My rubbish challenge
I’ve set myself a goal here at Chez Green. This week we struggled to get the lid on the dustbin. We have one of those old fashioned metal bins and we fill it each week. When I look up the road on rubbish collection day, I can see this is well below the average, but I find it shocking to think that four of us (three humans, one cat) can create so much rubbish.
Every hour in Britain we throw away enough rubbish to fill the Albert Hall. Most of it ends up in overflowing landfill sites. The impact of this on our health and the environment is showing through climate change.
So, step one is to get informed. It’s a kind of ‘Hi, I’m Mrs Green and I’m addicted to creating rubbish’ scenario. Any psychologist will tell you that owning your issue is the first step!
Next comes a desire to change. Well, I certainly have that. Throwing out a bin full of rubbish each week weighs heavy on my soul. I know that most holistic way to live would involve no rubbish at all. I’m also aware that a few decades ago, just a blink in the eye of human evolution, we were creating no rubbish. Now we have turned into the parasites of the earth – extracting what we want and leaving a trail of destruction.
In my ideal world, food would be home grown or locally sourced, scraps would be composted or fed to animals and returned to the land. There would be no plastic packaging. Unfortunately this is not a realistic expectation for many of us anymore as the word ‘convenient’ seems to be first and foremost in our ‘101 reasons not to act’ list.
So, I’m standing up and owning my bin full of rubbish each week and I’ve started to make changes!
A great site is the Recycle Now site where you can find your nearest recycling facilities. Mr Green and I get through a lot of tetrapak cartons and, as you may have read in an earlier post this week, I’ve just discovered we can recycle them a couple of miles away.
Glasses, tins and paper are collected from the kerbside and we have a big enough garden to compost everything, plus hungry chickens, horses and sheep that will happily much through our offerings.
I have to hold my hands up and say that laziness combined with a desire for ‘convenience’ are my appalling excuses for not recycling more.
Our land has a clay bed, so from November to March you can hardly get down the garden to the compost heap without sinking in mud. Sometimes when I’m at the end of my tether, it’s pouring with rain and I have a dirty tin in my hands, the last thing I can be bothered to do is to clean it out and take it outside to put in the right container. It just gets put in the bin
Shocking, isn’t it? I’m actually blushing and horribly embarrassed as I type………….
I decided that rather than beat myself up for ‘failing’ I would put measures into place to make things easier and more convenient. Then I’ll have more chance of succeeding.
I spent half the day in the kitchen annexe this morning, made that space work more for me and have set up four containers. None are pretty or exciting, but they are functional and I can shut the door on them. There is one for paper, one for cardboard, one for tetrapaks and one for recyclable plastic bottles. In the porch there is a big box for tins and glass so that I don’t have to brave the elements on a cold, stormy night. I’ve also put a big container on the kitchen work surface to put all peelings into. It will hold enough for 3 or 4 days and I’m sure even I can manage to walk out into the garden occasionally to empty it.
So, now I have no more excuses and you are my witnesses!
I have the room to store things, appropriate containers set up within easy reach, most items will be collected from me and the rest can be stored for a few months until there is enough to warrant a visit to the recycling centre.
Now there should be nothing in the bin except for cooked food scraps, of which we have very few (I’m considering a bokashi, and would love to hear from anyone who has one) and non-recyclable plastic packaging.
I don’t believe for one moment that recycling is the answer. In fact, it’s a bug bear of mine that we place so much importance on it when we should be looking at REDUCING our waste in the first place.
I know my ‘sins’ as it were – soya milk from the other side of the world, fruit juice when I could press my own, tinned food for the cat on occasions, dozens of yogurt pots instead of making it at home, Capri Sun for little miss Green that comes in those awful tin foil packages and the occasional convenience meal that arrives on a plastic tray.
But I guess going green, as with all things in life, is about keeping within our comfort zone and tackling things at a pace which side steps our flight or fight mechanism.
I feel that success begets success and breeds motivation. So, when I successfully reduce my bin load each week, I will then be inspired to look at creating less waste to begin with.
How many people are in your household and how much rubbish do you generate each week? Do you have good recycling facilities in your area? And what about a Bokashi – do you have one; how do you get on with it?
Edit: Ahhh, I’ve just found Almost Mrs Average’s fantastic blog, which is dedicated to reducing her family’s waste to zero. All power to you Mrs. A! I look forward to following your progress and getting some inspiration and moral support when I’m standing there with a dirty cat food tin in my hands after a busy day 😀