Monday 19 November 2018

My Journey to Less Waste #4 - Mobilising

Hi there everyone 😀

Welcome to the 4th post in My Journey to Less Waste series.

In my 1st and 2nd posts I shared the typical waste that we produced over a couple of very normal days.

My 3rd post saw us starting to feel just a little overwhelmed with how much we both needed and felt that we could do to try and reduce the amount of waste that we are producing as a household.

Well, we've got started, we've made some changes and I'm now ready to start to share these with you.

One of the things I felt I might need to do was to actually work out what my overall goal was. Well I think that has turned out to be quite simple to define .. I want to produce less waste. Maybe as time goes on I will be able to get more specific with my goal but for now, I think that pretty much covers it.

One of the things I've come across in all of my readings and research is this infographic ...

I've seen it in lots of different forms, but I think this one is my favourite, though that apostrophe is giving me a bit of angst 😜

Simply put ... Zero Waste starts by refusing things. Whatever you still have and use you should reduce to save resources. Substitute disposables for reusable options, and instead of tossing things repair them! Separate what little trash you have left and make sure to recycle. Compost what’s left and let it rot.

I thought a good way of sharing what changes we are making would be to perhaps take a look at each of the Rs once a month so you can see what progress we are making.

So ... here we go for what we've done so far ...

♻ I have switched to paperless banking ... I don't know why I didn't do it before ... habit I guess. By doing this I've managed to save three separate statements and all the associated paper and envelopes every month. I've also saved myself the time and space that I would have spent filing, storing and finally shredding them.

♻ I have updated my registration with the Mailing Preference Service ... By doing this I can make sure that all of the addressed mail that we both receive is relevant and won't be destined to go straight into the recycling bin.

♻ I have unsubscribed from unwanted catalogues ... Every time I've received a catalogue from anywhere I've found out how to unsubscribe and made sure I've done this so hopefully we will further reduce the post we receive.

♻ I have cancelled my magazine subscriptions ... I have had the Gardeners' World magazine for a good few years ... I love reading it, but it is a bit like being on a loop. I've decided to keep the last 12 months worth of issues and cancelled the subscription, saving both on money and on paper.

♻ I have stopped using clingfilm ... Since making our own beeswax wraps we haven't used any clingfilm at all. This is great as clingfilm is not recyclable and can only really be used the once. As well as cutting out on a single use product we are actually saving money too ... win/win.
I no longer use supermarket single use bags for loose fruit and vegetables ... We have either taken our own bags or just put the 'naked' veg straight into the basket. Another single use item refused very easily.

Replaced cotton wool pads with reusable cleansing pads ... I've stopped using single use cotton wool pads for cleansing my face and have made some pretty reusable alternatives ... I will also be offering these for sale on my craft stall so, as well as not spending anything on the cotton wool pads, I may make a few pounds from selling those I've made.
♻ I haven't done this yet, but I am also planning to opt out from the Post Office door to door leafleting. This will mean that we won't get the localised leaflets being dropped through which we normally just throw straight in the bin. I guess there may be the risk that we will miss an amazing deal, but I think I can live with that.

♻ Kitchen roll use ... I used to use this for everything and we got through loads of it. I've stopped using it where I can easily find an alternative. For example I always used to use it to collect food waste when preparing meals, I no longer do this. I also used to use it to dry off after cleaning the bathroom ... I'm now using a reusable cloth instead.

♻ Polythene food and freezer bags ... We have drastically reduced the amount of poly bags that we use. We used to use these for Martin's sandwiches for work, which are now replaced by beeswax wraps. We also used to use them to portion meat up for freezing ... we've started using old takeaway containers for this instead.

Fragranced ironing water ... Whilst I know this is not a necessity I'm not ready to give up using it just yet. However, I have been drastically diluting it and this has made it go a lot further. I haven't bought any in ages and maybe ... eventually ... I will stop using it all together.

Reuse and repair
♻ Shower scrunchie ... As these cost hardly anything we always used to think nothing of throwing them out when they got a little tatty. Following having seen a YouTube video of how to repair one I thought I'd give it a go and I have to report that it works a treat. Basically you just take it apart and reroll and tie it and it's as good as new. I know there are lots of more environmentally friendly options out there but if you already have these they are really easy to repair and could last for years.

In the above infographic recycle comes before rehoming. This doesn't sit quite rightly with me, so I would always try and rehome first ...

♻ Carpet offcuts ... Instead of taking these to the tip we have provided my brother with flooring for his garage and a nice soft bed for our neighbour's bunny.

♻ Old Magazines ... I have passed on lots of different magazines to friends and neighbours for a second reading. Hopefully they will pass them on again.

CD Cabinet - Our CDs have all pretty much been uploaded to iTunes and downloaded back onto the iPad for playing through a Bluetooth speaker. The very expensive solid oak CD tower rack has been lurking about in the back porch for a good few months. I finally managed to get my ass in gear, took photos and managed to sell it for £20 on Facebook. We were both glad that we were able to find it a new home.

One of the things I have become far more aware of is what can actually be recycled and where. There are so many more options than just the fortnightly kerbside collection. Recycle Now is a fabulous website giving details of where you can recycle pretty much anything. It's certainly stopped us throwing a lot of stuff in our general waste.

♻ I have found out what can go in our kerbside recycling ... The information provided by our council on what can and can't be included in our recycling bin is sketchy to say the least. I've sent numerous emails asking whether certain items can be included and I've been surprised at how much more I can include than I originally thought. I've shared this information on Facebook with my local friends, so hopefully more people will be more aware.

♻ TerraCycle ... TerraCycle is a company that works with manufacturers to provide recycling schemes for waste that can't always be included with your kerbside recycling. I've registered for a number of schemes including toothbrushes. From December they will be offering a crisp packet recycling scheme in conjunction with Walkers, so we are currently collecting all of our crisp packets in readiness.
♻ Supermarket plastic bag recycling scheme ... I got quite excited to find out exactly how much could be included within this scheme, though I have since found out that we can include these things in our kerbside recycling ...

♻ Printer Cartridges ... These can be sent via Freepost to Tesco for recycling, as long as you have a Clubcard number.

♻ Asthma Inhalers ... There is a list of places on line that will accept used inhalers back for recycling. Our local Boots will take these.

♻ Ecobricks ... Making Ecobricks is a way of recycling the plastics that we use in our homes every day that are not normally recyclable. Things like cling film, blister packs for tablets and the crinkly plastic bags that fruit and veg is packed in. I won't go into the detail of Ecobricks in this post but we are in the process of making our first one.
Don't get me wrong ... I know that recycling is really not the best option ... but it’s got to be better than adding to landfill, though I do understand this stuff will all end up there eventually.

Whilst recycling does help reduce new materials from being mined out of the ground and it uses less energy overall than making new things and it definitely keeps things out of landfill and keeps materials in circulation longer ... it is not a perfect solution.

Recycling uses a huge amount of resources. Trucks collect our recycling bins from our streets, they drive them to sorting facilities and then heavy machinery is required to sort the different streams. The materials are then baled and loaded into containers and shipped to their final destination – which could be overseas. Then it seems it could be anyone's guess as to what happens to it.

Recycling is definitely preferable to not recycling but it is not a get out of jail free card. We need to rethink first. We need to try and refuse, reduce, reuse and repair and rehome before we resort to recycling.

Plenty to think about eh?

One of the things I noticed really early on was how much food waste we generate when we cook from scratch ...
We used to have a compost bin but got rid of it last year when we had the garden alterations done. Whilst I don't regret not having the compost bin, I do regret the amount of raw food waste that goes into general waste.

♻🐛♻ We've bought a wormery ... It's early days but we've got it set up and running and in time it should be able to cope with the majority of our raw food waste 🐛🐛🐛

So, that's what we've done up to now. All put down together it feels like a lot, but there is still so much more we can do, but I'm happy that we've made a start.

There have been a few fails along the way ...

❌ Face cleansing pads ... My first attempts were crocheted. They looked great, but ... they felt like pan scrubbers against my baby soft cheeks ...
❌ Supermarket plastic bag recycling ... In spite of Asda stating on their website that this facility is available in all of their stores ... it's not in our local one. Raising a concern about this eventually elicited a response that it was due to be replaced soon, but it's not back yet ... However, I'm not too worried as I've since discovered I can include these in my kerbside recycling.

❌ My shopping list ... This was heartbreaking. Just looking at what we needed to buy and realising that pretty much every single thing would come packaged in plastic ...
Whilst there now seems to be plastic everywhere we look, having written down the things that we have done, I am pleased that we have actually made a start on our journey to producing less waste.

There have also been lots of conversations with friends and family and it's interesting to see lots of other people are also starting become more aware of the fix that our planet seems to be in.

I really hope that the habits that we are starting to form don't fall by the wayside and that we find more and more ways of doing our little individual bit as time goes on.

I will definitely keep you posted 😀



  1. Interesting post we are starting our journey to zero and were recommended this book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson

    1. Oooh thank you ... I will have a look 😃

  2. Thanks Elena ... there is still so much more we could do, I need to think about our next steps now 😃

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    1. Thank you. I think the little things really start to add up over time without it all feeling too overwhelming 😃

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    1. Thank you. There are lots of things we can all do to help, without a huge amount of effort 😃

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  6. Hi there ... the information is just really from my own experience and good old ‘google’ 😃


Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.