Change the world wednesday, week 11

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recycleI’m so excited about this week’s challenge, set by Reduce Footprints.

It’s something right up my street, so to speak.

This week, we’re to become garbage collectors.

Instead of ‘throwing things away’ we’ve been asked to collect everything up. You should compost and recycle as usual, but instead of tossing things out for kerbside collection or taking it to the tip, keep hold of it and have a rummage through at the end of the week.

Now I’m a bit ahead of the game with this one, so I’m at a slight advantage. You see I’ve been gathering my rubbish for nearly one YEAR and our bin isn’t even full!

We set ourselves a goal at the beginning of 2009 to get through a year without needing kerbside pick up. So far we are on target by putting out less than 100gms of waste per week.

Last week our landfill rubbish was:

  • cellophane wrap from tissues
  • cellophane wrap from a toy on front of a magazine
  • large crisp bag
  • 2 cereal bar and 1 licorice bar wrapper
  • plastic wrapping from last week’s Sunday roast meat.

It weighed just 34 gms and fitted inside the crisp bag.

Everything else is reused, recycled or composted, but the most important thing of all is making a good decision before you purchase. If the packaging is excessive then look for alternatives. Buy loose fruit and veg, choose products with packaging that can be easily recycled (buy chocolate in foil and paper rather than plastic, for example). Buy tins or glass jars instead of convenience meals on plastic trays.

Look for reusable, rather than disposable options for things like cloths instead of kitchen towel, refillable pens instead of biros, rechargeable batteries instead of disposable.

Don’t waste food – compost scraps and don’t buy or cook too much; learn to view your leftovers as ingredients. See more tips with our ‘reduce food waste’ post.

And the simplest trick of all? Take your own reusable shopping bags to the store with you. Why not treat yourself to reusable shopping bags made from recycled rice sacks!

Ok, it’s taken us a year to reduce our rubbish by this much, but with a small amount of time, care and change of habit, you can do it too!

Will you join in with the challenge? Could you hang on to your rubbish for a week to raise your awareness about how much you throw away and then make some changes? I’d love to help you through this, so why not sign up and let me know what’s in your bin at the end of the week?


  1. Ben on November 21, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Just curious, are you going to try and do the same thing for 2010? Another single garbage can?

  2. Mrs Green on November 21, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Hi Ben, Great question! I was talking to Mr G about this the other day and wondering how we can step up our challenge for next year. We’re not sure yet, but we will at least do the same again, if not set our target higher 🙂

  3. rewinn on November 29, 2009 at 5:58 am

    What a great challenge! We’re moving to a house in a couple of weeks, and this will be a great time to see if we can follow your example. Since we’re making a big life change anyway, what’s one more change?

  4. Mrs Green on December 1, 2009 at 7:44 am

    @rewinn: Hi Rewinn, welcome to the site and thanks for taking time to leave a comment; especially as you are busy planning for a house move!
    Good luck with everything and it’s great that you are embracing the challenge 🙂

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