Bin Day and my Inner Sloth

I’m hoping none of my neighbours noticed my stealthy nighttime bin photography, I may have looked a bit mad.

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So here we are, two and a bit bags of landfill rubbish in two weeks. It actually looks better than I thought.

I’ve also had a radical bin related thought. I have more recycling than landfill waste so why don’t I swap round the bins I use in the house?! I’m not really sure why I didn’t think of this before, bit slow on the uptake. The bin I’m using for recycling at the mo is in a cupboard, so I’m hoping that the extra hassle of opening this up and taking the lid off will make me and my other half think a bit more about whether something can be recycled.

I’m a big fan of using laziness to make better choices. So far this is working really well for me with hankies and the old mooncup (less bins to empty). I wonder what other things I can do to channel my inner sloth. All thoughts welcome.

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Where oh where does my recycling go, where oh where can it be?

Following on from the great recycling info hunt 2017. So where is all the stuff going?

I try not to listen to the doom media of the likes of the daily fail, but I think some really must have sunk in. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the stuff I’ve found out about where my recycling goes.

It turns out that 96% of my kerb side recycling gets used in the UK or mainland Europe.

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I had this vision of it all shipped to China at vast ecological expense, or actually ending up in landfill after all. There’s even a nice bit on council website about what’s recycled locally, feeding into local jobs.

My one disappointment locally though is that it seems that most of the glass collected at the kerb is ending up crushed for building products, not going straight back into new jars.

Glass recycling has the potential to be really good at preventing CO2 release and reducing quarrying; in theory you can just keep making new glass again and again. I’ve been working on the assumption that this was happening, so trying to swap out other packaging for glass options when I could. But once glass goes into aggregate that’s it, end of the line.

My local solution would be to take my glass up to the tip and sort it by colour so it can go back into jars and bottles. I’m not sure if that’s practical at the moment, think I might need to psych up to that one. I guess it’s good to know though. Has anyone else looked into where their recycling actually goes?

The Rubbish Diet

Have you come across the rubbish diet yet? I saw Karen Canard give a talk a year or so ago, and ever since I’ve been thinking about signing up to her challenge. Yep I’m a bit slow, but slowly slowly catchy monkey and other such platitudes.

So I finally signed up last week and have been getting the emailed pep talks to send me on the straight and narrow waste wise.

This week all the emails have focused on recycling; making sure that no recyclables are heading into the landfill bin.

If you saw my last post you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m definitely getting everything into the right bin, but I think there are still a few fixes to do.

At the behest of the rubbish diet team, I’ve been taking a really good look at what my council says it can recycle and I’ve found some good discoveries and things I hadn’t thought about.

  • Greaseproof paper can go into the compost bin.
  • I can empty my vacuum into the compost (sorry maybe obvious to everyone else, but hadn’t thought of it).
  • There’s a recycling centre where I can take light bulbs just down the road (I’ve been hoarding these for very occasional tip visits up till now and driving the other half crazy).
  • Kitchen roll can go in the compost.
  • My local tip recycles hard plastics.
  • I can’t recycle pumps from soap dispensers (I wonder if this could go in hard plastics?).

Living in Cambridge, queries about rubbish are slightly complicated by having a county and a city council with slightly different systems. But I did find quite a bit of useful info out there. The posters and leaflets on the council website were rather oversimplified though. I guess they don’t want to scare people off.

Here’s an interesting (but mildly patronising (I’m not really down with the cartoon rubbish)) video about how my mixed recycling is sorted in Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

 

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Argh! So much recycling. This was everything I couldn’t fit in my wheelie bin on bin day. Not good. To be fair the extra bin bag is left from Christmas when I had 7 house guests, but still, not good.

I’ve just done my food shopping for the week and I think I’ve done quite well at the waste reduction. But it was totally because I didn’t do a supermarket run in the end. I needed to pick up something from my local fish shop (yep tropical fish owner, let’s not even go there ecologically speaking at the mo), which really conveniently has a veg/ general food shop attached. So I managed to get pretty much all my veg without packaging, just a paper bag for mushrooms and a couple of elastic bands on the spring onions.

Here’s all the packaged food I bought. Not too bad I think, even though there is a small styrofoam cup on the ham hock (mmmm boiled ham).

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Supermarket sweep

I’ve been thinking about some baby step goals, you know, things to do without dramatically altering my life (sorry I did say I was a rubbish environmentalist). I think I’d like to know how much I can reduce my waste, especially plastic waste, but still shop at the supermarket.

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My recycling container starting to overflow, eek it’s not bin day for 3 days and my wheely bin is already full.

I’m pretty certain that I could massively wipe out lots of packaging if I bought in the market. The problem is though, that I work full time and have quite a busy extra curricular schedule. I guess I could make the time if I really had to, but sometimes what’s theoretically possible would in practise make my head explode. So one stop shopping or online shopping is really great for me. Supermarket it is for the time being.

Has anyone else noticed that practically everything in the supermarket comes packaging these days? I’m specifically thinking of the fruit and veg. There hardly seems to be anything that isn’t at least in a plastic bag.

Notable exceptions are carrots, onions, some tomatoes, garlic, spring onions (although they do have a tie), mushrooms and parsnips. But I’m sure I used to be able to very loads of green veg loose.

I’ve also noticed that loads of things that once came in plastic wrap now have a hard plastic tray as well. I think this is because it gives people the impression that the food is premier quality. This is something I know I sometimes get sucked into. Sausages! Don’t they just look posher in a tray compared to the thin wrap! Mental note to stop being an advertising sucker.

Maybe some supermarkets are better than others. I’ll report back on progress at my next shop.

 

 

Vagina warning

Don’t worry there are no photos, it’s definitely NOT that kind of blog.

Let’s talk periods and rubbish…..still here? Ok, after the delight of the hankie and the realisation that being eco friendly meant I could be lazier and not empty bins, I started to look at the other bins in my life that I hate to empty. Bingo! That horrible one in the bathroom with the tampon applicators in it.

Yep, I’m going to out myself on the internet, I mostly flush my tampons away. I’ve really known I shouldn’t be doing this for years, but it’s so damn easy and the bin really is gross. Well I’m not alone in this, apparently half of us are up to this in the UK. I sort of suspect that the numbers might actually be higher than this, and that people are ashamed to admit it. Apparently around 200,000 tonnes of waste from menstrual products is disposed of each year and most tampons contain plastic in the form of rayon, something I hadn’t really though about until I started looking into these stats.

Well hopefully I’m crossing myself off the list and getting rid of the applicators and packaging too. Dun dun dun, I’ve bought a mooncup!

So let’s get all tech bloggy with a classic unboxing.

What’s in the packaging: we’ve got a receipt, two leaflets, the mooncup in a cotton bag and two stickers.

The stickers make me chuckle, I’m not quite sure I’m up for putting really quite large stickers of a menstrual product up. I suppose I could post them to friends?!

The big leaflet starts with the obligatory glowing reviews, including on that says you can use them whilst skiing and scuba diving. Surely a piss take of the rollerblading/ zip line using tampon adverts!?

All the nitty gritty info is in the little leaflet, designed to be kept. This tells you all about how to insert the cup, removed it and clean it. There’s also a troubleshooting section telling you not to panic if you have trouble removing your mooncup. Perhaps they could print that in friendly letters on the cover a la Douglas Adams.

So the cup itself comes in a cute linen bag with pink ribbon ties. I don’t really know how useful this is. I’m thinking I might need to think of a container to store it in, maybe something I can sterilize it in.

Just in case you are stats obsessed, you can also track your flow using the measurements on the side of the cup. Don’t get me wrong I love a graph, but maybe this would be a step too far. If anyone reading this has a graph however, please share.

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I’ve gone for the size A cup in honor of being over 30 (am I alone in not knowing that my vagina apparently grew after the age of 30?). I’ll have to wait for the crimson tide before testing if I’ve got the right one and casting judgement.

* just to be clear there’s no financial gain for me mentioning mooncup, and as the Beeb would say, other brands are available.

 

Join the revolution: Hankies!

Ok so this is something I’ve been raving about to everyone I know at the moment. I think I’d better calm it down so they don’t all think I’ve lost the plot. So it’s a good job you’re here internet, I’ll try to get it out of my system….HANKIES ARE AWESOME!

I have the true zeal of a convert.

I always thought that hankies were a bit gross, but I’d been looking around at things I throw away and tissues seemed like an easy hit.

I’m always carrying a tissue as I’ve got lots of mild allergies. Add to that, that I hate emptying bins around my house and you’ve got annoyingly overflowing bins full of tissues (no sniggering at the back).

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And it turns out hankies are quite nice to use, especially if you make them in cute cottons.

collage-1486210116067Here’s some I made earlier. I made mine about 20cm square and did little hand rolled stitched hems because I wanted to make them in front of the tv, but you could easily run them up on the machine. I’ve got loads (too much?) of coloured cottons so used them, but I think this would be a good use of old clothes.