Monday, 8 September 2008

Day 1

I accept the challenge.

I place a brown cardboard box on top of our kitchen bin and ask the family to place their rubbish in it so that I can monitor what we throw away each day. The plan is to sort it into categories:
  1. waste for which there is an alternative
  2. waste which might well be recyclable
  3. waste for which there may be no alternative

At the end of today the box contained the following:

  1. foil outer wrapping from Tunnocks caramel biscuits, plastic tray and cover from Sainsbury's cooked ham slices marked 'not yet recyclable', plastic cover and label from Asda sausages marked 'currently not recyclable', inner wrapper from Sainsbury's cornflour marked 'unrecyclable', plastic surround from Ikea loyalty card
  2. peel off backing from (Always?) panty liner, peel off strip from LoveFilm DVD envelope, unidentified peel off backing, plastic lid with no identification, two used paper tissues

The good news is that there is no waste for which there is no alternative. However some of the alternatives are more challenging than others.

Biscuits can be baked at home. They will undoubtedly taste better and do us more good than the average shop bought offerings but will require time and effort. Ham and sausages can be bought from my local butcher who may very well allow me to take them home in my own containers, however I confess to being a bit embarrassed to ask to do this. Cornflour, like so many other staples, is hard to come by in recyclable packaging. I wish there was a local shop where I could help myself from bulk containers. There's at least one in London but that's no use to me here in Bristol. I could do without the Ikea loyalty card, and all the others when I come to think about it. By the way, I do appreciate manufacturers providing recycling instructions on their packaging.

I need to investigate these peel off backing papers. Despite their shiny surfaces they may well be able to be included in our paper collection. Plastic without any identification is a pain. Our local plastic recycling facility takes 1 and 2 and will shortly accept 5 and 6. I'm afraid of trying to recycle unidentified plastic in case it contaminates the whole load. Similarly I have also been reluctant to put used tissues in the compost for fear of spreading germs, but again there may well be no reason why they cannot be included with our kitchen waste.

Given the lack of notice I think I have made a good start. Tomorrow is another day!


Rachelle said...

It's a fab idea to put a box over the bin and put everything into it. That's how we began too. It really makes you look at things doesn't it and then you can see where the 'could do better' list can come in.

Enjoy the baking (and the rewards) and why not visit your butcher first and sound him / her out about taking your own container before actually doing it?

I was nervous too, but his response was excellent and he treated me as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do!

You might even find that he has some greaseproof paper somewhere in his shop that he could use for your purchases.

I think tissues in the compost will be fine - I can't see you'll be spreading germs around by the time they've broken down.

What a great start to your week - well done!

Mrs G x

just Gai said...

Thank you for your support and encouragement Rachelle.

I have decided to take your advice and speak to our butcher before I turn up with my own containers. I've been buying fruit and veg in our local greengrocers without placing them in separate plastic bags for some time now. It puzzles the staff but they are alright with it. I guess it saves them a few pence too.

I am reassured that you think I can go ahead and compost used tissues. That's another few items I can remove from the landfill bag!