The Rubbish Diet. Maybe that makes you think of Supersize Me, and trying to eat only McDonalds all three meals for a month.
Well, my rubbish diet is going to be 8 weeks. And it has nothing to do with food at all. It is a programme designed to go on a rubbish (aka trash) diet – to reduce, reuse, and recycle with the aim of decreasing the amount of rubbish that a household generates each week.
I heard about the Rubbish Diet in 2008, when a woman in Suffolk was on the radio talking about how she got her family’s weekly non-recyclable waste down to no more than one plaster (bandaid), and that now she fills about one large bin bag with non-recyclable rubbish once a month. Karen, the woman I heard on the radio, just happens to be on Twitter, and I started following her “way back then”. So when she put out the word that she would be doing a Rubbish Diet 2012, I let her know to count me in.
It is perfect timing for us, really. For almost a year and a half we lived through renovations to our property, and these finally finished at the end of October 2011. By the second week of December, things were more or less unpacked from storage and we had “moved back in” – going from using only our kitchen and bedroom, to being able to use our living room, study and dining room. By the end of December, I had undertaken an epic sort (which is still not done – but I made huge progress by the end of 2011). And one of my 2012 goals is to become more organised (and tidy!) throughout the house. A consequence of having more time to focus on being organised is that I am spending more time thinking about – and planning for – our home. And as a consequence I am giving more thought to what we do with what we don’t need – eBay, charity shop or freecycle? – and more thought to how we dispose of those things that have no natural “home”.
Perfect timing to embark on a Rubbish Diet.
The Start – Week 1
Before you start any diet, you have a “health check” – in the case of the Rubbish Diet, this is a general understanding about how much household waste, on average, you generate each week.
Here are our figures:
Left bin – the recycling bin – 50 litres capacity – weekly total: 1.5 bags
Middle bin – the non-recyclable bin – 30 litres capacity – weekly total: 1 bag
Right bin – food waste bin (grey 3 litre box is normally on the counter, brown is what all bags are put into for collection weekly) – weekly total: 3 grey box bags
Tasks for Week 1
From Karen’s blog she suggests the following tasks to ease into Week 1 of the diet:
1. Write a list of the top 5 things that fill your non-recyclable bin
2. Try to recall the amount of rubbish that you put out last collection, and record this week’s collection amount
3. Find out exactly what can be recycled, and where (curb side, other recycling locations, retailers, supermarkets, etc)
4. Organise a place to sort recycling at home (note: I think I’ve got this covered!)
5. Think about ways you can reduce waste, like reducing mail, reusing things, or repairing older things
I can see myself on Thursday evening, before putting out the non-recyclables, picking about my rubbish bag.
My own goals this week are as follow:
1. Track how many plastic bags I collect in one week from shops.
2. Learn about how I can recycle the old satellite decoder boxes which were replaced in December (we have tv again after over a year!)
3. Learn where to dispose of batteries
4. Learn about how to dispose of garden and plant waste (as we are getting flowers for our house again now that renovations are done!)
The Diet Bandwagon
It seems that the theme of reducing consumption and waste is gaining popularity. Laura of Wife Mother ATHLETE posted yesterday (spookily) (coincidentally) that she is doing an environmental challenge (for how long? gotta wait and see for that answer!). And Karen’s story on how thinking about reducing actually saved her a lot of money is pretty timely given our current economy (lots more packed lunched and creative use of leftovers).
So I guess the question is – will you be signing up for the Rubbish Diet too? If you do, feel free to drop me a comment or an email, or to tweet using #therubbishdiet so we can all follow each other over the next eight weeks.