General ramblings

My Waste Watcher’s update

February 6, 2013

Here it is then, my Waste Watchers update.

As with all diets, even Rubbish ones, you have to weigh in regularly to see that you are heading in the right direction…(The starting ‘weigh in’ is here, just in case you missed it..)

I have to confess to feeling a bit of a fraud.

We had our fortnightly black bin collection on Friday, and I really don’t think our bin has slimmed at all. In fact, it may have podged up due to all the snotty tissues (too much information?!) as we have all been struck down by some icky snot thing.

We have done some small things, like start buying big pots of yoghurt, and decanting into a small tupperware pot for hubby to take to work, and doing the same with big bags of crisps.

And I have signed us up to the Mail Preference Service to stop the pesky junk mail. You can read all about how to do this, in this awesome post here.

BUT I have some grand plans and have made some exciting discoveries, that should see our bin shrinking before our very eyes….

Grand plan #1

Get a Green Joanna from Great Green Systems.

green joanna

We don’t currently have food waste collections in Wiltshire, and we are not supposed to even put vegetable peelings etc in the green garden waste bins. Our garden is not really big enough to support a compost heap, in that I don’t think it would generate enough garden waste to fuel it, so THIS is the answer!!

You can put in 2/3 kitchen waste to 1/3 garden waste, and you can put in cooked and uncooked food waste, as well as snotty tissues!!

If you live in Wiltshire, the council subsidise 75% of the cost of these (and their friends, the Green Cones) for their residents.You can find out more on the Wiltshire Council website here, and on the Great Green Systems website.

We are very kindly being ‘donated’ one by Wiltshire Council, so we can tell you all how wonderful it is!! (So, escaping on a technicality on the not buying anything new front-I know, still new, but again, like the solar panels, it’s a sustainability thing)

I am VERY excited about it. Perhaps a little more excited than a grown woman should be about a waste digester, but I am.

This should HUGELY reduce our bin contents. And make us compost for the garden. Yay!

I will keep you all posted with developments.

Grand plan #2

We are going to stop buying baby wipes.

We use reusable nappies and wipes most of the time. But when we go out, I always take a pack of wipes, as it is just easier, and then they are also on hand to mop up the inevitable spills. And we use them at home to wipe sticky hands and faces about 100 times a day.

But it is really just laziness.

So I am going to make a load of flannels from the rest of the old towel that I purloined from my mother in law to make the monster bath mitt, and use these instead.

Again, I will keep you posted…

Exciting discovery #1

The recycling centre (aka the tip) will take ALL forms of ‘non-bag’ plastic for recycling!

A most lovely picture of a recycling centre!

A most lovely picture of a recycling centre!

This is a revelation! How did I now know this?!

In Wiltshire, we can put plastic bottles in our kerbside recycling box, but now we can take other plastics, like punnets from fruit and veg, and yoghurt pots, as well as old plastic toys, to the recycling centre, and they will duly recycle them!

How fab is that? Again, I am aware that I am possibly a little over-excited at this news, but this must be what happens to you when you start Waste Watching..!

(In case you are interested, this is a list of what the recycling centres can take in Wiltshire-gripping stuff I know, but kind of useful)

Exciting discovery #2

All stretchy plastic can be recycled with the carrier bags in the carrier bag recycling bin thing that is outside most supermarkets.

You just need to do the ‘stretch test’. If it stretches, you can bung it in 🙂

If it doesn’t stretch, and breaks, then sadly, it still has to go in the bin at the moment 🙁

So, with just a couple of quite simple steps, we should see our bin slimming quite markedly over the coming weeks….

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15 Comments

  • Reply Sarah March 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    We have pretty much eliminated our paper towel and kleenex use. I pulled all my husband’s old t-shirts out of the rag bag and cut them into papertowel-sized squares; we use them for cleaning up spills and then they get thrown in the laundry. As a seamstress I have lots of fabric scraps, so I cut the flannel into squares, serged the edges and we use those to dry vegetables when we are cooking. Any knit or flannel pieces too small to bother with go into a jar and are used once for really bad messes, like wiping out greasy pans. I don’t want to wash greasy fabric so still use paper towels for draining bacon. But I’m thinking of trying a small cooling rack over newspaper for that job.
    My husband has a large stack of cloth handkerchiefs and I recently bought 3 dozen more, brand new, at an estate sale. I keep these available and have pretty much weaned myself of reaching into the kleenex box. I don’t bother ironing these unless they are going into my husband’s drawer.
    We have been using cloth napkins at the dinner table exclusively for over 20 years. I still use the Irish linen napkins that my mother bought for me to take to boarding school in 1946!
    All this increases my wash load a bit but hasn’t added any loads. Just means I have a full kitchen load once a week instead of doing a partial load.

    • Reply Jen March 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Kitchen roll is next on my hit list! I can’t decide where I stand on the whole tissue/hanky thing. We used them as children, but I think I may have been brainwashed by the tissue manufacturers and the germ mongerers! I will definitely give them another go. Thanks for all the tips 🙂

  • Reply The Green Johanna « My Make Do and Mend Year February 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    […] my last Waste Watcher’s update, I reported that we were shortly to be taking delivery of a Green Johanna, courtesy of Wiltshire […]

  • Reply daisymarmalade February 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I remember reading somewhere about reusable moist baby wipes and this tutorial come up on a google: http://mymerrymessylife.com/2012/06/homemade-cloth-baby-wipes-no-sew-tutorial.html
    I’m not so sure about the toilet cloths though … 🙂

    • Reply Jen February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Great, thanks so much for the link! I agree, think I may draw the line at toilet wipes..

  • Reply hmk71 February 7, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Hooray for washable wipes! Good for you. And once you realise you can live (easily) without them, you think of all sorts of other convenience items that perhaps you don’t need.

    And good luck with the digester. I’ve never tried one of those. We have wormery, bokashi and compost heap so I’ve never needed to. I did make something similar out of a dustbin rescued from a skip for our dog waste (ahem) but I think two biggish dogs were too much for it and it couldn’t keep up with it.

    Jemima- can I second Jen’s comment about washable nappies- it’s really not that grim, honestly!

    Jen, for the crisps, what about replacing (some of) them with stove-popped popcorn? You can still make it salty, it’s better for you than crisps and it comes in small bags, so you get more snack for your plastic wrapper.
    There’s a mention in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s (Little House on the Prairie) book _Farmer Boy_ of mixing popcorn with milk. You can add a cup of milk to a cup full of popcorn and *it won’t overflow*!! To my primary school aged son, that was like magic! It doesn’t work with any other solid; the solid displaces too much liquid.
    And popped corn and milk makes a good breakfast- better than cornflakes!

    And before you know it, you’ll be making your own yoghurt in a thermos flask…!

    • Reply Jen February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      We have had a wormery and a bokashi bin but no real success with either. Not sure what we’ve been doing wrong..!
      Popcorn sounds good-wil see if hubby can be persuaded! Or might have a go at making our own..
      Several people have posted me links about yoghurt making, but it looks quite hard without an Aga or similar. Can I justify to hubby that we NEED an Aga, so I can make yoghurt..?!

      • Reply Hazel February 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        Oh, absolutely! Cast iron argument!
        Actually, I got left just enough money by my godmother to buy a refurbished wood fired Rayburn and DH is now besotted! I don’t make yogurt in there though (temperature too hit and miss- think I need more practice. It’d be consistent in an Aga.) I use a thermos flask or the top of our boiler if the heating/water is on. Just scalded milk, cooled with live yogurt stirred in and then kept warm for a few hours.

        Kristen on http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/ has lots of information on making yogurt (without an Aga) as well as lots of other things, especially reducing food waste.

        I meant home made popcorn- a little bag of unpopped corn makes a lot of popcorn!
        Salty, sweet, toffee, cheesy, paprika…

        • Reply Jen February 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

          We make popcorn when we go to the cinema, with sugar and cinnamon, MUCH nicer and SOOO much cheaper!
          Will check out Kristen’s blog-thanks for the link 🙂

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo February 6, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Have you thought about a wormery?, they do the same kind of thing as a compost heap (but a bit quicker) and they give you lovely liquid plant feed.
    BTW, most plastics have a symbol on them which tells you if they can be recycled or not. Its a triangle with a number in it. Numbers 1 and 2 are usually widely recycled and you can check with your local recycyling centres about the other numbers. :o)

    • Reply Jen February 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      We tried a wormery several years ago but managed to kill the worms 🙁
      I need to do some more research on the plastic recycling thing!

  • Reply Jemima February 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I admit we got a free compost bin when we moved to our house and it was a complete waste of time. There is clearly a knack to it, which working full time, I just didn’t have the time to master. It has to be a good even mix of wet and dry waste – so garden and food waste, then things like dry shredded paper. Twigs etc take ages to break down. I am going to start again in the spring now I am at home. I also use disposable wipes, although I wasn’t planning to. The idea of having to wash a heavily soiled nappy just doesn’t float my boat, even though I hate the idea of the waste. I have cut up some squares from left over bits of fabric, and intend to put them moist in a sandwich box or similar for when we are on the go.

    • Reply Jen February 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Reusable nappies really aren’t that gross, especially once you factor in that you’ve already done the bum wiping..! I will let you know how we get on with the Green Joanna 🙂

  • Reply Niki February 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you! I must live quite near to you and although I do have a compost bin via the scheme you mention, I didn’t know about the tip taking other household plastics! Brilliant 🙂

    • Reply Jen February 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Fab isn’t it?! Who ever would have thought recycling news could be so exciting… #crazykids…

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