Sunday, 10 March 2013

Have we slimmed our bin?

Since January we have been participating in the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Slim Your Bin project. Based on Karen Cannard's Rubbish Diet, the aim has been to reduce the non-recyclable and non-reusable waste going into our bin.


This was some of the contents of our bin at the start of the project.

I thought we were already doing as much as we could on the recycling front, (read my 10 recycly and reusey things blog post here!) but we have learnt so much since January and I'm grateful that Emma Croft from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust got us on board.

This week sees the culmination of the project, and the grand finale is a Zero Waste week. I'm not sure if we will manage zero waste exactly, but we emptied the bin yesterday ready for a weigh-in on Friday, and I'm hoping that we'll see a significant reduction from our initial weigh-in of 850g.

I'm sure you're all dying to know what our highlights of the Slim Your Bin project over the last couple of months have been, so here goes!

  • At the moment we can recycle plastic bottles such as milk bottles in our Cardboards and Plastics wheelie bin, but we learnt that we can also recycle other plastics such as yogurt pots and margarine tubs at our Household Recycling Sites, so we are collecting a big bagful. 
  • We discovered that 'stretchy' polythene can be recycled at Supermarkets at the carrier bag recycling points, so that doesn't go into our bin any more.
  • When we can, we are buying things like yogurt, rice, crisps, lunch box fare and loo rolls in larger packets or containers and decanting into smaller ones.
  • All packaging is being rigorously reused as many times as possible. Raisin boxes are being refilled from a large packet.
  • We're trying to eliminate plastic packaging when possible by buying things loose, in paper sacks or in our new Onya* weigh bags.
  • I've had a go at making my own washing powder.

  • We've visited our local landfill site to see what happens to our waste and recycling.
  • We've been to a 'Give and Take' day organised by our Transition Town group and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. A 'Give and Take' is like a jumble sale except no money is exchanged - you give stuff that you don't want any more and have a good old rummage to see if there's anything you want to take. I've got decluttering on my mind at the moment so I was keen to do more giving than taking at Saturday's event and we were successful!
  • We popped in to a toiletry making event, organised by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and came away with some great 'natural' toiletries. (A blog post about this will be on its way soon).
  • I've made some really 'rubbish' friends! As well as Emma (pictured above by some bales of plastic!), Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's Waste Minimisation Officer, I've met the lovely Jen who is now half way through her year of not buying anything new, and blogs very wittily and interestingly about it at My Make Do And Mend Year. I've also made contact with my Transition Town group's Zero Waste subgroup and am going along to my first meeting tomorrow.
  • Finally, one of the highlights of the Slim Your Bin finale week, still to come, is a screening of Trashed on Thursday. This is a film about the global effects of our consumption and waste and features Jeremy Irons. 
Trashed Film Poster

To quote the Trashed website: "Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. This is a meticulous, brave investigative journey that takes Irons (and us) from scepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope. Brady's narrative is vividly propelled by an original score created by Academy Award winning composer Vangelis."


If you would like to see the film it is showing this Thursday 14 March at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham, Wiltshire at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Pound. The director will be there for a Q and A session, and also Karen Cannard from the Rubbish Diet, so it promises to be a really interesting evening.

I know there will be some harrowing scenes in the film, so it seems inappropriate to say that I'm 'looking forward' to watching it on Thursday, but I have no doubt it will provide us with more motivation to continue waste watching and reducing our consumption now that the Slim Your Bin project is drawing to a close.

If you are disappointed at the prospect of no more Slim Your Bin blog posts, then fear not, I still have a few up my sleeve. Watch out for another Slim Your Bin grand finale decluttering giveaway later this week! 

* There was of course, the great Onya weigh bags giveaway. Giveaway winners sometimes get lost but usually come home to roost eventually - the winner announced some time ago for this one was Tums - if you are out there and you are still reading Tums, please email me your address as the bags are waiting for you!

15 comments:

  1. You've done a really great job reducing your waste! It's really disturbing to me to see how much garbage humans create.

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  2. We are lucky here that we have curbside recycling for most things. A few months ago, they just increased what they would take and there's not that much that has to be thrown away. The community where my sister lives has a recycling barn. Besides recycling the standard materials, they have a large area where you can leave something that another person many want. It sounds like your Give and Take Away event, but happens all year round. I am interested in your final weigh in. I think you will find your efforts have really paid off.

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    1. I like the sound of the recycling barn. It varies from council to council over here, but some do have systems by which members of the public can take furniture etc that comes in.

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  3. You have done a great job in reducing your waste, even to making your own detergents. I am looking forward to hearing what you think about Trashed. I've heard great things about it, but haven't found a way to watch it yet here.

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    1. Trashed will definitely be getting its own blog post once I've watched it.

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  4. I love the idea of a Give and Take day. I recently needed a TV and asked around to see if anyone had one they weren't using, and finally got one from someone I play in a band with. She was glad to get rid of it, and I was thrilled to get a new TV. It's old and doesn't have a flat screen, but it's perfect for what I need. I think so many people have things sitting in their houses that other people would be very happy to have.

    I'm also looking forward to hearing how you made toiletries. I make my own body butter and lip balm, but would love to make more.

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    1. Watch this space for the exfoliating breadcrumb balls and lemon toner...

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  5. Thankyou for your lovely mention :)
    Great work on the bin!! And really want to know how you got on with your washing powder-it's on my list of things to try!
    See you Thursday at Trashed-still negotiating an 'early finish' for me to come over a bit earlier-will let you know ASAP!

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    1. Washing powder gets the thumbs up here! Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

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  6. Good luck with zero waste week! I've just looked in my bin, which only contains packaging nowadays. Giving lots of thought about how to slim it.

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    1. Great that your bin only contains packaging. Superfluous packaging is a real nuisance.

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  7. Hello - Just a quickie to say that it was absolutely brilliant to meet you and your family on Thursday and thank you soooooooo much for your wonderful hospitality and for cracking on with the Rubbish Diet with such gusto. Hope you have a fabulous weekend and enjoy settling back into your new rubbish-free routines. :) Karen x

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    1. Well, thank you for coming to visit and inspiring and motivating us to keep at the zero waste challenge!

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  8. Love your work - I've not yet got to weighing my waste, but I'm really working to be zero waste. Sadly there's a few things that get me regularly - my preferred, low sugar museli comes in 500g packs, in a plastic bag in a box :( And the dried apricots for the BF are also in plastic - if I get them at the coop, they are black, and 2-3 times the price. And then there's the plastic 'lip wrap' on some jars - WHY do they do that?!?!

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    1. Have you tried making your own mix? We buy oat flakes in paper, then add the seeds and dried fruits. It's true, we buy these in plastic packages, but the resulting mix makes for a few large bags, so it's better than buying ready mixed.

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