Thursday, 3 April 2014

Revisiting our bin / Onya bags pre-Easter re-give away...

Recently someone asked me about the state of our bin. Not exactly in those words, but that was what they were getting at. Knowing that we had taken part in the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Slim Your Bin project last year, they wondered if we had managed to stay slim or whether we'd put any weight back on (waste wise)...

If you weren't around here last year, the project aimed to get participating households to reduce their waste, and by the end we had halved our domestic waste*. This outcome surprised us as we would have labelled ourselves diligent recyclers. (If you click on the Waste category on the right hand side of the blog, you'll find the blog posts that I wrote whilst we were doing the project, which include lots of waste reducing tips and photos of our trip to our local recycling centre and landfill).

I would love to say that after taking part in the project we all lived happily zero wastily ever after but that's not true.

Just how are we doing one year on? I haven't weighed my bin recently (which is what we did at the start and finish of the Slim Your Bin project) but if we had to produce an Annual Report, I think it would read something like this:

Green cleaning

We're still using vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda for most of our needs, for most of the time.  I love Jo's recipe for a Gumption type cleaning paste, which makes a great bicarb cleaner. After seriously overstocking ingredients for a green cleaning workshop last summer, I have been able to top up my DIY washing powder whenever it runs low.

The only hiccup with the green cleaning (apart from the fact that our house could always use more cleaning generally) has been a major and ongoing black mould problem in various rooms this damp winter, which, in the end had to be tackled with bleach. From what I understand, although bleach itself breaks down into chlorides quite rapidly, it's the production of bleach that is more of an environmental issue (click here for Lucy Siegle's article on this topic).

Food Waste

The Food Waste situation is also generally much, much improved. We buy less and waste less. We eat up leftovers rather than letting them fester in the fridge. We freeze stuff. And when there is food waste it is composted or fed to the chickens.


Ah, the decluttering. This will always be my Achilles' heel! Part of the focus of the Slim Your Bin project was on 'green' decluttering; disposing of stuff responsibly. For a while I even boldly wrote about my efforts in Tidy Friday blog posts, a thrilling round-up of our weekly food waste and decluttering efforts, but I'm afraid I kind of fizzled out with the decluttering part.

The good news is that through doing the project we now have an in-depth understanding of what can be recycled and reused, and we know how to make a bit of cash out of our clutter. The bad news is that we are not very successful at putting our knowledge into practice. We're not consigning stuff to the wheelie bin, but could definitely do with an (environmentally responsible) big spring clean and clear out. 


This is another area in which we struggle. I find it really hard to avoid unnecessary or non recyclable food packaging completely. Although we use our Onya bags, avoid excess packaging where we can (we're still avoiding those Tetrapak fruit juice cartons), reuse packaging for things like putting packed lunches in or for storing leftovers, and recycle stretchy plastic, I'd love to cut down more. I'm sure that this accounts for most of our fortnightly wheelie bin content.

If you're wondering what Onya bags are then take a look at the Onya weigh bags below. Super thin and light tulle, these are bags that you can use for packing your own produce. There are five bags that scrunch into a cute carry pouch that can attach to your keys. Onya kindly gave me some to review and giveaway last year. Sadly the lucky winner never came forward to claim their prize, so in the name of spring cleaning and decluttering my home, I'm putting them up for a re-giveaway! Details at the end of this blogpost.


To sum up, for the most part we have stuck to our waste minimising habits, although it's difficult to stop the packaging pounds from creeping back on. I also think we need to be careful that we don't end up with a house full of clutter that's waiting to be recycled/sold/charity shopped!

If you would like to enter the Onya bags giveaway then:

1) Visit the Onya website
2) Come back and leave a comment telling me about your favourite Onya product (this will be hard as there are loads of planet-friendly goodies over there)
3) I'll let the giveaway run for a week, so the deadline will be 10pm BST, Thursday 10 April 2014
4) The bags are light to post, so this giveaway is open to all readers, UK and international.
5) Don't forget to come back after the 10th April to check whether you have won!

* Technically when we weighed our bin at the end of the project, it was heavier than it ought to have been due to containing a soiled disposable nappy from my visiting niece. One year on, I'm rewriting history and removing the rogue nappy from the equation to give the 50% reduction. I reckon that kind of creative accounting goes on in many Annual Reports...


  1. I'd go for the Purple Onya Lunch - I don't like using a 'tupperware' as it don't like the room they take up when empty to carry home but cling film being a one time only thing is bad for the environment. This looks like it would do the job of the cling film but still pack up to virtually nothing when the lunch has been munched - perfect!

  2. I definitely love the
    People Towel 'For the Love of Earth' towel!!

  3. Trying to cut waste here as well, our local vets are always desperate for newspapers for the cages so if anyone has too many old news papers laying around ask if your local needs them x

  4. I thought I remember the diaper being a weighty thing in your bin weighing last year.:) Sounds like you're doing well with your efforts to reduce your waste. A general comment--I often wonder how people that save everything because it might be useful to someone some day, don't become overrun with stuff piling up. There's got to be a balance some where because soon their house could become a second landfill. That's an extreme, of course, but it's something that I've thought about a lot as I try to part with things.

  5. the charcoal tablets, activated charcoal is amazing stuff, our house is never without it xx

  6. I think you are doing well. I find I still get poly bags from the supermarket greengrocer in France where we live part of every year, they won't even let you buy a melon loose so I think the ONYA Weigh may solve some of my problems

  7. I'm intrigued by the Bamboo Charcoal Water Filters - I could definitely use something to improve my water quality, and this seems like the least wasteful option I've seen.

  8. I have some produce bags so don't need to enter the contest, but thanks for posting the update! I remember your original posts. After decluttering our house of broken, non-reuseable and non-recyclable STUFF, our bin is light these days too.

  9. How hard to choose just one Onya product! I think I might have to choose the H2Onya water bottle. I go everywhere with a bottle of water and although I reuse plastic ones ad infinitum (well, nearly) the idea of one forever does really appeal.

  10. I love the onya lunch apple but would also make good use of the water bottles.

  11. My step daughter bought the coffee cup last year. It is brilliant and doesn’t burn your hands and is practically indestructible. Great product.

    Nice giveaway.

  12. Love all the onya products but I would choose the water bottle as I am guilty of buying water in plastic bottles and I know that I SHOULDNT!