Today saw the official start of Wilthsire Wildlife’s Rubbish Diet!!
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Wiltshire Wildlife are running a Slim your Bin campaign for the start of 2013, encouraging the good householders of Wiltshire to “Watch their Waste” and try and reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill in the county. (I blogged about it here) It is based on Karen Cannard’s really excellent Rubbish Diet blog. If you take a look at the e-book that Karen has written, it talks you through an 8 week project, aiming to look at every aspect of household rubbish production. So, even it you aren’t in Wilthsire, or signed up to take part, you can still join in too!
And if you are wondering why you should, did you know that it is expected that the UK will run out of landfill space in the next 10 years. 10 years. And if that’s not enough incentive, read Karen’s acount of her visit to a landfill site. She expresses it far more articulately than I could ever hope to.
The first step, as in any diet, is a weigh-in. Time to ‘fess up and step on the scales!
In order to reduce the amount of rubbish we are throwing away as a family, we first need to know how much we are currently throwing away, and also have an idea of what we are throwing away.
There are various ways to do this:
- Count the number of bags that are in your bin at the end of the fortnight, just before the next collection
- Estimate how full your bin is, and if you know the capacity of your bin (in cubic litres) then this will give you a fairly accurate guesstimation
- If you are really dedicated, you can weigh your rubbish….
Now, I think I am reasonably dedicated, but I’m afraid I draw the line at weighing my rubbish….
So we went for looking inside the bin, and roughly gauging how full it was:
It was about 1/3 full. This is a fortnight’s worth of rubbish for us.
According to Wikipedia, a standard UK wheelie bin is 240 litres. So if my maths is correct…this makes our total rubbish capacity about 80litres per fortnight.
So now, down to the nitty gritty. What are we throwing away…??
Karen’s advice is to don a pair of gloves, and phsically root through the rubbish bags.
Again, I’m afraid I wimped out here…
We did peer inside the kitchen bin, and have a bitof a poke around. And then we made a top 5 ‘hit list’:
- Food waste-fruit and veg peelings, tea bags (I love tea…), and also a small amount of cooked food-a function of living with toddlers I think!
- Packaging-mostly from food. Packets from pasta and rice, the plastic bags from fuit and veg, and those annoying plastic containers that they put the veg in. And also from toiltries and cleaning products
- The ash and bits from the fire-this is just a winter thing, and not that often as it’s such a faff. But once the paper bricks are dry, who knows..!!
- Nappies and wipes-we use reusable nappies the day, but do resort to disposables at night for SmallSmall. And we do get through a lot of baby wipes. Again, we use reusabel wipes for bums, but for mucky faces and hands after dinner, and to carry in the changing bag, we use disposable ones
- Cotton wool, kitchen roll, ear buds etc
So there we have it. The full confessional…
I don’t think 2/3 of a wheelie bin a month is too bad. But there is still room for improvement….
PS. If you do live in lovely Wilthsire, then Wiltshire Wildlife are running all sorts of great events during the campaign, including two workshops in conjucntion with me! On the 2nd February we are runing a workshop showing you how to make your own toiletires and cleaning products in Chippenham, and on the 2nd March, we are running an Upcycling workshop in Warminster library, turningthings that you would otherwise throw away into funky memo boards andmagnets! Check out the website for more information, or leave me a message here.