A Rubbish Diet….

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we would be looking at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that we throw away.

We are doing this by going on a “Rubbish Diet”, we are going to Slim our Bins, with Waste Watchers! This is an initiative set up by Wiltshire Wildlife, to encourage the good people of Wiltshire (and beyond!) to try and think a bit more about what they are throwing away.


I met up with Emma Croft from Wiltshire Wildlife, who is organising the campaign a little while ago, and she told me a little but more about it.

In 2008, Karen Cannard started her blog The Rubbish Diet, featuring a diary of her attempt at her local council’s zero waste week.  In just 8 weeks,  Karen and her family managed to slim their rubbish down from two wheelie-bins a month, to just one carrier bag! And over the course of two years, Karen managed to save £2500! (now if that doesn”t make you sit up and pay attention, then nothing will!)

Amazing and inspiring stuff! Karen has written a free e-guide-The Rubbish Diet Challenge, which contains hints and tips to help everyone do the same. You really should read this-it is truly inspiring. Karen is by no means an ‘eco-warrior’ and started her own challenge from the view-point of an ‘average family’, so it just goes to show that anyone can do it, and still lead a ‘normal’ life…

Emma told me that she was basing Wiltshire’s Waste Watchers on Karen’s Rubbish Diet, but there will also be additional workshops and events to raise the profile and to get people involved. I am very excited to be running a family Upcycling workshop in Warminster library with Emma on the 2nd March, making magnetic memo boards and magnets out of rubbish!

There will also be regular newsletters to keep everyone on informed, motivated and on track! As soon as I work out how to link to them, I will post them!! (if anyone knows, can you help me please..!)

I am going to share our ‘journey’ with you here on the blog, so do feel free to join in, you don’t have to live in Wiltshire to get involved! And if you do live in Wiltshire, and want to get on board, then you can find Emma’s e-amil address at the bottom of this link, follow on Facebook and Twitter @SlimBinWilts.


Now that’s a much more worthwhile diet than giving up chcoloate, don’t you think…?!

26 thoughts on “A Rubbish Diet….

  1. I find that the majority of the waste that ends up in our normal bin (i.e. non recyclable) is plastic food packing of some form or another. Mendip collect food waste, as well as plastic bottles, cardboard, etc., and compost it at high temperature so anything I can’t give to the hens, like chicken and fish bones goes out with the recycling. In past times I think they would bury that kind of waste and it was good for the soil. A major way to combat the plastic is to grow your own veg, buy food from local markets and shops and cook from scratch. Supermarket convenience food is the biggest culprit, wrapping and over wrapping …

    Good luck with your new project! x

    • Hi Daisy. You are so right. We recycle as much as we can, but still manage to generate quite a bit of landfill rubbish. I think the key to reducing our waste will be looking at what we are buying and trying to buy things with less/no packaging. Another of my aims this year is to rely less on the supermarket and try and do more shopping locally, so hopefully the two will complement each other! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Thing is that some things you buy have loads of non-recyclable stuff with them so I try and recycle everything but does that mean I can’t eat/buy yogurt for example? I can’t find anywhere near us that recycles any plastic apart from bottles so all yogurt pots and the pots that mushrooms come in and margerine pots etc go in the bin, which I feel awful about – Jen what do you do with those in Wiltshire? I try and buy things without so much packaging but need margerine (plus have cupboard filled with washed marg pots that I use for freezing things etc) and veg and yogurts – help! (hope you ok and happy new year!)

    • Hey Sam! I’m not sure myself yet! Hopefully all will become clear as I progress through the challenge that Wiltshire Wildlife are running! You should sign up too 🙂 All the links are on the blog post. I don’t think there is any expectation of anyone acheiving ‘zero waste’ so don;t let that put you off-just trying to get people to think a bit more about little things they can do that can reduce the amount of rubbish they send to landfill.
      Hope all good with you, and Happy New Year to the Taylor household 🙂

    • Sam, have you ever tried making your own yogurt? All you need is a ‘seed’ taken from some yogurt you’ve bought, then add boiled milk and leave in a warm place like an airing cupboard overnight. You can add jam etc for flavour. It’s super easy and you can re-use your old pots rather than buying new 🙂

      • Great! It’s a bit more scientific than I made out – use a good dollop of the original yogurt, then add the boiled milk (cooled) a tablespoon at a time, stirring well between each addition, otherwise you’ll kill the seed. Use natural yogurt, set or runny (the result will be the same as the original). Boil the milk so it froths. Then let it cool for about 30 mins before adding – it needs to be between 39 and 49 degrees Centigrade – if you have a cook’s thermometer, that would really help! Good luck 🙂

  3. It is so annoying as when we lived in North Somerset you could recycle all plastics, even thin plastic coverings plus they had a food canister thing for left over food but in Wilts they are nowhere near as good and I don’t want a stinky compost heap as I hate gardening and live next door to chickens so it would attract rats. I just feel bit guilty that we still make landfill – almost all plastics and food waste! I notice we make probably a binbag every 2 weeks more than when we lived in Somerset – annoying difference between counties. Happy new year to you guys too! xxxx

    • I don’t understand why there is such a difference in the recycling opportunities between counties either. I will ask Emma Croft at Wiltshire Wildlife-she may be able to shed some light on the matter..!

  4. Brilliant blog, Jen and well done for organising your Upcycling day.
    Im also trying to reduce, reuse and recycle more (I do quite a bit already) and have linked to some of the above to read later (Im supposed to be job hunting this morning!).
    I tend to buy loos fruit and veg at the supermarket (and take paper bags to put them in), and use yogurt pots and margarine tubs etc for seedlings in the garden. My biggest problem is plastic bags for freezing stuff in and I am aiming to crack that this year.
    Our bins (black for household waste and blue for cans, plastic and paper) are collected every two weeks but each time are only half full, so I guess we chuck out a wheelie bin a month, so there is room for improvement. Im hoping to try and re-educate the mother in law a bit as well as she chucks out allsorts.
    Good luck with the challenge, Im looking forward to updates.

    • Thanks Jo. Sounds like you are doing a good job already-I think we are about the same on the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill-as you say, room for improvement’!
      Good luck with the job hunt 🙂

  5. Well, I had a hard time focusing on this post because “rubbish” sounds so much more refined than “trash” which is what we call it here in the states. Don’t they sell yogurt in glass there? They sell it here only in upscale (expensive) markets, but I have decided it is worth the added cost. As far as plastic bags, I have had a couple of people recommend http://www.reusies.com/ which I have not tried (mainly because I don’t buy anything new) but it looks like they are made of oil cloth and could be easily made at home. Also, I read this article in a magazine some time ago and found it interesting as far as reducing rubbish/trash. http://www.sunset.com/home/natural-home/zero-waste-home-0111-00418000069984/
    OK, enough chattering away

    • Oh wait, I replied using the wrong name. I am actually Kerry- The Simple Year for our purposes here. The Kerry3835 sounds like I’m a robot, but it is actually my old address from the early days of the internet and I haven’t quite shaken it.

    • Hi Kerry. LOVE your blog!! Will have a look at the reuses-I have an old oilcloth tablecloth that could be called into action! We do get yoghurt in glass jars over here, but as you say, only on delis and farm shops, and it costs a lot more. I think I might have a go at making some..! Thanks for the links, and for your awesome and inspiring blog-keep up the good work 🙂

  6. You could try making yoghurt, it is easy with a machine or by leaving it in a warm area. I use this Aga recipe and our stove makes great thick yoghurt, especially if you use full cream milk:

    2 pints milk – makes about 1 litre of yoghurt, perhaps a bit more
    2 heaped dessert spoons skimmed milk powder
    half a 150g pot of natural live yoghurt allowed to come to room temperature

    Heat the milk in a pan on the stove until just shimmering but not boiling. Take it off the heat and allow to cool until the milk is at blood heat. Transfer to either a sterilised kilner jar or a bowl you can cover. Whisk in the skimmed milk powder and then carefully spoon in the yoghurt without stirring too hard. I leave my mixture on a folded tea towel on the left corner of the Aga, covered with another tea towel, in case of draughts. Without the heat of the stove you could move to another fairly constant source of heat like an airing cupboard or make it in a thermos flask. I leave it overnight and the yoghurt should be formed by morning. I transfer it to the fridge to cool and it keeps for a good week. Add any preferred flavourings when you serve. The skimmed milk powder makes the yoghurt thicker so you can vary how much you use to taste. Here is a link to my first effort: http://daisymarmalade.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/aga-yoghurt.html

    • Fab, thanks Daisy! Anna also suggested this in an earlier comment. We don’t have an Aga unfortunately, but I will definitely try and give this a go. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

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