Not a load of rubbish

Attempting to live a whole month without contributing any waste to a landfill site.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Climbing the plastic mountain

I’ve been laying low for the last week because I feel defeated by this experiment.

But now I am feeling optimistic. If I am creative in my recycling, I can use up all this stuff I’ve been hoarding.

How can I recycle this? are experts in this field.

My favourite examples of innovative recycling are shredded court papers being used by a horse with a straw allergy and a Ghanaian architect’s rubbish home (see picture).

My first project is to make a handbag out of my cotton rice bag. If it’s good I could even sell it on Ebay. I’ll let you know how I get on. In the mean time, I want to know what you have made out of rubbish.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Dirty weekend

I'm not so much recycling and composting, more hoarding. I'm turning into Mr Trebus, the magnificent hoarder from the docusoap Life of Grime.

Most of stuff I'm hoarding is packaging for things I really want but know I can't recycle.

I spent the weekend away and came home with a box of rubbish. Hotels insist on putting everything in tiny packets - their milk, their butter, their sugar. Aaaah! Why can't they have a sugar bowl and a big slab of butter? Surely that would be cheaper.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Required to recycle

Here’s my first ever bag of recycling. I’ve started in the nick of time as my council is now considering making it illegal not to recycle.

I can’t believe anybody would intentionally avoid it – isn’t it just inconvenient? If you don’t recycle, tell me why not.

I found it difficult to work out what I can recycle as it seems to differ from borough to borough. I think I can recycle tins, plastic bottles, glass, cardboard and newspaper. Is that good or bad compared to you?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guilty pleasures

I haven’t written for a few days because I’ve been feeling down about the whole experiment. Every time I go into the supermarket I can’t get what I want because of what it’s wrapped up in. Why is this packaging necessary?

This frustration drove me to the edge and I ended up stuffing my face with chocolates in a combination of foil and plastic wrapping. I knew full well I wouldn’t be able to get rid of the evidence in an environmentally friendly way. So I went all out and slid down the slippery slope to landfill hell. Before I knew it, I was eating a KFC and damning the consequences (see picture). Apart from all the waxed cardboard, they even see it necessary to put the salt and serviette together in a sealed plastic bag.

I’m not the only one getting annoyed. The environment agency wants food firms to pack in this packaging palava and here's someone starting a global war on plastic.

This guy thinks I should leave packaging at shops.

Let me know what you do to avoid the packaging.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

That time of the month

If you don't want to read about periods or sanitary products, look away now. Before you go, I know how you feel. I don't want to talk about it either.

Unfortunately for me, it is all very relevant to the living a zero landfill waste month. When in landfill, tampons and pads take at least 6 months to biodegrade. Plastic components such as applicators, wrappers, topsheets and backing strips can last indefinitely.

An alternative is the Mooncup. It's like a reusable tampon - you can see the American version, the Keeper in the picture.

The whole Mooncup thing fills me with horror. It distresses me so much I don't know how to start talking about it.

I contacted Kath at Mooncup Ltd who was more sympathetic than comforting. When I told her about the experiment, she warned me:

"If you are up for getting a mooncup for your month without waste, it's worth noting that it can take up to 3 cycles to get the angle and position right."

Aaaaaaah! If you know of another alternative, please tell me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I didn’t think through this experiment. I don't know how to compost or what is recyclable. So, I have a fridge full of compost and have lived on three chicken legs, beer and a chewing gum for the last week.

But I’ve faced up to it and am seeking help. I’ve posted on the friends of the earth and home recycling forums.

If you know someone who is particularly anal about composting, recycling or reducing waste, tell them I need their help!

Burnt offerings

I’ve been forced to go cold turkey on office biscuits because they have un-recyclable packaging. Two days ago I resorted to making shortbread from scratch for the first time ever. I proudly presented the results to my colleagues and we gobbled them up before you could say, “take a picture for the blog.”

Not so quick to take a biscuit today though are they? At least that means you can see proof that I made them. Even if they are burnt.

Any suggestions for what to do with burnt biscuits?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nice people

I’ve noticed people change their behaviour around me. First my housemate started recycling. Then someone put their cigarette butt in their pocket to avoid offending me. Yesterday, I was phoned up to ask “what kind of food can you eat at my house.” Is this how nice people treat vegetarians? I try to corrupt them with bacon butties.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Park life

I spent Saturday afternoon supping my wine and then threw the bottle away guilt free. All thanks to a well placed bottle bank in Regent's Park. Unfortunately, it took me half an hour to search for the bin and I lost the person I was with. You win some, you lose some.

What's that smell?

You may wonder what I do with my rubbish when I'm out and about. I put it in my increasingly smelly handbag ofcourse. Today I'm taking home a soup can to go into my recycling bin. I also have two banana skins which need a home as I'm yet to get a compost bin.

Don't worry, I haven't thrown out my food waste from last week. I've saved it in an ice cream tub in my fridge. My housemate must think I'm on a new diet of egg shells and onion peel.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Storm in a tea cup

Here’s a picture of me enjoying my first cup of tea since the beginning of the experiment. You can compost tea bags and recycle the milk bottles, so tea shouldn’t be a problem. However, our teabags have a little staple holding together the piece of string with their branded piece of paper.

I can’t buy different tea bags as then I’ll have a polythene wrapper to get rid of. So I went without for three days. That was until it was suggested that I can re-use someone else’s teabag. They were going to have a cuppa anyway…Or is that cheating as well?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wining not dining

"So now you are looking for 3 chicken bones and a chewing gum wrapper and relying on a pub to recycle your empties. Take responsibility for your own waste!"

OK OK! You’ll be pleased to know last night I bought a bottle of wine and took it home to recycle. I wasn’t accosted by the bar staff asking why I was taking their bottle. I also wasn’t glassed and mugged with the bottle on the way home either. So there goes my justification for not taking stuff home.

Now I’ve got to think about eating out. Am I responsible for all the waste made in their kitchen? If so, how would a waiter react to my request to take the waste home? If he doesn’t give me that waste or some isn’t recyclable, does that mean I can’t eat out for a whole month?

More on a sticky situation

I’ve been asked what happened to the chewing gum wrapper. It wasn’t mine so I assume my friend took great care to make sure he only bought recyclable packaging and ensured the wrapper ended up in the recycling bag. If I find out otherwise, I will track the wrapper down and send it to this Russian wrapper collector.

Some have commented that swallowing chewing gum is a cop out as my stomach cannot break it down so it will end up in landfill eventually. However, I have it on good authority (playground myth) that chewing gum stays in your body for seven years. That means I don’t have to worry about it for a while.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A bone to pick

I have been asked what happened to the chicken bones.

I’m afraid I have a confession to make. I left the bones in the canteen.

In my defence, this was before I got comments back saying I could compost chicken, if I boil it and mash it first.

To undo my badness I’m now in search of three chicken bones to make into compost. I’ve got a tip off that there are a lot of bones on the road round Tooting Bec station.

Sticky situation

I started feeling sick this morning which reminded me of my transformation into a human waste disposal system last night. When I couldn’t think of a way of recycling chewing gum I decided to swallow it. Eating everything you can’t recycle isn’t the most practical way of getting rid of your household waste. And it gives you the burps.

Answer at the bottom of a pint glass

A lot of consideration went into deciding which drink I could have at the bar last night. I can’t guarantee pubs will recycle their bottles, so that meant wine, spirits and alcopops were out of the question. So I was drinking pints all night.
This all got me thinking, if a pub doesn't recycle a bottle that I leave there, is it my rubbish or their rubbish?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day one of zero waste month

Oh dear. The first day of my experiment and I have already come across my first hurdle. I am going to try to avoid making any waste that would end up in a landfill site for one month.

That means that I will have to go without anything I can’t recycle or compost. It can’t be that hard, can it?

That’s what I thought until it was pointed out at lunch that you can’t compost chicken bones.

If you know what to do with them, please let me know.

You can follow me throughout the month on this blog. At the end of August I will let you know whether I think it is possible to live a zero waste month, a zero waste year or a zero waste life. At the moment it looks like a zero waste day would be an achievement.