Tag Archive: recycling

Wash ’em and squash ’em

Tomorrow sees the start of National Recycle Week.  According to Recycle Now (http://www.recyclenow.com/recycle_week/) the focus of the week is on raising awareness about plastic bottle recycling, as currently less than 50% of those used in the UK get recycled.

I’m always a bit dubious about these national ‘weeks’ – I know they’re great publicity, but you can’t help feeling the issues raised should be just as important the other 51 weeks of the year.  Still, if it makes people think about it a little more, I guess it’s a good thing.

Amusing statistic on the website: “If all of us in the UK recycled just one extra plastic bottle during Recycle Week, this would save enough energy to power over 71,000 plasma screen TVs for a year.”

Think what we could achieve if we recycled plasma screen TVs!!  😉


Return of the old bag…

Put our recycling out on Sunday night as per, then on Monday after the collections, went to retrieve the various bags and boxes provided by the local authority for all the different types of recycling.  The big blue bag for the cardboard had disappeared.  This would be less weird if it didn’t have our house number emblazoned on the outside (following a previous loss of the can/bottle crate).

We had a brief search, then waited for a while to see if someone might return it, but no sign of it.  Having yesterday finally resorted to ordering a new one lo, this morning, it turns up at the end of the lane.

So now we’ll have two!  Some irony that we have now acquired some more stuff in order to dispose of other stuff.

Anyone need a spare cardboard-recycling bag?

Can they be recycled??

Don’t Dump That!

Don’t Dump That (http://www.dontdumpthat.com/forum/welcome.php) – the site which encourages people to swap or give away unwanted items rather than chucking them in the bin – is now on Twitter.  Follow them @DontDumpThat

Mooching about in the big antique shop in Church Stretton today, we spotted a sign for www.antiquesaregreen.org.  Having had a quick look on their website, I thought it definitely deserved a mention on the blog.  I’m not interested in owning an item specifically because it’s worth a lot of money (just as well really since I couldn’t afford it anyway! 😉 ) – but I am interested in owning an item that was made many years ago by a skilled craftsman, without the use of modern power tools and equipment; an item which has withstood the test of time, and is still as useful today as it was when it was made – and in fact has gained more charm in that time by the very fact of its use and age.  (And I’m even more interested in aged items which need restoration to bring them back into full use.)

I like the ethos behind “antiques are green” because it attaches value to these items not just in monetary terms, but also in terms of the materials, skill, creativity and time which has been invested in them.  And time is surely one resource that everyone can appreciate is precious.

Size Matters!

They give you a wheelie bin for your rubbish….  It’s big and heavy – too heavy for a man to lift in the way they used to do in the old days with those metal dustbins (Health & Safety!).  These wheelie bins are lifted by some kind of hydraulic lift on the dustcarts themselves. 

Then they decide recycling is important – so they give you boxes (or possibly another wheelie bin) to collect your recycling.   In theory, this means you will have less rubbish to throw into the “land fill” wheelie bin, so you now only half-fill it.  So you could, in theory, now manage with a small bin, which would take up less room in your garden, and help accommodate the recycling boxes.

But I’m guessing the wheelie bins will always remain oversized – because they’ve been built to fit the dustcarts, and in order to change the size of the wheelie bins, they’d have to change all the dustcarts and all the wheelie bins at the same time…which in itself might be considered unenvironmentally friendly. 

So we stick with the huge wheelie bins.  And the problem with that is probably something to do with nature abhorring a vacuum – because weirdly, those big bins tend to get filled.  How does that happen?  Are we just producing more (non-recyclable) rubbish?  Or is it just that we don’t stamp it down to get the lid shut any more?!

I think size matters – and I think sometimes small is better!  😉

The recent bad weather seems to have exacerbated the annual rubbish-collection-whinging which seems to have become a traditional part of the festive aftermath!  People don’t like to see their rubbish mounting up – it’s unsightly and smelly.  It attracts vermin.  And it’s an unpleasant reminder that we civilised human beings still create a hell of a lot of waste.  But perhaps we should take it as a reminder of just how useful it is that someone else sorts out our rubbish for us.  Imagine if (shock horror) we had to find a way of disposing of it ourselves!

Maybe if we did have to deal with our own waste, we’d make less of it.  Certainly less would end up in a big hole in the ground somewhere far, far away. 

I know of a few businesses who’ve pledged zero to landfill in the near future, but I’m not sure if it’s really possible – nor if it’s possible in the home.  We (like most other homes I imagine) try to do our bit.  Our chickens will eat most waste food, and uncooked vegetable matter can go on our compost heap. Unwanted clothing and household goods can go to charity shops.  The council will collect paper, cardboard, cans/tins and glass. It also collects some plastic – mainly empty milk cartons and drinks bottles and such like.  We chuck in other plastic packaging but we’re not always really sure if we’re meant to, which leaves us wondering what to do with it.  I’ve consulted a few websites, and the general consensus appears to be that burning plastic is worse than chucking it in landfill. 

So presumably, if zero-to-landfill is our goal, our focus needs to be on bringing less plastic into the home in the first place – tricky when so much of what we buy these days comes in layers of protective packaging.  Or alternatively, finding other uses for the plastic we want to get rid of.  I’ve started cutting the tops and bottoms off old plastic bottles to collecting the middle sections to use as protection for young plants in the spring and summer.  But the best thing I’ve seen so far is a whole greenhouse made of plastic bottles (see link below) – the only problem being, you need about 1500 bottles….  It’ll take me years to get that many!!  😉