Zero waste week

Filed in by on January 11, 2009 149 Comments

zero waste week

Gloucestershire’s zero waste week takes place 26th January 2009 until 1st February. The aim is to get you thinking about your own rubbish. Could you use this week to recycle more, compost more, find ways to reuse things or start changing your shopping habits?

Despite its name, you don’t have to go zero waste, just jump in where you are and try your best to reduce your waste. One of the simplest things to start with is taking your own reusable bags to the shops. Another simple step is to use your kerbside collection facilities.

If you want to find out why you should take part, then read what the council have to say. The challenge is for anyone living in Gloucestershire, and you can sign up here. Download a resource pack, which includes a monitoring chart and questionnaire.

We’ve created this page for residents who are taking part to document their experiences, ask for help, share resources and generally cheer one another along. But don’t feel discriminated against. If you don’t live in the area please join in anyway and let us know how you are doing.

You never know, your council might run their own zero waste week in the future, so have a weeks practise run by taking part in ours!

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 (149)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Clare says:

    Well, I’ve done it – signed up this morning (I live in Cheltenham)

    My biggest bugbear is leftover food that doesn’t get eaten – I need to work hard on that.

    Most annoying niggle – plastic windows in envelopes; I can’t work out what I can do other than bin these.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Clare, Congrats on being our first Gloucestershire resident to comment on our page and well done for signing up!

    Food waste can be a big issue for many families – do you have children? We find it’s ok with Mr Green and myself, but Little Miss Green has needed some coaching in that department! Now we have a kind of ‘rule’ that we take a small amount and can come back as often as we like until we have had enough. It’s working sometimes, but not others when eyes are bigger than bellies….

    I’ve written some tips on food waste here

    With the window envelopes I tend to slice them open and then reuse them by putting a re-use sticker over the window, (but that probably creates more waste than the original envelope, thinking about it), but other than that they need binning.

    Good luck with the challenge and keep us posted on your progress.

  3. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi Clare and hello again Mrs Green

    Apart from food waste (am baby led weaning a toddler) my biggest problem has got to be plastic! We’re thinking of foods we can use that week that can recycle all the packaging – corned beef hash and frozen strawberry cheesecake are 2 ideas so far. And pancakes with fruit for breakfast.

    Good luck Clare.

  4. Sally says:

    Dog poo – I put a carrier bag in the bin every week – other than taking it to the park poo bin is there a greener way to dispose of it? I know you can’t put it on the compost heap as it is too acidic.

    Any suggestions/


  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Mrs J, ahhh, the weaning toddler; well I think we can let you off some food waste. Good luck with that and we know it’s only a temporary thing. Strawberry cheesecake sounds like a lovely thing to be eating during zero waste week; it makes it worth doing EVERY week! I think many people will find food packaging an issue, so we’ll address that on the site with a post either this week or next 🙂

    Hi Sally, Welcome to the site!
    There are a couple of ideas I have, but I’m sure people will be along with better suggestions.

    A dog loo in the garden is the first (I don’t know the financial outlay of one of these, or the overall environmental cost when you put chemicals into it, but people that have them talk favourably about them) or, if you have the space, a friend of mine has two compost areas – one for the ‘good’ stuff which is used on the garden and one for her cat litter and contents, which eventually rots down to nothing. Would either of these be an option for you?

    Corks? A boarding kennel for the week? 😀

  6. Peter Jay says:

    Thinking about the zero waste week our main problem is going to be plastic wrappers especially those that come in the post.When I was a child all newspapers and magazines in the post were rolled and secured with paper – no plastic at all. We can see that changing our habits is also going to be a major item – how to buy without wrappers will probably mean farm shops rather than supermarkets and could involve more travel which would be against the spirit of the exercise. I think I shall do what a friend always does and that is to unwrap everything at the checkout. I have an allotment so composting is not a problem. I am assuming that recycling is ok despite all the recent adverse publicity?

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Peter, welcome to the site and good luck with your challenge. You bring up an interesting question about recycling. I think a decrease in prices and the whole ‘ships to China’ thing has put a lot of people off. It is something Mr Green and I explore frequently.

    As we see it there are two ‘levels’ if you like, of zero waste. The first is to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost all that you can so that minimal landfill waste is left. The next level is to change lifestyles radically so that even recycling is reduced dramatically.

    Did you know that many supermarkets who collect carrier bags for recycling will also take the polythene wrapping magazines, toilet rolls and kitchen rolls come in? It’s worth asking at your local branch. And unwanted junk mail can be reduced by signing up for the Mail Preference Service:

    I understand about the need to balance the overall environmental picture – no point in driving an extra 10 miles just to buy unpackaged carrots. Unwrapping at the checkout is a good compromise and hopefully during the harvest months your usage of plastic wrapping is considerably less due to your allotment 🙂

  8. Anthony Carter-Smith says:

    My biggest problem that people aren’t addressing is recycling recyclable plastics. My wife and I like to buy organic products in recyclable plastic. I have spoken to Tewkesbury BC (I live in Bishops Cleeve) who say no one wants to recycle the plastics at present. Why are retailers encouraged to use recyclable products when there are no facilities to recycle them???

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Anthony,
    Good to see you here and you bring up a great point. It’s an issue I hope some of our readers will get stuck in to. It’s one we have discussed a lot, and of course, not being in a position of authority I have no idea why this is allowed to continue.

    I feel that the confusion over what can and cannot be recycled is one of the key factors in putting people off from even trying.

    We share your frustration, but alas, have no answers at present.
    Hopefully someone from Gloucestershire county council will be able to explain things further.

    The products that you buy in recyclable plastic; are they fruits and vegetables? Have you explored the idea of a box scheme?
    An article that might interest you is this one on plastics recycling:
    Maybe it will provide you with a compromise for the situation of recyclable plastic until local facilities are improved.

  10. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi Anthony

    Maybe we should hold some sort of protest then because we at Tewkesbury BC DO want to recycle. The nice lady came to see us at a group I go to and said it’s more to do with money issues than anything. We want to know why is it places like morrisons are always overfilled with recycling and not emptied yet there are signs warning us if we leave our recycling next to the containers we are fly tipping.

  11. Katherine says:

    Our biggest issue is cat litter. We use the woodchip stuff that turns into sawdust when it has been used, but we never know what to do with the waste.

    I read your comments Do you need any special facilities for composting cat litter? What sort of composting container would we need and does it have to be kept in hygenic conditions or away from certain areas?

    • We tried several mole deterents to keep the moles from digging molehills all over my daughters lawn.We did not want to harm them.
      At last we found a way that worked. Used cat litter!
      It was dug into the borders surrounding the lawn and the moles smelling the cats just turned back into the woods.
      I assume you can dig it into the borders whether you had moles or not, or find someone with a mole problem but no cats.

      • Mr Green says:

        what a brilliant reuse for the cat litter – thanks for sharing! I’m sure that will help a lot of people in their quest for a mole free lawn 🙂

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Katherine – welcome 🙂
    Regarding the cat litter that turns into sawdust. I guess any special facilities would depend on your needs as a household. Do you have young children that could be at risk if they get into the litter or is it just adults?

    Personally, I would just use a regular composting bin or heap; nothing special. There are many types available such as the dalek type bins which are great for small gardens, to exposed piles for larger gardens.

    I have to admit, I tend not to get too concerned about these things. Cats pee in my garden all the time; including on the beds where I grow crops. So I would probably remove the solids and add the wet litter to the compost pile along with all the other kitchen waste and grass cuttings. I might then use that compost for non-edible areas such as under trees or around flowers.

    I’m hoping others will come along to give you their advice too. I’d love to hear the opinions of those who feel it is wrong to add to the compost heap to see if they can offer any alternative solutions.

  13. Jan says:

    Hi all

    Suggestion for things like windows in envelopes – cut round them and give to local playgroup they can probably use them as windows in pictures or cardboard models. I pass loads of items on all sorts of cardboard packaging, plastic food trays, yogurt pots, they can usually find a use for them – even sweet tins from xmas. Hope this of use

  14. Mr. Green says:

    Hi Jan thanks for the tips on reuse. We occasionally have those black PET-1 food trays. I have found that they are very useful as plant pot drip trays. We receive very little junk mail these days, thanks to the postal preference service , so any envelopes we have are carfully cut open and reused for our own letters.

  15. Fiona Hunt says:

    Just a query about drink cartons, the type you get orange juice in. I had heard you can recycle them and then was told that they have a coating on the inside so you can’t. Should I be buying the juice in plastic containers so they can be recycled instead? I don’t fancy the idea of having to squeeze my own orange juice in the morning.

    Thought I might try making my own yoghurt for the week to save on the plastic containers.

  16. Karen says:

    Hi all – I cut the plastic windows out of my envelopes, bin the plastic and recycle the rest of the envelope.

  17. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi Fiona
    Our morrisons has a designated container for the orange juice cartons. Their value range are just the box (cheaper and smaller too) without the plastic bit at the top and clearly say they are tetrapacks.

    My envelopes with windows I use to send letters, money, dinner money etc to my children’s schools.

  18. Mrs Green says:

    Morning everyone! Good to see you Jan, Fiona and Karen.

    Jan, that’s some great ideas you have there. Another thing I have wondered about is donating to the local scrap store; but I’m not sure if it is only businesses who can do this. I guess things like windows from envelopes would be great for someone who likes to make their own handmade cards.

    Fiona, you can find details of your nearest carton (tetrapak) recycling facility with the Tetrapak Recycling Locator: and if you want to know more, I’ve written about it here:

    Hi karen, I think a lot of people do as you do. But I have to admit, then until recently I didn’t even KNOW you were supposed to remove the windows before recycling. Our poll would indicate that I was not alone, so I wonder how many find there way into the paper recycling. Fortunately I keep mine for reuse, but let’s hope that the loads are not being contaminated beyond use.

    Mrs J – are you happy to say which Morrisons is your local one? It might help other residents in your area who are checking this page. Nice to see someone else reusing their window envelopes 🙂

  19. ClaraP says:

    Wow everyone here is SO inspiring! So much collective wisdom gleaned in just five minutes of reading. You folks rock…

    I wanted to share something I just received in my inbox about a very different form of zero waste … I guess you could call it “zero emotional waste” … “Transform regrets into realisations and therefore ensure that what could be waste is made into something worthwhile” …


    VegBox Clara

  20. Poppy says:

    While considering zero waste week and the future feeding of my furry friends, I was hit by a memory blast from the past! Whatever happened to pet mince? Was it another victim of the BSE crisis?

    It seems such a shame that so many of the things that we happily used have been sterlised out of existence. I remember as a child, that our dog used to spend hours in the garden gnawing on a bone, but you can’t even get those anymore, only the revoltingly smelly roasted/smoked ones 🙁

  21. carolyn billingsley says:

    We have chickens and feed all our left over scraps – except chicken! – to them, and in return we get fabulous free range eggs. You don’t much land – a garden is fine- and they require minimum work.

  22. Aunty Rubbish says:

    Afternoon everyone,

    I have just been reading though your comments and questions almost of which are answered by Mrs Green

    For further ideas about dealing with leftover food you could also look at the Love Food Hate Waste website, which is packed with useful advice about using and storing our food as well as loads of fab recipes.

    Good Luck to everyone taking part in the Zero Waste Challenge Week.
    Aunty Rubbish

  23. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Clara, thank you for the link. It’s good to be carrying zero emotional waste around with us too 🙂

    Pet mince, Poppy? I’ve never heard of that. Our butcher will still give us fresh bones and other offcuts for the animals. I used to get cow thighs for my dog and he’d spend days grinding them up!

    Hi Carolyn; chickens are a brilliant way to use up scraps. We don’t have any, but four of our neighbours do. We sometimes benefit from the free eggs and they are amazing.

    Hi Aunty Rubbish – So glad you were able to visit us today. Most of the people here will recognise you from the council’s zero waste newsletters no doubt :). Thanks for the link to love food, hate waste; it’s a great site with lots of useful information that many of us can benefit from. Hoping to catch up with you on Friday!

  24. Poppy says:

    Butchers and some of the small supermarkets of old used to do it. I think it was the not so good trimmings off the stuff they were selling. I wonder where it goes now?

    I worked in a butchery department for a while and the butchers used to take stuff back upstairs that was looking a bit tired, trim it to repackage and put back on sale or chuck into the mincer if a little too far gone to rescue! I wonder what happens to it now that so few of the supermarkets have on site butchers?

  25. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Poppy,
    interesting stuff. I’ll ask our butcher when I’m next in there and let you know.

  26. Danielle says:

    Hi everyone,

    Nice to see plenty of commenting here 🙂

    I signed up for this at the Farmers Market but I admitt I had forgotten about it until the email I received the other day! Quite motivated about it now though.

    A slightly on topic-ish question… Are there any social groups in Glos City Centre that have a ‘greenish’ theme? I moved here quite a while ago but I’ve found it very unfriendly, and I thought finding a group with similar interests to do things like this with might be a good start.

    Does anyone here know about any groups like that?

    Anyway, I need to go and find some scales to weigh my rubbish 😉


  27. Kris says:

    Please can we have a link for Aunty Rubbish’s newsletters… 🙂

  28. Kris says:

    I’ve been spending a bit of time thinking and planning for Zero Waste Week, though I haven’t yet read through the material they’ve sent me which I must do!

    One of the things I’ve reflected on though is that like Mrs A’s crisps and Mrs G’s yoghurts I have my own packaging horror which I just don’t want to give up – in my case microwavable rice sachets. I *really* like being able to forget about the rice until everything else is ready, and also like the flavours and the predictability of it coming out right and not needing rinsing (and therefore ending up cold by the time its on the plate). I’m not sure what my choice will be going forward – accept this as an occasional thing where I’ve weighed up and concluded I still want the product or change over, but I guess that during ZWW it’s out, so I just need to plan other meals.

  29. Hi Mrs Green,

    Zero Waste Week is a time to take up, and maintain, good habits. One idea is to collect all your tinfoil, exclude all plastic foil look-alikes. After any necessary cleaning, form into a ball.

    My own tinfoil ball is now 45g, size of a peach. There could be a prize later on in the year for the best effort from the start of the year. The ball I have is merely an example and not eligible for a prize.

  30. Elisabeth Skinner says:

    Where do I take my Christmas tree for recycling. Last year the Stroud News and Journal advertised tree recycling and I took it to the collection point at the Focus store. Not there this year and nothing in the SNJ.

  31. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Danielle, welcome to the site – glad to see you are joined up and feeling motivated about things! As for ‘green groups’ I’m not sure, a good start might be the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust or why not put up an ad on the Gloucestershire message boards?
    Another idea is to sign up to Gloucestershire Freecycle, if you’re not already a member and ask around on the cafe. I’m sure someone on there will help you.

    Kris, the newsletters are sent out via email to all the people who have signed up for the challenge. I’ll ask her if there is an archive of them somewhere. It’s funny that we all have our ‘thing’ we’re not quite ready to let go of. I would just do without for zero waste week and see how you get on. If you DO decide to experiment then basmatti rice is the easiest to get right……

    Hi John, the tinfoil balls are great and an easy way to store something that can become a bit wayward; especially when collecting tiny pieces like stock cube foils and the tiny pieces from tetrapak cartons. A competition sounds fun!

    Hi Elizabeth, welcome to the site. I’m afraid you have missed the Christmas tree collections if you look at your district council page:
    The skips were removed on 14th.
    A call to the council should provide you with an answer and I have heard that some garden centres take them, so perhaps you have a local one you could call.
    Are you taking place in zero waste week? What plans do you have?

  32. Elisabeth Skinner says:

    Yes I’ve signed up for Zero waste week but I have very little waste to deal with already – except a Christmas tree – currently squashed into the back of my car looking for a home. The garden waste dump in the back of my garden is already huge – truly huge – it takes forever to break down and is in danger of sliding down the bank into my neighbour’s garden. I wonder if they have stopped collecting them in Cheltenham too – I work near the Swindon Road Waste Collection Centre. Work commitments made it difficult to get the tree to a recycling point and I don’t take mine down till the 6th January – the 14th doesn’t give you much time I feel. Shame.

  33. Poppy says:

    There is a garden waste collection at Swindon Rd Elisabeth. I don’t see any real difference between your tree and any other garden wate, so they should take it.

  34. Ed Barker says:

    We bought a bird table this weekend and it is already helping us reduce the amount of food waste left over after meals, particularly bits of bread – my children don’t eat the crusts for some reason.

  35. Mrs Green says:

    Hi again Elisabeth; it’s great to hear you have signed up and are doing so well already. Let’s hope Poppy’s information can help you with a tree. Failing that you might have to give it to someone with a garden shredder as free composting material 😀

    Hello Ed – welcome to the site. I bet the birds are loving your food scraps. Feeding the birds is a wonderful way to incorporate so many things into life; reducing your food waste, doing something great for our feathered friends and a bit of pleasure and education for ourselves and family. We’ve started to scrape off the cats plate outside after meals and the birds eat all the bits of dried meat from it. Who’d have thought!? Good luck with the zero waste challenge; which part do you think you will find easiest to do?

  36. Sandi Beecher says:

    I am finding it quite difficult to print out the pages to complete for what rubbish I have this week. Someone said they would get back to me but didn’t.

    I never have trouble with left over food. Soups can be made out of anything leftover and are always lovely or leftovers can be added to the next stir fry or other meal that is made. As a last resort we have chickens who are very appreciative of any left over left overs and stale bread etc. I too have very little waste normally as we manage to recycle most things. I recently did an access to art course and made a lot of my art pieces out of recycled “rubbish”.

  37. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sandi, welcome to the site. Hopefully Aunty Rubbish will be along to sort out your query about the forms. If you run into problems and can get to a local one; you can usually print off web pages at your library.

    It sounds like you have food waste down to a minimum and I agree about the soup; I guess the chickens can really help with reducing food waste too. I would love to see your art; using recycled materials is such a great way to make a statement. What a lovely idea for using up your non recyclable materials.
    Enjoy zero waste week!

  38. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all

    Feeling very pleased with my efforts so far (even if they aren’t as great as some others). My oldest son made the most beautiful bread rolls at school and shall be making more at the weekend ready for our big week ahead. My middle son forgot to bring his rubbish home from school so we can count it; but I did manage to have a word with his Head teacher about food waste (which gets taken away by sodexho) and he was interested in learning more about zero waste week and said he would do an assembly on Friday about it :O)

    My Morrisons where you can recycle many things is in Tewkesbury. I discovered that their value orange juice is in a smaller carton, doesn’t have a plastic spout and is cheaper – bargain! (And clearly states it is a tetrapack so can be recycled).

    Today I popped into a shop that sold lots of cheese on the high street and was told that I could get some cheese wiht no packaging there. I was unsuccessful in finding grapes not in a bag (can’t really afford to send off my plastics I’m afraid) but was told that at certain times of year you can (mainly the ones from Italy at Christmas time).

    Tomorrow I have toddler group and so shall naturally be bringing zero waste week into conversation again lol. Hope everyone’s rubbish counting is going well.

  39. Poppy says:

    Would you Adam and Eve it??

    There we are working hard toward our Zero Waste goal and then Junior brings home a list from Cubs of things that they need to work toward their Science badge.

    Glass Jar – okay we can do that.

    500g yoghurt pot with lid – errmm, no.

    I litre fruit juice carton – okay.

    Margarine tub/Chinese takeaway tub with lid – may have one or the other lurking in a cupboard.

    Chinese takeaway tub with Lid – what another one?? No chance!

    1 litre plastic bottle – nope!

    Small plastic bottle – possibly.

    I looked, I saw, I cursed, but I will not be beaten!!

  40. Aunty Rubbish says:

    Good Afternoon Everyone,

    Sorry to have been away but those roving roadhsows were a great experience, we chatted with lots of interesting people and learnt how some of them were planning to tackle the challenge. I have eventually warmed up enough to respond to some of your questions. We now have 1138 people, communities and schools sign-up for the challenge we some of my colleauges out today encouraging even more to get involved.

    We are putting the monitoring and feedback forms onto so there will be no need to print and return the forms unless you really want to. I would encourage everyone to feedback their experiences and how they got on through the week, the information will help us with our waste reduction efforts in the future.

    We are also going to get an Aunty Rubbish page on the site with links to all the messages we have sent out so far and any new ones we send over the next few days.

    Good luck to everyone I can’t wait to see how you all get on.
    Aunty Rubbish.

  41. Karen says:

    Hi Aunty Rubbish
    We went to Brockworth Tesco especially today to meet your colleagues! They looked cold but happy! Your female colleague was a substitute ‘Aunty Rubbish’ so my 4 year old wasn’t too disappointed that you were in the office.
    Starting to get organised for next week – still got lots to think about but I know we will deffinately have less rubbish next week and will have started good habits that we will continue!

    Good luck to all!

  42. Mrs Green says:

    Aunty Rubbish – that is a **fantastic** figure and no doubt increasing by the minute. Well done everyone!
    It’s great that you are going to update the site too; I know many people will be eager to catch up with things over there.

    Hi Karen, good to see you and I’m glad you enjoyed the Roadshow. I’d love to hear what you have been up to with your plans for the week. We’ve done nothing yet, but I have a kind of plan 😉

  43. Karen says:

    Hi Mrs Green,
    Your wish is my command – a quick run-down of my plans for next week! Some of it is things I’ve been thinking about for a while but Zero Waste Week has made me get on with it!!!
    I finally bought a Mooncup a month or two back. Very happy with it so far.
    I plan to bake biscuits on Saturday so less waste.
    I have dug out the silicon ice lolly makers I have to make smoothie or fruit juice lollies (the boys have lollies for pudding, so all those plastic wrappers add up).
    I have finally ordered some more cloth hankies and some reusable make up wipes from
    I wil be sewing some thin calico drawstring bags this week to take shopping with me so I don’t need plastic bags for produce.
    I have ordered more Bokashi bran for the compost bins so I can get that going again.
    I have moved and reorganised my recycling storage to make it tidier!!
    I got a children’s book out of Gloucester Library called Reducing Rubbish (by Sue Barraclough) and will be sitting down with my boys this week to make sure they understand what we are trying to do (they are 10 and 4).
    I’m generally looking at packaging when I shop to try and make substitutes.

    What I haven’t done in any depth yet, is to plan what we are going to eat.
    I know that is going to take some thinking about but I’m confident I can do better next week with waste than I normally do. And remenber, I’m using next week as a start of my Zero Waste journey not the end!!!

    Sorry if this is a bit long-winded folks, hope it helps someone! Good Luck.

  44. Ed Barker says:

    On Saturday I removed all the bins from the house (apart from the backroom) and the impact was huge. It is amazing how one automatically bins something without thinking. The kids (8 + 11) very nearly went into tailspin but this morning when I put the bags out for collection we only had one rather than the usual 3. I replaced the main bin in the kitchen with various recycling boxes including one labelled ‘not sure’. What we have found already is that it is only plastic items and packaging that defeat us. That constituted the equivalent of one small carrier bags worth of waste this week, so it will be interesting what we can achieve next week now we are all used to thinking about waste disposal rather than just binning things without any thought. Even my wife ( who is a bit of a recycling sceptic) is enjoying the experience! What we now need to do in preparation for next week is alter our buying patterns so that we don’t bring any of that difficult non-recyclable waste into the house.

  45. Ed Barker says:

    Sorry, I was referring to the bin in the ‘bathroom’!

  46. Aunty Rubbish says:

    I love the idea of a ‘Not Sure’ box for materials which the family are unsure about. I think I will add one of these to my collection of recycling containers at home.

    I have a bokashi composter in the kitchen and what a difference it has made to our wasting of food, not only do we now weigh pasta and rice before cooking but we now take a good month of more to fill one before maturing it and adding to the compost bin in the garden.

    I agree with Karen planning the menu for next week is key to success with the challenge, I too have to sit down and plan the meals andd then shop accordingly.

  47. Aunty Rubbish says:

    I forgot to mention that 1282 people, schools and communities have now signed up for the zero waste challenge.

    Wishing everyone who takes part a successful week, I can’t wait to hear how you have all got on.
    Aunty Rubbish

  48. Karen says:

    Ed, great idea about the bins and especially the ‘not sure’ box. Thanks for the idea, I was wondering how I was going to help the boys put the right things into the right place.

  49. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Karen, I loved hearing about all the things you have been doing towards zero waste week; you sound like things are well planned and I know your list will help many other people who are taking part. I haven’t thought about food yet either 🙂

    Ed, we too found that once we removed the kitchen bin it made a big difference to our recycling and rubbish reduction. It’s so easy to throw something away and forget about it; a bin right next to you is convenient; but having to think about how you will dispose of something dramatically reduces landfill waste.

    Aunty Rubbish – that figure is amazing; I can’t believe how many people are still signing up. It’s very exciting and I hope you get back the forms from people.

  50. lynne says:

    My husband and i (& 3 kids) have been trying to recycle for a while now. Am finding Tesco Brockworth really beneficial because of the machine they have there. Its the reducing that the hardest part for me. We do try and buy things that have less packaging and have stop putting, for eg, two onions in a plastic bag, am just chucking them in the trolley instead. But am finding some of the products that have less packaging are more expensive!!

  51. Kris says:

    Thanks Mrs G! I have just sent a stiff email to Tewks BC complaining that I haven’t had my Aunty Rubbish missives or any other email encouragement – pah! 😉

    Poppy – I can post you a couple of takeaway tubs if you like?

    Mrs Jackson – I’ve gone over to grapes in my own bag with no problem if they are sold by weight. I’ve now got a set of Trolly Dolly net bags but used to just reuse the little light plastic bags that they put out for vegetables, taking one in from home. (And is that 1471 for cheese – lovely shop!)

    I’ve been to the HRC today – very relaxed visit, just went straight to the cardboard hopper and gave it everything in my boot! I’m now free of all the Christmas packaging which I kept until sure no-one needed an exchange, a lot of food packing which was really building up, and wrapping paper from Christmas and this weeks birthday. And… this can’t be underestimated – I now have my car boot back too!

    We also tried shopping on Monday for a tidy hall solution – somewhere to stash the ongoing recycling in a neater way. Unfortunately we haven’t found the right things yet (it’s an awkward space) but it’s great for me to have my oh on board with it.

  52. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Lynne, welcome to the site and well done on all the recycling and reducing you are doing. I would love to hear more about the expense side of things. We seem to get asked this question alot and I haven’t found it to be more expensive – some things are, yes, but others are cheaper, so I reckon it evens itself out. Could you expand a little?

    Hi Kris, well done; let’s hope you get a response. And I’m glad you are finally free of your Christmas waste; it feels good to finally release it all. Good luck with setting up a recycling area. I’d love to see a picture of it when you’re done. I think it’s inspiring to share ideas. We’re very lucky because space isn’t an issue here, but I know it is a real challenge for a lot of people and I’d love to see how different people deal with it. I hope you find something nice 🙂 Here is ours:

  53. Sandi Beecher says:

    What’s a bokashi composter? I just put my compost in a small bin in the kitchen and empty it once a week onto the compost heap. I have always weighed or measured quantities of pasta or rice, thus rarely have left overs- although rice can be used the next day and added to the next day’s cooking. I have never had problems with waste food and am amazed at all those who find this a problem and I don’t plan much at all. Perhaps being mostly veggie, buying storeable stuff in bulk and always cooking from fresh makes a difference. Then you only have the packaging from the small amount of things you can’t grow or buy from the Farmer’s Market to get rid of.

  54. Aunty Rubbish says:

    Hi Sandi

    A bokashi is a small kitchen composter designed to deal with food waste, including meat and bones which after maturing we then add to our compost bin. With 2 kids I do find it useful to have especially as one of them is only 2 and does not always eat everything I give him however small the portion.

    I try to cook from fresh most nights but its not always easy to decipher what a teenager and a toodler want to eat, its normally completely different meals!

    We try to buy in bulk especially things like washing powder when ever possible.

  55. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all

    Was disappointed that the “Tewkesbury” roadshow didn’t really come to Tewkesbury. I’ve had that with a bokashi it can attract rats when you put it in your compost bin – is there any truth in this? Is there much difference between one of these and the compost bins you can put your waste cooked food straight into (apart from the initial price and the inside/otside factors).

    It was our bin day today and am disappointed to say we’ve already filled 3 carrier bags since counting our rubbish on Monday (that’s for 2 adults (1 pregnant), an almost teen, a 5 year old and toddler.

    Am thinking of my meal planning but need to check whether the plastic my bread and potatoes come in can be sent to that nice company Mrs Green sends hers too.

  56. Poppy says:

    Thanks Kris, but I think we’ve solved that part of the problem 😉

    The one I’m really stuck on is the 500ml yoghurt pot with lid!! I think I’m going to have to post a very bizarre wanted on Freecycle!

    With regard to the composting, I was talking with my sis-in-law at the weekend. They have a very large garden and had a self-made compost bin and although they haven’t had any problems, their neighbours did have rats. The advice they were given by the A-team that were called in was to remove the structure of the bin and just have a heap, the logic being that this doesn’t warm up so much, so is not so inviting to the four legged friends. The compost takes longer to break down, but as they have such a huge amount of space, it’s not an issue.

  57. Danielle says:

    Poppy, I think I have a 500ml yohgurt pot in my fridge… with lid… I’ll have to check its the right size (assume thats the big ones?). Your welcome to it as soon as I’ve finished the yoghurt! If you live anywhere near the city centre, we could probably arrange a rubbish swap!

    On the same note… I need two of the big fizzy pop bottles for a practical in my degree course… does anyone know of a recycling bin in town which I could raid where people WON’T see me and think I’m a tramp?? The supermarket ones are all a bit exposed and I’ve been so good about not buying platic bottles… :/

  58. Sandi Beecher says:

    The company who will take the plastics stuff sound really nice but before considering the cost of posting 100 yogurt pots why not ask your local primary school or art college if they would like them. As a retired infant teacher, I always collected yogurt pots, margarine and icecream tubs etc for the Junk Box for all sorts of artistic and educational uses (along with loo roll and paper towel insides and boxes etc). that’s how I got into recycling. More recently, when I was at Stroud College I took in a stack of margarine tubs and they were gratefully received for storing small amounts of left over paints, glues and such. Just a thought.

  59. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    A fantastic response to the Zero Waste Week article which augurs well for the event.

    Plastic packaging has been highlighted in the posts which is no surprise given its universal use. Taking items unpacked in containers, small bags (eg Onya) and loose in a standard home bag removes a vast amount of plastic. Meat, fish, solid dairy products, chocolates and home cosmetics/toiletries can all be placed in home containers. Staff have less work to do in the process so they are quite happy to cooperate.

    I hope others can follow all Zero Waste enthusiasts in this activity. You may be the only person doing it but the rest will eventually see the wisdom in plastic waste avoidance.

  60. Mrs Green says:

    @Mrs Jackson: some supermarkets will take back the polythene wrappings you talk of, rather than having to send them away. I think 3 carrier bags for a household of your size is very good – keep up the great work and enjoy the menu planning.

    @Poppy: very interesting about the rats issue Poppy. I guess it makes sense about not making things as comfortable for our four legged visitors.

    @Danielle: I would have thought a quick ask around some friends might produce the bottles you are after Danielle? Good luck with that. What with Poppy asking for yogurt pots, perhaps we’d better set up a swaps section 😀

    @John Costigane: some great suggestions to help people reduce their plastic packaging John – thank you!

  61. Mrs Green says:

    I’ve just been having a nose at the Recycle For Gloucestershire website and I see Aunty Rubbish and her chums have been very busy on our behalf. You can now download all the information, get access to Aunty Rubbish’s newsletters AND fill in your forms online and submit them online – that means you don’t need to print them out and post them. Horrah!

    Take a look at this page; you’ll see everything you need on the left hand side:

  62. Lucie the Carbon Watcher says:

    @Mrs Green: Hi Mrs Green, one of our Carbon Watchers has mentioned carrier bag recycling and putting other bags in the collection points at supermarkets so I was interested to hear that some supermarkets accept other types of bags. Does this mean that some don’t?

    Can you point me towards any further information about what you can/can’t put in carrier bag collection points, please?

    It would make sense to me if any type of polythene could go in, but how do you tell what’s polythene and what’s not?

    Thanks, Lucie

  63. Lucie the Carbon Watcher says:

    @Lucie the Carbon Watcher: Loving my gravatar by the way!!

  64. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all
    I have noticed that morrisons put a code on their plastics – very impressed. I don’t know what all the codes mean mind. Am planning to go in and ask what else (if anything) I can put in with the carrier bag recycling.

    I’ve still had no luck on the packaging free meat – may brave the market tomorrow.

  65. Eva & Charley says:

    It was interesting to read through all the commments which answered some of my questions. It’s great to have an incentive to rethink what rubbish might be avoidable and where I’m lazy to seperate my rubbish.
    I was quite pleased with the small amount of rubbish we created last week. The things I’m still stuck with are: lids of recycable plastic bottles, tooth brushes (I know I can reuse them but there comes a point of saturation), and tooth paste tubes…
    Does anyone know what plastic containers other than pet bottles can be recycled, e.g. cream cheese tubs etc. Liked the idea of offering yoghurt pots to primary schools etc.
    Good luck with it all
    Eva & Charley

  66. Mrs Green says:

    @Lucie the Carbon Watcher: Hi Lucie! Great question about the plastic recycling. Ok, my experience is that SOME supermarkets will take polythene with the carrier bags for recycling and others won’t. It tends to be the larger supermarkets that are geared up to take it while the smaller ones can’t (or won’t; not sure which), so the best thing is to ask at your particular shop and check.

    To test for polythene, some of it is marked. What you are looking for is code number 4, LDPE or Low-density polyethylene. Not all packaging is marked however so you can do a kind of test for it, otherwise known, very scientifically as ‘the stretch test’ 😀 Basically, get hold of the packaging between your hands and stretch it. If it stretches without breaking easily, there is a good chance you have polythene, if it snaps or tears easily, it isn’t polythene, so will need to be landfilled.

    The sorts of things you can put in with the carrier bags, if the supermarket agrees are kitchen towel and toilet roll packaging, along with the plastic bags that magazines come in and some fruit and veg bags.

    @Mrs Jackson: That’s good news about Morrisons, Mrs J. The Co-Op are particularly good about labelling their packaging and sainsburys is catching up. Good luck with the containers for meat 🙂

    @Eva & Charley: Hi Eva and Charley, welcome to the site! We had a similar question posed about the plastic lids on bottles and there is some conflicting advice. Our district council told us we could put them on. In fact, we were encouraged to squeeze the air out of the bottles and put the cap on to keep them compacted. We don’t know how to deal with toothpaste tubes, but you can now buy toothpaste in aerosols, which can be recycled.
    The last cream cheese tub I bought was a code 5, which cannot be recycled in Gloucestershire at the moment. Can you keep them for reuse, or do you buy too many? We take them to deli counters for refilling or use them to store left overs in for the fridge.
    Good luck with zero waste week!

  67. Layla says:

    @Anthony Carter-Smith:

    Well, I don’t want to burst anybody’s bubble or anything, but I really recommend you all take a look at this: Paper profits take a dive – I take it might be similar with other recyclables..
    Apparently due to recession some Chinese companies do not want to pay for recyclables (such as paper) so much anymore and as it doesn’t make so much money, the transport/export companies are less inclined to do it..
    This may change in the future, so gathered recyclables may still be recycled…

    Recycling is (in many cases) a dirty business, so the ideal is to just MAKE LESS WASTE overall.. even less recyclables!
    (Of course it is much better to recycle then not, ideally you’d use reusable containers and products..)
    For the landfills, or people breathing air from incinerators, it is still much better to have recyclables separated and stashed and waiting for transport or a proper facility in Europe/UK..
    The real zero waste challenge will be also how to reduce recyclables.. 🙂 And of course it’s ‘mini steps’ and ‘one thing at a time’!

  68. Layla says:

    @Eva & Charley:
    On another blog someone recommended eco dent toothbrushes, which come with ‘heads’ to change, so instead of throwing the whole toothbrush away you have less waste.. haven’t tested them yet, but they sound interesting..
    no idea what to do with existing ones, would be interested to know too..
    There are also alternative products to toothpaste such as powders or homemade stuff or salt etc.

    @Mrs Green: I didn’t know cheeze tubs or such can be refilled??! Can you post a pic? (or maybe a blog post about it?)

  69. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    Back to the troublesome cat litter issue again!!

    I bought a book today called The Cat Lover’s Dictionary for a very pricey 49p from one of those cheapy book shops and when it talks of cat litter, it goes on to suggest alternatives to the bog (excuse the term!) standard clay or wood pellet litters. They are – shredded newspaper which you can burn after use, peat or earth that can go into the compost, or smooth gravel or pebbles which can be drained and washed and reused.

    The last 2 ideas are the ones that got me thinking. Presumably you would also need a colandar or sieve dedicated to this task and obvious solid matter would be removed before hand. The drying time may also make it a little impracticl; maybe better for the summer months.

  70. Charley & Eva says:

    It was very interesting reading all your comments!!
    Great to have an incentive to sharpen our green minds.
    I definitely can see where my partner and me are lazy, for example that we are not so good at separating our waste upstairs in the bedroom etc while we are very efficient in the kitchen.
    It was good to learn what I can do with envelope windows and juice cartons…
    Has anyone good ideas about the lids of plastic bottles of bottles and jars?
    And where can you get a wormery? Can I feed fish bones and heads to them???
    Charley & Eva

  71. Layla says:

    There was a pic of a ‘cat toilet’ somewhere.. either online or in magazines/newspapers.. Apparently a gadget ‘toilet’ can be found to wash the rewashable gravel(?) and have the cat reuse it.. No idea how it would work in reality.. (or where it flushes the solids/etc) or how eco it is..
    For people living in flats might be an interesting idea, but needs more research.. (re: electricity use & chemicals etc)
    I mean, I can see people in the country rewashing cat litter gravel by hand, but in cities and in flats..? (how? where? hmm.. maybe by just flushing the things down a human toilet..? & using dedicated sieves & containers..?)
    And is there smell? or do chemicals need to be used?
    Becoming interested in this, lol!
    So Poppy if you ever do it, do tell! (& post pics!)

    When we had cats, they just ‘did it’ in or around the garden.. (not ideal for edible garden, still don’t remember any troubles coming from it..) or in ours or neighbours’ pile of sand.. (he wasn’t happiest)
    So it would be interesting to know alternatives..

    A ‘doggie loo’ with worms exists too, & maybe would work for cats too? the trick is to not feed the worms anything but the loo, but I felt sorry for the poor worms!!

    I wish we had a forum with categories where all these ideas could be properly listed, categorised & organized & easily accessed! 🙂 Does that already exist somewhere?

  72. Layla says:

    @Charley & Eva:
    I took a look & did a brief google search ‘fish bones wormery’, do research more! (there’s also info on different types! it is good to find people who had the specific type and see how they worked.. just google the type+fish bones/rats/.. or whatever problem you’re interested in..)

    You can find wormeries online, or maybe just google your town+wormery or such.. They were offered on some trade fairs here in Slovenia too.. or perhaps others will know more..

    “Meat, dairy, fish, bones, cooked and uncooked scraps can all be added to the wormery but sometimes you may need to monitor the amounts to ensure the worms are coping!”

    Some people put bones and such into Green cones, but apparently they’ve had mixed results, depending on underlying soil/drainage/rock.. (they might attract rats if not on solid rock or such)

    We put some fish bones & occasionally even some bones (not many so far) in the compost heaps too (not bins, big heaps at the end of the garden, only half-fenced) So far, so good.. No rats that we would know of.. sometimes a neighbours’ doggie or cat (or hens) browsing through the compost a bit (rarely)
    I would still like to find out more about bones and such..

  73. Anthony Carter-Smith says:

    I use a wormery from Wiggly worms in Hereford.they are on the net and give info on 2 types of wormery’s plus other composting methods

  74. Grandma Green says:

    Hi Folks
    Just to let all you enthusiasts know that I’m right behind you but I feel that life is not being made easy for those who wish to participate in the Zero Waste Week. I live within the city of Gloucester and publicity for this event has been minimal. Our letterbox often clangs as junk mail and local adverts are put through the door but there has been no written information about the pending Zero Waste Week. Not everyone has access to a computer, not everyone buys the local paper on a regular basis. What has happened to good old fashioned mail drops? This is an occasion when we would have posistively welcomed it!
    One Road Show (on a week day) for the whole of Gloucester was just not enough. Is the council really behind this event?

  75. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: Hey Layla, well said. We too agree that reducing recyclables is the next step for us. Recycling is NOT the full answer and that is now being proved with the bottom falling out of the recycling market. Regarding the cheese spread tubs; I didn’t mean they could be refilled with the original product. I meant we reuse them by taking them to a deli counter and using them for other products.

    Mrs A uses a wooden toothbrush which can be recycled, composted or burned in an open fire. The toothbrushes where you replace just the head are a great compromise and can be bought in the UK from Natural collection.

    Reorganisation of our site is on cards throughout the rest of the year – we have lots of plans for improving availability of information….

    @Poppy: Poppy, your discoveries about cat litter are becoming more intriguing. I would not use peat for environmental issues but certainly newspaper or such is good. The pebbles sound interesting; do you think a cat would use them? My cats used to prefer fine materials like sawdust…..Like Layla, I’ve heard about the dog loo and I’m waiting to hear back from them about cat poo vermicomposting 😀

    @Charley & Eva: We put the plastic lids back on plastic bottles and put them with recycling; on the advise of our local council. It appears that this is contradictory information to many others. Regarding jar lids, we keep the jar and the lid for reuse – making chutneys etc and many people ask and offer them on Freecycle. They are very popular, so worth passing onto someone who can use them.

    I would second Wiggly Wigglers for a wormery but wouldn’t personally feed them fish, head or bones. You would want a food digester for that such as a bokashi or Green Cone; like Layla suggested

    @Grandma Green: Grandma Green, you make a very important point and you are not the first to comment on this; although the first to speak out on the site. As you mentioned this morning, you always get a flyer through your box informing you of Bank Holiday rubbish collection days, so why wasn’t a flyer sent to every home in the county advertising zero waste week? It’s such a shame…..

  76. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi everyone

    I agree that the publicity has been poor on this event. Even my local toddler groups have only heard about it because of me (I feel) and also my son’s school had not heard of it until I mentioned it.

    Well am very excited today with only 2 days to go. I have removed all the bins from all the rooms except the kitchen. It appears that the upstairs ones mainly get filled with used tissues and pencil sharpenings that the kids then empty into the main bin when it’s bin day – when in fact they can go into my compost bin – so have been encouraging them to use the caddy instead.

    I also asked in the co-op about whether their plastic bag recycling was just for carriers and they said no – yipppeeee!

    I need to do my food shopping but still haven’t found a solution to my meat problem. I’ve thought of some meals without meat and some with tinned meat but realistically this isn’t going to affect my long term habits. Could I send my supermarket the packaging back do you think?

    Good luck all those taking part. Off to carry on getting through the Green’s blog to see if I can learn more before the big event.

  77. Sandi Beecher says:

    It’s pretty easy to stop eating meat if you are concerned about the environment and the way animals are exploited, quite apart from the packaging. There are lots of super recipes and stuff you can make being vegetarian or better still, vegan. You will not go hungry and you will have a less packaging waste problems!

  78. Mrs Green says:

    @Mrs Jackson: It sounds like your plans are coming along so well Mrs J. We found that removing the kitchen bin was the key to success in the end.
    You are well within your rights to send back packaging to your supermarket. Is it possible for you to use a local butcher? That is how we are able to buy meat without packaging – we take our own containers and he puts our items directly into them. Or is it a confidence issue with actually asking?
    When wanting to do this at a supermarket deli I phoned up first anonymously to see what sort of response I had 😉

    @Sandi Beecher: Sandi, I’m interested in your opinion on this issue. You may or may not be aware from other posts on the blog that I am vegetarian of 20 years, while Mr Green and our daughter eat meat and fish.

    I have been thinking recently that it would be easy for me to source local, organic, humanely reared meat, free range organic eggs plus the vegetables to go with such a diet and none of it would come with any non recyclable packaging.
    My current diet of lentils, rice, chick peas etc all comes from the other side of the world wrapped in plastic.

    I keep churning this one over in my mind wondering what, in fact, is the ideal. I don’t think there is an answer that ticks ALL the boxes. It’s all about compromise, don’t you think?

  79. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi Mrs Green

    I asked in my supermarket and they said no. I emailled the local butcher but no response. TBH it would mean making a special trip into town and then paying for parking, my husband’s company went into administration and has now closed down so anything that is likely to cost us more just really an option.

    Hi Sandi thanks for your comment – unfortunately I don’t think myself or the rest of my family are ready to give up meat and dairy.

  80. Mr. Green says:

    @Grandma Green: I wander if our local authority has missed an PR opportunity here. It seems like they could have done more to inform residents of the zero waste week in Gloucestershire. Flyers in The Citizen and Echo newspaper, complete with 10-top-tips on how to get started, plus a helpline and website reference. I wander how many schools have been informed and invited to take part in this event, maybe with competitions and publicity for the best zerowaste effort? Local businesses; how well have they been canvassed for support, again with incentives for good responses. We see occasional minor stories in the newspapers and radio coverage that hits non-prime-time listeners. But then we see the really BIG one … a full front-page headline and story in the Citizen about a potential incinerator site in Gloucester!! It seems that reducing waste is still a minor effort and not getting the headline coverage it needs to reach a large population. TBH, 1500 people taking part in zero-waste week is good, but a tiny drop in the ocean if we are to achieve a realistic target in waste reduction. I wander how many people still DON’T KNOW IT’S HAPPENING…

    It’s about time we took our blindfolds off and realised that incinerators are the next threat on the horizon, if we don’t get this one right. If we fail to reduce waste and recycle more, there is no choice but to reduce landfill by other means and that equals huge industrial incinerators polluting the beautiful Gloucestershire county. I find it incredible that a story about incinerators appears on the front page and no-one makes any link to the alternative taking place right now of the zero waste week.

    Here’s my prediction in time to come:

    “Despite our very best efforts to reduce waste and recycle more, we are forced to consider the alternative of installing a waste incinerator at Javelin Park Glouceter. European directives are putting enourmous pressure on government and local authorities to reduce waste, through heavier landfill taxes and seeking alternative methods of waste disposal. During the zero waste week in 2009 we achieved a significant response from the public and local business, but it simply is not enough to reduce the vast increases in business and consumer waste. Incineration will not only deal with our waste effectively, but it will also provide the added benefit of providing jobs and power production from the incineration process.”

    Once those incinerators are in place, they MUST be fed to justify their existence. Waste will then become a necessary food to keep them going. The whole effort of reducing waste and taking responsibility for our environment suddenly takes second place.

    I applaud and admire so many individuals that have taken up the challenge to reduce waste, reuse and compost more, but for every person that takes up the baton, I bet there are at least 100 that are not even aware of the problem and what to do about it.

    We desperately need the political will and financial committment of local authorities to PUSH a much greater public awareness program.

  81. Poppy says:

    @Mr. Green:

    Totally agree Mr Green. Most people I speak to about Zero Waste, haven’t a clue what I’m talking about. The council team have done a very good job on a limited budget, but what a shame some of those millions spent on Javelin Park couldn’t have been redirected to actually negating its need.

  82. Mrs Green says:

    @Mrs Jackson: Oh what a shame about the supermarket. Did they give a reason? I understand that a ‘local’ butcher is not applicable to all and there is no point going to one if it means enduring parking charges. Never mind, you’re making excellent progress in other areas; some things are beyond our control 🙂

  83. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi Mrs Green
    They said it was to do with cross contamination. Well did my shop today and got some frozen minced beef and onion pies. Was very surprised at the amount of packaging that IS recycable that we thought wasn’t. Also I had a lot less recycling when I got home too.
    Really excited about tomorrow – oh and cleared out my cupboards in the kitchen.

  84. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi everyone how have you found day one? I’m really gutted as my cheese container wasn’t air tight enough and it’s already gone mouldy round the edges so we’ve had to cut those bits off and bin them *sob sob*. Mr J said that’s not bad going and we’ll try again for zero next week. Other than that I told a lady in the co-op she could recycle the bread bag she just bought in the carrier bags recycling and brought home the used tea bags from my friend’s house to compost.

  85. Mrs Green says:

    Hey Mrs J – what a bummer about the ‘contamination’ issue. We too have found that some frozen meals are ok; especially pies that come in foil containers inside a cardboard box. I’m glad you managed to find some things for the week.
    Sorry to hear about your cheese. The birds will eat it, complete with mould. I love that you are spreading the word and showing others what they can do by your own actions – that’s fab 🙂

  86. carol boulton says:

    hi all, really enjoyed reading all the comments!stay with son and family in germany on regular basis and thy have in the kitchen a bin for paper and cardboard,one for plastics,f
    foil,and a small one for compostables.fabric,clothes and
    shoes are taken to the big containers down the bins are emptied into the appropiately coloured wheelies in the garden and they are emptied weekly.householders in my son area are fined if they do not put the right things in each bin!! i now am careful how i manage my waste! where do i recycle empty foil tablet packs? good work all!

  87. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hello Mrs Green
    Oh that is excellent news I am so happy. Shall put my cheese out tomorrow then 😀 will tell you what you can recycle and where – just enter your postcode. I’ve heard many good things about Germany and their recycling.

  88. Kris says:

    I’m benefiting from having my other half coming on board for recycling. We’ve got a dead space in the kitchen currently filled by a defunct dishwasher and when I’ve broached the subject of getting rid of it before and converting the space he’s been unenthusiastic as he’d like another dishwasher some day. However, now he much prefers the idea of a base unit with a couple of big spaces for the recycling to live in (rather than it being in the hall) and has started making plans 🙂

    I was reading Mr G’s (and Grandma G’s) impassioned pieces about the not-quite-widespread promotion of zero waste week and agreeing as I’ve found blank looks coming back at me as well. I had a difficult week last week, and didn’t manage to keep up with this site, or check out links to Recycle for Gloucestershire till after the roadshows were over, but I feel sad that I could have done more to get the word out too, once I knew people were missing the news.

    I haven’t taped our bins shut, though for me the pristine new emptiness is quite a good deterrent. I have noticed there is some automatic binning going on in the bathroom, but so far it has been taken back out again! Unfortunately downstairs I have had a few items that have gone in:
    Packet from Boots cooling headache strip
    Boots cooling headache strip
    2x plastifoil seal from milk carton

    Alongside I have set up a tub for biodegradeable waste – teabags, peelings and tops and tails in our case as we rarely have leftovers. I’m pleased to see it’s not filling up very fast, and so I may be able to get away with petitioning Mum to put it in her composter at the end of the week.

    Today my challenge is to hopefully buy salmon in my own tub, and because I’ll be wearing make-up to improvise a little in taking it off with no waste. The base is fine as I’ve got a muslin cloth and cleanser, but I’ll be looking for alternatives for eye-make-up removal to my usual disposable wipes or cotton wool.

  89. Kris says:

    Thank you Mrs A – I’ve been looking over your recent posts and it prompted me to go look in the cupboard where I have biodegradeable cotton buds (mine are corn starch shafts and organic cotton heads). I have put them by the sink ready for my unsuspecting husband, and now know what I’m taking off my eye make up with!

    I got them from Boots but this was some time ago and during a sale and they don’t seem to be on the current catalogue. However, Ocado does have them on site, and on special at the moment, so I may be going there this week.

    I’m also wondering whether to get more relaxed about jars – at the moment they are off the list because of the plastic bit in the lids, however, someone did rightly say there are invariably requests for them on Freecycle – and this is marmalade season…

  90. Naomi says:

    Really interesting reading everyone’s comments.

    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about recycling drink sachets – you know the ones that hot chocolate, etc, come in that are sort of like foil on the inside? Also, the the plastic foil seal on milk cartons?

    Finally, what about beer bottle tops? Can they just go in with others cans and tins?

    Many thanks.

  91. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all
    Been to waitrose and got my cotton buds – yay. Glad I discovered them as I don’t think I could have given them up completely.

    We’ve discovered the same with the milk bottle tops and it was, in the end, my only non recyclable (as far as we’re aware) and I plan to make a model with my kids at the end of the week with any bits like that.

  92. Aunty Rubbish says:

    Beer bottle tops are metal and can go into the metal bank at the HWRC, not advisable to put them into the kerbside collection system loose due to the potential for injuries.

    A colleague at work uses an old swing bin to save them all up along with other metal items i.e. ols saucepans etc. before taking them to the HWRC.

    I have also seen examples of this type of waste being made into jewellery i.e. braclets, hair slides and belts.

  93. Kris says:

    @Aunty Rubbish: The metal caps from the other half’s cider bottles all have a little plastic bit moulded into them – so I’ve been binning rather than taking them to the HWRC as I thought it was problematic mixed materials. Is this the same as the beer caps that you mention are okay?

  94. Kris says:

    I had a new cheek tint which I put into use today. The packaging was fine – cardboard tube, paper insert, no plastic seal. But Boots had put a puffy security tag onside, so that’s swelled the bin, alas.

  95. Mrs Green says:

    @carol boulton: Welcome to the site, Carol. It’s always interesting to hear of attitudes to rubbish and recycling in other countries. Regarding the empty foil tablet packs; I don’t know about that because they are a mix of plastic and foil. I wonder if a pharmacist can do anything with them.

    @Mrs Jackson: Mrs J; the recycle now website is an excellent resource. It’s very user friendly and appears to be kept up to date well. I hope the birds enjoy their cheese! and good news on the cotton buds. I need to look out for those as well.

    @Kris: what great news about your OH – a recycling area in the kitchen would be fabulous! I’m eager to hear how you got on with the salmon – was that from a fish market or supermarket? For eye make up remover you can use plain almond oil. It’s far cheaper than a specific make up remover product and you can buy it in glass bottles. Glad you have found a solution though 🙂

    @Naomi: Hi Naomi – welcome! You’ve really got me with the individual drinks sachets I’m afraid! Mixed materials, apart from tetrapaks are notoriously difficult to recycle at the moment. I’ve seen companies that will reprocess them when picking up from corporations such as restaurants, but I don’t know what the average householder is supposed to do with them. Is it an inconvenience to buy the drinks in a large glass jar?

  96. Kris says:

    Hi Mrs G – haven’t got the salmon yet as I realised that it was daft to rush round a supermarket today as well as my planned shop tomorrow. The only thing I desperately needed was a banana and I was able to pick one up (naked!) at the college. I’ll probably go to Sainsburys fish counter as I have found them accommodating in the past.

    I’ve got quite a bit of eye-make-up remover stored up as my guilty secret is that I used to be one of those people who got sucked in on every Boots deal. I was pretty good at resisting things I didn’t want but did seem to think I’d always need to take off mascara!

    Carol and Naomi have both raised pertinent issues for me this week. I can’t avoid foil pill packs either and will have to see some go into the bin. And as for hot chocolate… I’ve just found the best tasting one in the world – good news, it’s fairtrade. Bad news, it only comes in individual plastic sachets. We are not having it this week, but almost certainly will be adding the packs to the bin in future. Perhaps I should be writing to both companies that provide this packaging.

  97. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all
    Managed to get some silcon cake cases from Asda (£2 for 12) but alas they came in plastic tubs. It has gone in my “making things with the kids” bin. Think it will be quiet exciting to make a model from all our non recyclable rubbish at the weekend.

  98. Poppy says:


    Hi Kris

    I think you head for the same Sainsbury’s as me and I got a definite NO when I tried to buy liver from the butchers counter in my own tub 🙁 (Same answer as Mrs Jackson got I believe) Apparently I might sue them if the product was contaminated and anyone was ill.

    I bought some frozen liver as the lesser evil (everything comes out of the package in one piece and package stays cleaner), but will save that til near the end of the week.

    I did wonder what they would do if I accepted their (over) packaged version and then swapped it into my own box in store, leaving them the gory bit to dispose of 😉

    I also bought some basic fish fillets in a heavy polythene bag. Again for the cats! They are doing better out of this than any of us two-legged individuals!

  99. John Costigane says:

    @Poppy: My experience at Sainsbury’s is different. Last week I bought 6 kippers loose and got the male server to place in a container, with Zero packaging. Use a home ice bottle? to keep the stuff cool, if required.

    Remember the customer is always right! Maybe ladies should be accompanied for moral support. As a male, no one questions my Zero Waste approach. They may chuckle but as I say about these supermarket types : Ignorance is Bliss.

  100. Danielle says:

    Hi just a quick tip for all of the ladies who have mentioned struggling with make-up/make-up remover packaging. Do you know that anything bought from the Body Shop, can be taken back and recycled? Any of their packaging. They are specially cleaned and refilled if they can be, I think. The girls there are always very cheerful when I take in my families empties!

    Just a suggestion 🙂

  101. Mrs Green says:

    @Danielle: Hi Danielle; how is the week going for you? Any luck with sourcing the bottles you wanted? Thanks for the tip about the Body Shop; that’s great news for fans 🙂

    @Kris: Hi Kris, it would be great to contact the company of the sachets and see if they have plans to change. What a shame they only come individually wrapped!

    @Mrs Jackson: Mrs J; I’m getting quite excited about your end of week sculpture. I hope you will email me a pic to put up on the site. Glad you found some silicone bakeware too. I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with it.

    @Poppy: It sounds like the cats are doing really well poppy. What a shame about the meat counter in Sainsburys; I have a post coming up about them later which I’ll be interested to hear people’s views on. I think you should unwrap their liver at the checkout LOL! and how strange that John did not get the same response; it’s obviously not a chain-wide ban….

  102. John Costigane says:

    @Poppy: An update from ASDA today about using containers.

    After several non-eventful fish purchases as ASDA and Sainsbury’s, today was a new experience. I tried to buy 6 pieces of smoked haddock, sticking to the one type for simplicity, but was informed that it could not be done. That was a big surprise considering my previous purchases.

    However, a woman manager was called to assist and, in a reasonable manner described their cross-contamination issue.
    The matter was happily resolved by taking the now ccontainered Zero Waste fish to a counter immediately to complete the purchase. Saying the fish was now my responsibility the manager left.

    It can be done which is the main thing. Hopefully, as this becomes a more frequent occurrence, things will get easier and the excitement will die down.

    This must have started recently, within the last couple of weeks. They know who we are.

  103. Interesting reading and similar stories to my own.
    Some toothpaste tubes are still aluminium – to metal recycling? In Stroud the Adult Opportunity Centre (01453 763484)takes aluminium foil, cans etc for recycling/fundraising.
    Most of my waste of 8oz(single person household)is non-recyclable plastic or mixed plastic and foil eg film.
    I have been contacting firms about awkward packaging – Waitrose (crisp packs, and won’t accept small plastic bags in their carrier bag recycling bin); Kallo re organic dried goods packed in plastic bags; John Hurd re watercress ditto (but they pointed out the elastic bow can be untied and re-used!);Woodland Trust re Christmas cards – these are not made into new cards but sent on as cardboard to recycling firms and council ‘recycling credits’ are used to plant more trees – worth further investigation.
    As I recycle 100% possible, Ihave little landfill waste anyway, I am concentrating my efforts on more thoughtful buying and further uses for packaging. My plastic bottles are now ‘planted’ upside down in the garden with bottoms cut off as drainage/watering holes for summer drought.
    Hope there is more publicity of results than previous promotion!

  104. Kris says:

    Hi Poppy – *my* Sainsbugs (as it were) is the Gallagher Retail one. They were lovely about tubs today – I bought olives from the deli and salmon from the fish counter, but didn’t buy from the meat one.

    Please excuse what will probably be a long and rambling post now, but I’ve been time-rich today so have been conducting a trail of zero-waste shopping in various locales. I started in Sainsburys where I was aiming to get salmon, veg for a stir-fry, fruit juice and milk. No problems on any of it, though the stir-fry was a bit limited so I bought a tin of chinese vegetables to make it pretty. I’m going to use some chilli sauce I have in the fridge with it. I bought one rather questionable product – a net of Dubble chocolate balls in aid of Comic Relief (yes – it must be March!), nothing wrong with the foil wrapped chocolate, but the net might be a problem if I didn’t have it earmarked as something to base a valentine’s day card round (must be February!) I was also amused to be able to buy toilet paper (Regina Camomile) which actively asks you to send them the packaging back – they want it if you don’t like the product and if you do!
    Then back to Cleeve and I wandered into the Butchers on The Green where they sold me succulent-looking pork chops and chipolatas in my tub (going back next week for fresh pie in foil case), then I went into the mini Co-op which was not the bastion of packaging solutions I’d hoped, probably because it is too small to hold much fresh stuff, but they did have a cucumber without any wrapping.
    Round to the fruit and veg shop only to find I had left my net bags in the other bag – aargghh! Once I finally got my eyes in the right direction for a basket it was fine though to grab mostly hardy loose veg, and paper bags were available for mushrooms.
    Then… Tesco, where I decided I was beginning to come up against the more difficult stuff. Could we treat ourselves to something cake or puddingy? I’d run out of tubs, so no doughnuts. One large chocolate brownie pudding was possible as it was in a cardboard tray in a cardboard box, with just a window to remove (and I like others I’m keeping a card/junk modelling pile). However I then spotted a treacle tart – and crossed my fingers. (Have checked now and can breathe again, just foil and card – hurray!) Still no loose cherry tomatoes (had looked in the previous places, and to be fair, I think they are something I can get at Tewks Rd Tesco) but I was tempted by some salad onions naked but for a rubber band which will give some sandwich interest. The next challenge was crisps for packed lunches next week – which isn’t my thing to decide to give up. I was able to buy two larger size packs with 10 portions of crisps, not zero waste but the best solution I could find.
    Finally I went over to Lidl, where I picked up an old favourite that had sprung to mind as I started thinking about ZWW – tins of ravioli, their version which is garlicky is lovely. And although they also didn’t have loose cherry tomatoes – I was able to buy some in a snap-close pack which can be easily reused. And I may have picked up a bar of chocolate wrapped in foil and paper…

    All in all, it wasn’t so much a mission as a look-see and bit of a personal challenge on a few tougher items. I’m getting very aware that a week is perhaps not long enough to really be constrained (as you can put things off, or not finish things up…) but it’s still enough to highlight choices you can make and things to plan out.

  105. John Costigane says:

    Hi Kris,

    Glad you were ok with tubs in Sainsbury’s. After my unexpected hold-up in ASDA, which was resolved, I see there is some resistance to container use. The more people use them the easier it will become.

  106. elizabeth says:


    How about the toilet?

  107. Poppy says:

    How strange Kris. Same shop, different messages! Perhaps I’ll have to try them again 😉

  108. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Sheila – welcome to the site. I loved reading your post and about some of the challenges you are finding solutions too. your weekly waste is excellent and it’s inspiring to see you are finding ‘reuse’ for so many items. I agree that more conscientious shopping is the next part of zero waste.

    Kris – thanks for a great comment; I really loved reading about your adventures today. And John; so glad you resolved things; sometimes we need to politely be a little more ‘pushy’ to swing things in our favour 😉

  109. John Costigane says:

    Mrs Green,

    The value of using containers is that we are providing the packaging for the items, not the supermarket. The beauty of it that this packaging is Zero Waste/Sustainable.

    While the supermarket staff struggle to appreciate this, they should realise that we are saving them money, in reduced packaging costs. There is also a time saving in handing over items, more efficient working.

  110. Kris says:

    I just thought I’d big up our tea yesterday because it was lovely! The stir-fry consisted of red pepper, yellow pepper, mushrooms, courgette and spring onions (green bits rough chopped acrossways and white bits sliced lengthways!) The chinese vegetables consisted of beansprouts, water chestnut and baby sweetcorn. I added a generously stacked teaspoon of sacla tomato and chilli paste and a tsp of anaheim chilli sauce (bought in a little glass jar at the good food show!) which with an initial mist of oil was plenty to moisten and coat it. The salmon I seasoned with celery salt and oregano, plus lemon juice and roasted in a loose foil parcel.
    Afterwards I had one tin to rinse, one tub to wash up (used for salmon) and a piece of foil to scrub and scrunch up!

  111. Anthony says:

    I thought I would advise you of a way around recyclable platics. My next door neighbour parents live in Evesham, yes they are in Worcestershire but Evesham Council collect all recyclable plastics. Naturally I shall give it all to her for her parents to recycle. Where they send them I don’t know but it does cut down my waste that I can’t reuse.

  112. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Mrs Green: My first lot of cakes are done and are delicious – have taken a photo lol.

    @John Costigane: I am pleased to say that today I had no problem in obtaining cheese, sausage, bacon and mince (or any other meat I asked for I guess) put into my own reusable container (meat was from the butchers in Tewkesbury near the cross and they were very nice and said anytime). I was however, disappointed in that when I initially went in and asked about the cheese it was being wrapped in front of me and so I was told I could have some without it being wrapped – what happened today was they took the cling film off (and am pressuming it went in the bin). He couldn’t quiet understand what I was getting at.

    I’m having “issues” with other people not really respecting my wishes – if even for a week. I was actually just given a bag in Tescos today but said no thank you.

    @Kris: Glad you enjoyed your tea. Not quiet as exciting but I did the children fish fingers with sweet potato chips today and they were lovely.

    @Anthony: My husband’s friend lives in Evesham and they collect loads don’t they.

    How much do birds eat? We’re not prepared to risk having rats by getting a bokashi bucket but our waste food is mainly that which our toddler has dropped on the floor or started to eat and leave. Would a bird table encourage the birds to eat it any quicker? Or do they not like toast?

  113. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Jackson: Glad to see you success with containers. The point of the Zero Waste trend is to promote the idea, in the face of blind ignorance. The more people take containers the more familiar they become to staff. Keep a positive outlook and people will warm to you.

    As for the Bokashi, rats are not attracted to a smell-free enclosed unit. I keep mine indoors. The only problem was the weight of the bin when full. I have read they go into warm compost heaps, liking the heat.

  114. Aunty Rubbish says:

    Good Morning

    I have a Bokashi bin for food waste and when its matured we add it to a nornal darlek type compost bin. During the very cold snap early this year my husband saw a rat coming from the bin but on all previous trips to add compostable materials including the Bokashi bin contents he has not seen any sign of a rat. The food does become kind of pickled in the bokashi and can have a vinegar type of smell so maybe the rats don’t find this appealing enough to go into the compost bin!

  115. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane. I agree – once supermarkets understand that we are saving them money I think things might change. Let’s be honest; their sole purpose for existence is to make a profit.

    @Kris. Your tea sounded amazing. I love how it worked out for you and I hope you have inspired other people with your culinary delight. Stir fries are great!

    @Anthony. That sounds like a cunning plan there, Anthony. Perhaps we should all move across the border!

    @Mrs Jackson. Whatever we put out for the birds gets eaten. Just start with a little amount until word gets round the bird grapevine and they’ll soon be eating all you choose to provide them with. ours are very greedy! Glad the cakes turned out well and the sweet potato chips worked out for you.
    Regarding rats; rats won’t **find** you are such; they are already there 😉 Apparently you are never further than 6ft from a rat in the UK 😀

  116. Mrs Jackson says:

    Hi all.
    Think as regards the rats it may be ignorance but don’t think my husband really wants to risk it with the children about. Maybe we will get there but in the meantime I shall look at a bird table – they ate all my mouldy cheese ok :O)
    My bin does have tiny bits of food waste in this week – mainly bits that have stuck to the tray and got trapped in the sink after washing the dishes.

  117. Gina J says:

    @Clare: Hi, I tear the plastic window envelopes in half, bin the plastic half and recycle bin the paper half

  118. Kris says:

    Is it pedantry if I correct Aunty Rubbish and say it’s DALEK 😉

    Apparently our tea might have been a steam-fry, can’t remember what I was reading but it said if you chuck lots in the pan you aren’t actually frying it technically by contact with the oil and hot pan but steaming it by throwing it around in the hot conditions. Nice either way though!

    The thought of rats, worms and other wildlife isn’t something I want to face, especially not in my home (by which I include the small outdoors). Please Tewks Borough, start an anaerobic facility that I can bring or send my contributions to…

  119. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: What do Tewkesbury Borough do with the garden waste in the brown bins? We would be quiet prepared to pay for one if they took the food waste away in them too and it could all be treated in one of those cone composters etc. That and recycling all plastics like in Evesham and I’d not have any rubbish!

  120. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: What do Tewkesbury Borough do with the garden waste in the brown bins? We would be quiet prepared to pay for one if they took the food waste away in them too and it could all be treated in one of those cone composters etc. That and recycling all plastics like in Evesham and I’d not have any rubbish! Well not much anyhow.

  121. Kris says:

    Hi Mrs J – to be honest I’m not sure. We have very occasional amounts of green waste which I take to HRC, and I’m a bit resistant to the brown bin as we’d have large problems trying to find somewhere to put it.

    I’m not very sure what the line is between green waste and uncooked food waste, but it does seem to be treated very differently, and you can only take one to HRC 🙁

  122. Kris says:

    I was going to fire off an email about a kitchen waste facility at the HRC, when I suddenly had deja-vu… I asked previously when I got green-eyed at the Cotswold food waste collection. Apparently it is being considered and costed-out for us, so perhaps I ought to be patient 🙂

  123. Mrs Green says:

    It’s in the pipeline for the forest too, Kris – at the end of this year I believe. I think it’s great for those that need it if it can be put to good use.

  124. Kris says:

    I went and examined Mum’s compost bin today. It’s a big square one with a lid similar to a water butt that you can unlatch to take it off and tip in a tub or bucket. I wasn’t able to really see the finished product as I didn’t want to poke too unceremoniously without its owner present! I’m still not sure about trying to incorporate one in our space, but was quite reassured about it being very enclosed.

  125. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: Fingers crossed then that they take it sooner rather than later. Am very excited to see I’ve not even used quarter of a bag this week (mainly food half eaten and dropped on the floor by my toddler) as opposed to my 8 and half bags last week. It’s model making day tomorrow too so that shall be exciting. I do feel that maybe a warm-up week would have helped me some more and it’s a nice feeling because I originally planned to do the week but it has actually made me feel more like doing it all the time.

  126. Kris says:

    I wish I’d really taken in the format of the form last week and weighed my bag as it’s was a rather nebulous ‘half swing bin liner’ and they want it in weight, carrier bags or something else I think.

    Thus far I think the bin has a headache patch, its wrapping, three milk bottle seals, a few bits of raw connective tissue trimmings (from lamb) and three windows from envelopes.

    In the dubious pile are one plastic seal from a lid (if the lid can go back on the bottle in the bank then I can’t see why this, made from the same material would be different?) and a laddered stocking which I’m trying to think of a cunning cleaning use for – and so far failing…

  127. Kris says:

    @Mrs Jackson: Me too – I feel like carrying on now that I’m just beginning to get my feet! Certainly taking the compostable stuff out has worked much better this week than last time I tried it, and it’s been less effort than the last time I tried splitting the bin waste – and that’s largely down to not having to wash out plastics that I worry about getting rid of, as I didn’t buy anything of that sort this week. It’s tempting to put more of a limit on those from now on anyhow!

    Thought of the other thing in the bin – it’s a strip of plastic from a boil in bag (which was washed out and looks fine for reuse). It turned out I really wanted rice after all this week, so I thought it was more valuable to try and accomodate it, than make it another thing that I tackled by ignoring from the week.

  128. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Kris: You’ve done really well haven’t you. I have a couple of used staples and the tags off clothes in my bin, with some food waste, a corner off a chip bag and some kitchen towel that had contimanted substances on it.

    Do you have any plans for next week as to what you intend to do? I’m going back to my usual meals rather than worrying and seeing what I can do to get a balance between the 2 and then reduce from there. My kids have done well to go without their cereal bars and things this week but don’t think I could cut them out completely for them. Not yet anyhow.

  129. Mrs Green says:

    Wow Kris and Mrs J – your weeks have been so successful and I’m delighted to hear that you have plans to continue. This happened to us as well. Once we had done our zero waste week last September, you kind of get a ‘there’s no going back’ feeling about it.
    We don’t aim for zero every week, but have our ‘less than 100gms’ target for each week. Now I cannot imagine HOW I filled two bins every week – it shocks me to think about it. But it’s all about making small changes, gradually. not trying to do too much at once and facing overwhelm.
    Really well done both of you – it’s been great to hear about all your adventures!

  130. Kris says:

    Thank you, it’s felt quite successful and very well-supported 🙂

    I’ve got a used staple… I’ve put it to one side with a metal bottle lid and am saving it for HRC.
    But that’s a timely reminder Mrs J – I must add my two plastic clothing tags to the bin waste, they’re sitting forlornly on my bedside cabinet at the moment!

    My plans for next week are very similar – relax the control a little, but monitor what else goes into the bin. Trying to do zero waste involved some avoidance and I want to let things that have no other place than the bin go in, and see how much of those there are (and what they are, and if I need them again).

    Should I have put the connective fats in the landfill bin btw? Can anyone advise if this should/could be compost?

    I’ve got another thing to dispose of today, my water filter cartridge has reached the end of its life – but I noted last month that there are bins for the recycling of Brita cartridges, so I’ve gone branded…

  131. Mrs Jackson says:

    Well it’s been a good day on the zero waste front. Went to do the weekly shopping at morrisons and asked if we could have meat in a container fully expecting them to say no – but yay they said yes. Ouch price was more than we’re used to – but am hoping this will mean a better quality diet. Have made more cakes with the reusable cases and my son has made a “robot” from the non-recyclables – you’ve never seen a 5 year old so happy with a bit of rubbish lol. It’s been a long day and I couldn’t convince him to use all our non-recycleable plastics in it and have admitted defeat and put them in my bin. Still barely half a bag and most of which is waste food so am pleased.

    We need to find where we can buy cereal, mixed fruit and pasta without the plastic bags now.

  132. Sheila Maddock says:

    At the end of the week I have struggled with the same few stubbornly un-recyclable items, mainly plastic packaging and mixed materials, some I can’t avoid.
    Some tips from wartime Make Do and Mend.
    There are plenty of uses for old fabric like laddered stockings/tights – collect and use to stuff a solo sock and use for polishing, or to stuff cuddly toys. (Or take to fabric banks.)
    Boil in the bag rice – there’s an unnecessary luxury. Buy all dried goods in bulk and use a pan.
    Art models etc are fun, but the end product still has to be disposed of eventually unless it makes Tate Modern, so bear this in mind when creating them.
    Clothes tags make me mad, even charity shops use them. The tags used to be cardboard. The polythene (?)spikes pushed through the fabric are awful, get stuck and make holes and drop on the floor – though they are tiny. I intend making myself a real nuisance to retailers – ask if I can cut off tags etc once purchased and hand back (I know they’ll only bin them, but it might eventually make an impression).
    And for a supermarket, save up all packaging for a month/year and return it with a letter.
    I am thinking hard about alternative uses – a friend unexpectedly brought me a bunch of florist’s flowers – welcome, but in cellophane, plus elastic. Took off the funnelshaped plastic and will hand it to another friend when I give (homegrown) flowers, and the elastic thoughtfully untied (well done, florist) so can be re-used.
    It’s the change in approach that’s the important thing.
    I have been putting my landfill bag out fortnightly but shall now aim at once a month – as the main contaminating item is the bin bag! That really should be bio-degradable.

  133. Kris says:

    @Sheila Maddock: Hi Sheila, some food for thought there. I am amused by the thought of storing up laddered legwear until my niece next goes to a ‘stuff your own teddy’ party, but think the clothing bank is probably a better idea!
    I know Boil in the bag rice isn’t ideal – but for me it was a step down from microwave in the bag rice, and something I had in the cupboard needing to be used up.
    Mrs G was definitely right to feature plastic tags on clothing as a dustbin demon – they are so prevalent. However I have been lucky with the other part of the tags – all cardboard.
    I’ve got bio-degradeable bin bags – bought to try from Tesco. I don’t know how effective they are as I’ve only used them and sent them out into the world, and have worried about their impact with kitchen waste in, creating leachates. As I’m taking the kitchen waste out of my bin now I’m probably better off with them.

    I’ve just been reading various message boards with comments about composting – scary stuff, that’s more questions to bombard Mum with!

  134. Mrs Green says:

    Lovely tip; Sheila – thank you for sharing them here.

    Kris and Mrs J; I’m really enjoying your comments and seeing how this challenge has impacted your lives. Like us, it’s time to relax the rules while keeping minimal waste in mind. You’ve both done so well and I hope you feel proud of your efforts.
    There were some wonderful success stories from Glos residents in the Citizen yesterday too 🙂

  135. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Sheila Maddock: We’re aware that art models will eventually go into the bin but so unfortunately do most children’s artwork and things as it wouldn’t be possible to store it all. What better way to use up something that would already be going to landfill and educate your children at the same time though – don’t you think?

    I also explained to him (aged 5) again about the landfill when we made cakes – he was very impressed with the bright colours of the reusable cases.

    Mrs Green I have taken some photos but do not know how I can add them here. If I upload them to photobucket there are 3 code types I can use.

    Today we bought this circle thing (don’t know how else to describe it) to stop things splattering all over my microwave in place of clingfilm.

  136. Sheila Maddock says:

    Tesco bio-degradable bin bags – I’ve been given some but haven’t found a use for them yet as I use/re-use old plastic bags/carriers to line my waste bins (as I have so little waste, and it’s clean, these go on and on). Kitchen waste goes in a washable bucket then into compost bin. Perhaps I could put my landfill waste in them instead of the council bag, then it would count zero waste? (Did anyone include a council bin bag in their landfill total this week???)

  137. carol boulton says:

    hi all,i,ve become aware
    that by making concious decisions when shopping and again when disposing of rubbish,how little actual stuff needs to go to landfill! the birds have been well fed with fat and odd bits of toast,not to mention the bird cake of porridge friut and nuts {left in the bottom of the box!}
    another unexpected bonus is that i have spent less!dont know how,but i am eating very well.this week has been an eye opener at how easy it is to have a large kitchen waste bin and chuck all in,when by sorting as i go along and visitng the compost bin daily to “feed”it, i only need a small paper bag for landfill!!will check actual amount tomorrow. thank you for all the interesting comments and the helpful hints and tips,ive enjoyed it!!

  138. Mrs Green says:

    @Mrs Jackson: Mrs J, I’ll email you, you can send the pics to me in an email and I’ll put them up on the site 🙂

    @Sheila Maddock: What did you decide to do with the biodegradable bags, Sheila?

    @carol boulton: Carol, I love your thoughts on this – that how, when we take a little care, our landfill rubbish can be dramatically reduced.
    What a great side-effect that you have spent less! I look forward to seeing your final amount 🙂 Ours went up on the site first thing this morning….

  139. Kris says:

    I wonder if any of the ZWW stuff will go up on ThisisGloucestershire – hope so 🙂 It’s nice to hear they had feedback in The Citizen, and I’m going to try to get the Echo before it hits Mum’s recycling box.

    Hi Sheila, no council bin bag for me, we have green wheely bins. You make a great point about reusing the carrier and not ever taking it out of the bin as the waste is clean – I hadn’t thought much about that, though I’ve enjoyed our bin being okay to sift through this week!

    I’ve not done the deed with the weighing and the form-filling yet, but have been thinking about disposal of our landfill bits – I may pop it into a public bin on the way to the busstop tomorrow as it’s too small to waste a bag on. (We’re meant to bag waste in the wheely bin – though tell that to whoever the random people who sometimes chuck stuff in are…)

  140. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: Hi Kris, I believe the Citizen and Echo will be picking up some stories during this week to report back on progress made my residents. There is already quite a lot of stuff on the thisisglos site if you type ‘zero waste’ into the search function. You’ll find yours truly there too 😉

    The system crashed on me when I entered my results on the Recycle For Gloucestershire site **sigh** I hope it has been sorted out now.

  141. Kris says:

    Me too as I’ve put all my notes so far on the sheet in unintelligible scribble that only I can understand, ready for writing up online!

    I’m making use of this rather fine site to remind me of how the week unfolded 🙂

  142. Poppy says:

    Put mine on last night and it was fine. No acknowledgment though, so I’m presuming it went through okay.

    I have a very bad confession to make this morning. 2 days into ‘normal’ life and one of my promises went straight out of the window. I vowed not to buy any more food for my kittens in useless pouches, but there it was …. usually £14.95 for 48 pouches, reduced to 99p!! Arrgghh!! How could I possibly not buy it! So so sorry 🙁 I had a real battle with the pros and cons, but money is money and this was a bargain I could not turn my back on.

  143. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: glad your results went through ok, Poppy. It must have just been me then. That’s good to know.

    I have to say that I think I would have done the same about the cat food – there are times when a bargain has to win over ethics. Don’t worry about it; you do so much already in many ways. Hope the cats enjoy it 🙂

  144. Mrs Jackson says:

    @Poppy: I know I was accepting some sort of acknowledgement and so am hoping it went through – did c&p it all though. I think last week helped us not have take away tonight when we usually would have.

  145. Mrs Green says:

    Remember everyone – today is the day to get your zero waste week results in to the council, if you haven’t done so already. I’m about to redo mine as the system wasn’t working when I tried:
    Monitoring form:

    Feedback form:

    I hope one of our visitors is the lucky winner too 🙂

  146. Kris says:

    I put mine in at the end of last week and hope they got counted. I think I got a page with ‘thank you for your comments’ or something similar afterward, but it’s easy to worry it didn’t go through!

    I wrote loads of feedback about how it all went and what I did, observed and failed on, but didn’t keep a record.

  147. sue says:

    @Peter Jay:

    Hello Peter. This is address to post your plastic wrappers to:

    Polyprint Mailing Films
    Tel 01603 721807  Fax 01603 721813
    Email [email protected]  Website
    Mackintosh Road, Rackheath Industrial Estate, RACKHEATH, Norwich NR13 6LJ
    Supplier of polythene mailing products (clear or printed).  Seeks part-used industrial reels of LPDE film and clean plastic bags in large quantity – no labels, food contamination etc.  Printed material acceptable. (Updated Mar 2001)
    Only want soft plastic ie not ‘crinkly’ stuff which is like plastic bags.

Leave a Reply