if you could use the opportunity to ‘sow a seed’ about more sustainable options to the owner of the establishment.


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 (32)

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  1. penny says:

    Recently our local asda had a tetrapak recycling bin installed and i now save all my tetrapaks and take them with me when I visit the supermarket thus saving me even more room in my bin each week even though I only put it out every 3 weeks

  2. Julie Day says:

    What have I done recently? Well, earlier this year I emailed my local council recycling people to find out what I can and can’t recycle at home. I learnt that I can recycle jam jar lids, can labels and empty stamp booklets, all that I wasn’t sure about.

  3. Catherine says:

    I am new to the zero waste lifestyle and I am in love! I have always wondered how to reduce my carbon footprint and the information I am finding has been amazing! I have started using the bulk section only for all beauty products (I gave all my makeup to someone who will use it and donated my curling iron and blow dryer which waste a ton of electricity over the years when I don’t really need to), which has been whittled down to shampoo/soap combination, lotion, and vitamin E for my son’s diaper rash. I use no plastic when I can help it. I currently live with my parents while an Americorps Member and graduate student so I helped them build a greenhouse, keep up with the compost, and we send all #5 plastics in to Preserve to be recycled since we can’t recycle those in our area. I am making my own sandwich bags out of old sheets and have made bulk bags for produce and grains/legumes/nuts so I don’t have to mess with horrible plastic bags. I also just scanned ALL of my resources from school/work/future career finds onto my computer and recycled all the paper and donated all the binders and folders to kids in my school (very low-income area). I feel good knowing that I am doing my part to create a healthy earth for generations to come!

  4. Hazel says:

    I’ve just talked my friends sister into buying a couple of blueberry plants to replace at least some of the punnets of blueberries she buys at the moment. :0) A couple of plastic plant pots have to be better than all those punnets. I’m not even sure if she recycles them…

    Other than that, I have planted all my veg from seed this year, so I can avoid the plastic (or worse, polystyrene) pots of starter plants. I’m particularly pleased with my pea seedlings!


  5. denise yribarren says:

    I have made a concerted effort to slow down my routines around the house. (Tough one!) By slowing down and avoiding multi-tasking, I was amazingly more aware of my habits regarding recycling. I take a moment to seriously ask myself if I can reuse this product or if next time I could make this product myself. I surprised myself that I always use cupcake liners for baking. Never mind that I made the recipe from scratch. Are the liners mandatory or have I never taken the time to ask myself. This method has been surprisingly helpful to me.



  6. Claire says:

    Changed to washable breastpads rather than the chuckaway ones (and I suppose breastfeeding the baby counts as no formula packaging to bin or bottles to sterlise etc – definately the greener option)

  7. this spring, the snows having melted late, we found so many aluminum cans by roadsides and even more plastic beverage bottles. they had been thrown mindlessly–
    we could only recycle metal here. we also bring cardboard wrappers to the school bins to be trucked to the state capitol 2hrs from here once per month. i have asked other villagers to contribute; but it seems too much of an effort for people used to chucking huge trash-cans full each week.
    dozens of re-usable bags were sold, but only we and another couple use these routinely at the stores.

    as for food packaging, i take my own vegetable breathable perforated bags to purchase veges that i cannot grow in our mid western climate. all other vegetables and mushrooms, i harvest wild and grow in a small flower’ garden. i have begun disposing of my handy plastic containers and use second hand glass bowls for most foods. stainless for stovetop cooking. my best efforts for this year.

    latest effort = i have e-mailed a message to the franchise grocery store main office asking for responsible packaging and talked to the green-grocer for locally grown veges, both were very affable and cooperated..cellophane bread bags–smaller packages–and a barrel bin for plastic carry bags…squash and parsnips, local radishes grown by Amish farmers. it’s a start. thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Mike Smith says:

    I’ve reduced waste by reusing our shopping bags as bin-liners. I’ve also been saving yoghurt pots as seedling planters and tin cans as pots for when the seedlings get too big for the yoghurt pots.

  9. joanne says:

    we have installed a woodburner, and got through the winter without putting any other heating on, as there were storage heaters here when we moved. so with the woodburner and some good blankets we have hugely cut our energy consumption. we have also put in a large veg patch and i grow all our own veg, we have got ducks and chickens for eggs, and they are good at recycling scraps too.

  10. Lucy says:

    I have recently started using Juggit milk instead of the huge plastic containers we used to get. I thought it would be a massive hassle just for the sake of saving a bit of plastic but my recyling bin is loking a lot less full and the jug is really easy to keep clean and pours well. I heart Jugget milk now I only wish all the supermarkets would stock the milk bags!

  11. Paul Witney says:

    We already recycle all the normal stuff and are lucky enough to have roadside collection for plastic and cardboard as well as the usual bottles, cans, paper, etc. We also have the town’s main recycle centre very close by so it’s relatively easy to dispose of batteries, bulbs, oil, clothes, TVs, garden waste, wood, etc. Always looking for more tips though so the book would be a great asset.

  12. Anne Thompson says:

    I have a wood burner which is beautifully warm over the winter, i have started to grow more fruit and veg, and make my own marmalade, jam etc.
    Disappointed in council for not doing their bit, only collect paper, glass and cans and green from house, no card or plastic.

  13. heath gutowsk says:

    I have bought a wormery. The little worms work hard to process all kinds of natural things – peelings, egg shells, card, paper, tea bags, to name a few. Then I will have liquid fertilizer to help my veg plants grow, and compost for my plants as well.

  14. suzanne oneill says:

    i always take my floral shopper bags to the shops with me to cut down on carrier bag useage

  15. Isabelle Smith says:

    I’ve recently just won my university recycling changelle, i live with 10 people in a flat so im always going round collecting everyones recyclable materials and put them in bags for each type and empty at the end of the week

  16. Solange says:

    Reusing our shopping bags

  17. Heather Shaw says:

    We do the usual (cans, glass, paper) we have started taking out batteries to boots for recycling. We cook meals from out left overs or feed it to the pigs.

  18. Amanda Wakefield says:

    I keep all packaging that is sent to me for re-use when sending parcels, send all our old clothes and fabrics to either charity shops or for recycling and keep all the little scraps of soap for making a bigger bar when there’s enough. I’m looking for new ways to reduce our waste, so this book would be great!

  19. Lottiegirl says:

    We reuse all shopping bags and we are banning ourselves from buying something from the supermarket if we have recently bought it and ended up throwing it away (ham and olives seem to keep being thrown for some reason)

  20. Tracey says:

    As I’m now going to a 4-day week (part of my down-shifting plan), I’m hoping to start doing more regular cleaning on my “day off” and have invested in some bulk-purchases of Ecover cleaning products (which reduces the amount of packaging involved) and some micro-fibre cloths that I can use instead of kitchen roll…

    I’ve also started making all my own bread, which means no more plastic bread-wrappings and sticky-ties to go in the bin! πŸ™‚

  21. Tracey Smith says:

    It’s always so inspiring to hear people talking a load of ole RUBBISH!!! LOL…..Thank you Rachelle for posting the video and I see you’re working your magic getting people on board with the idea of doing that little bit more…

    ….if we all do a little bit more, it’ll make an awful lot of noise!

    WIth love and oodles of respect,
    Trace x x x

  22. Ren Chandler says:

    Well, I try and do lots of things to reduce my impact and our waste. Changing the way I shop so we have less plastic coming through the house has helped.
    My latest idea is the ‘declutter 1000 challenge’ ~ trying to remove things we no longer need / want, that can be rehomed, sold, ebayed, or recycled. Its a challenge I’m only up to number 21, but have given myself to the end of the year to reach this target!

  23. Great video of Smithy Mrs G. Captured it all. Disposable containers…….grrrrrrr. xxxx

  24. Poppy says:

    Great video and lovely to ‘see’ the person behind “The Book of Rubbish Ideas”. I already have a copy. I seem to remember that somewhere in the book, it was suggested that we should pass it on to share the ideas, but I’ve been hugely selfish and guard my copy jealously!! I did however buy several more copies to give as Christmas gifts. πŸ™‚

    Highly recommended πŸ™‚

  25. So true – they are quite outrageous; and also lacking in class, I think! If I ran an eatery it would be a matter of not wanting to use them coz they’re tacky too. Good point, well made Tracey!

  26. Julie says:

    Our recently new cooker has broken down for the second time in a few weeks and as it’s Easter they can’t get hold of the part for a few more days which has forced me to use no energy for cooking (just having salads)for the last week, but now this has made me think that I will carry on doing this to save wasting energy once or twice a week, even in the winter. So , out of bad things can come good if you look for it.

  27. Ryan Buckingham says:

    This year we have gone one step further then the local council. Last year was just recycling paper, glass, milk cartons etc. This year, we have our own compost which our nieghbours all use, and our local allotment owners help themselves to, in return, we have been able to lower the carbon footprint by carsharing, by saving all the carrier bags, and donate them to tescos and asda, and more importantly, have started our kids toilet training by reducing the amount of tissue they use, and only flushing their toilet at certain times of the day. (we have 3 toilets in our house, the kids use the main bathroom which is off limits to visitors).

  28. Robyn Clarke says:

    I’ve started a wormery to get rid of any food waste.

  29. Laura says:

    We already compost our food waste, have done for a few years, however recently I’ve started planning meals more to make sure every scrap is used and only peels/ends go in the compost. Also I use our local market for veg shopping, not the supermarket. Not only is it cheaper, but if you get the bowls of veg then you can just ask them to tip it in your resuable bag rather than give you a plastic bag.

  30. Dee Heath says:

    We must be the only people in the neighbourhood who raid their own skip – we keep telling the builders to leave wood out (goes to a friend with a wood burner), rocks went towards a local pond builder and bricks to a friend who is turning her garden into an allotment and even some leftover electrical wire (copper) went to a friend’s daughter for a sculpture project!

  31. Claire Higgins says:

    breastfeeding our beautiful bonus baby girl Tianna, and planning to cook all her baby food at home, so no extra jars and tins, xxx

  32. Emma Farrell says:

    My much loved nanna recently passed away and we have had to clear her house before it is sold and I recieve a final gift. We made sure we wasted as little as possible, eating the food from her freezer, recycling everything possible and giving lots of stuff to charity shops. Your pictures reminded me because I am using the old wool she kept to learn tio knit (making patches for a blanket) and any small bits for tying things in the garden.

    I also treated myself to a new piece of furniture – it would be new as I needed a footstool but instead I dfound a vintage/retro one at a car boot. I saved not only on energy etc of a new one but allthe packaging new things seem to come in!

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