Over The last 4 weeks we have been taking part in The Rubbish Diet Challenge. During these 4 weeks we have reduced our rubbish by 75% and although The Rubbish Diet challenge has come to an end, we will still be continuing on our journey until our waste is reduced to zero.
During the challenge we have become friends with lots of other families who are either currently taking part in the rubbish diet or have taken part in the challenge. Through these new friends we have learnt a lot and picked up loads of tips and tricks.
Jen Gale from My Make Do And Mend Year has become a great friend on twitter though the rubbish diet challenge. So I thought I would ask Jen if she would share her experiences in reducing her families landfilled waste and what tips she can share with us all on cutting down our landfill waste.
Over to you Jen!
Thankyou so much to Emma, and her fabulous Mommy Emu blog for inviting me here to talk all things Rubbish! I have loved following Emma and her family on their Rubbish Diet and have picked up lots of brilliant tips to implement in our house too.
We took part in an eight week Rubbish Diet back in January 2013, as part of Wiltshire Wildlife’s Slim your Bin campaign. I rather smugly thought that we would have very little to learn, and that we certainly wouldn’t be able to Slim our Bin much further, as we were already pretty ardent recyclers. But I was wrong!
At the start of the challenge, a fortnight’s worth of rubbish for us, was about a third of a wheely bin full, which we estimated at about 80 litres. So as I say, doing quite well, but by no means Zero Waste. At the end of the eight weeks, the idea was to attempt a Zero Waste Week. I have to confess to chickening out of this, and I still think we would struggle to achieve it. Zero Waste needs some hardcore planning and really big lifestyle shifts, and I need to find the time and the headspace to work my way towards that, but I think we have made some big steps in the right direction. By the end of our Rubbish Diet, we had Slimmed our Bin, to about 20-25 litres, and I am pleased to say that it has pretty much stayed at this level, and certainly hasn’t got any more.
The three things we did that had the biggest impact were:
- Got ourselves a Green Johanna. In Wiltshire, we don’t have a food waste collection service, and our garden doesn’t really generate enough garden waste for a traditional composter, so all of our food waste was going in the black bin. The Green Johanna is a hot composter, and the council subsidise it, so it really is pretty affordable. The beauty of it is, that it can take all our food waste. Cooked food, bones, meat, the lot. I LOVE it! I try to be really hot on food waste, and use up all our leftovers etc, but even things like veg peelings, egg shells, and the toast crust mountain that the kids leave on their plates, soon adds up.
- Learned what can and can’t be recycled, above and beyond our kerbside collections. The biggest contributor to our black bin was definitely food packaging, but I learned that all our stretchy plastic could go in the bins for carrier bag recycling outside the supermarket, and all our hard plastic could be recycled at the Recycling Centre. This slimmed our bin quite dramatically.
- I went cold turkey on baby wipes. Our youngest was still in nappies, and although we were using reusable nappies and wipes, I still reached for the baby wipes when we were out and about, and if they got sticky hands and faces at mealtimes etc. So I chopped up some old towels into good old fashioned flannels, and we haven’t looked back! It was actually much easier than I thought it would be, and I can honestly say that we haven’t really missed them (and I don’t think the children are that grubby…)
Thanks so much Jen for these fantastic tips and advice on how we can make just the simplest changes to keep reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill. Also congratulations on reducing your waste by 60 liters over 8 weeks, you are such a inspiration.
How is your rubbish diet challenge going? I would love to hear your tips and tricks on how you are reducing your landfill waste.