The Rubbish Diet – I’m Still on a Diet!

All may have gone quiet on the Rubbish Diet front, on my blog at least, but I have still been dieting.  Weeks 4 and 5 tackled some subjects that I like to think I’ve kind of got under control – food and cleaning (well, cleaning products, not cleaning – cleaning and keeping things clutter free is always an uphill battle for me!).

A Quick Rundown of the Last Few Weeks

Like every good diet I have been keeping track of “my weight” – or in this bin slimming exercise context, keeping track of my rubbish bag totals.


Week 2 Totals

Abel & Cole boxes for recycling: 1 (previous week: 0 – no delivery)
Recycling bin: 1 stuffed 50l bag (previous week: 1.5 bags)
Non-recycling bin: ¾ of a 30l bag (previous week: 1 full bag)
Food waste bin: 3 x 3l bag (previous week: 4 bags)

Week 3 Totals

Abel & Cole boxes for recycling: 2
Recycling bin: 1 very stuffed 40l bag (back to the council issued pink sacks which are smaller)
Non-recycling bin: 2/3 of a 30l bag (shrinking a little bit!)
Food waste bin: 2 x 3l bag (shrinking a little due to eating out more)

Week 4 Totals

Abel & Cole boxes for recycling: 2
Recycling bin: 2 very stuffed 40l bags, plus a cardboard box
Non-recycling bin: ½ of a 30l bag (shrinking still!)
Food waste bin: 2 x 3l bag (still low due to being out of town over the weekend)
Garden rubbish bag:  sack half full (first ever collection of garden waste on my street!)


Well, as my weigh in showed, I had my first ever collection of garden waste.  I am really lucky in that my council does doorstop garden waste collection, and any household that is a part of the food waste collection scheme is eligible – all you have to do is request a sack.  Which is what I did.

We plan to put it out only when it is at least half full.  And once we clear out our back garden area (still a bit of a post-building works storage site – we have one last project to do back there to utilise the bricks and cobbles we are asked to keep on our property as a condition of the works) the sack will live there.  But for now, it has joined the other bins in my kitchen.

I’ve also added something to my bag – a bag for my bag!  I signed up for a sewing class (I know – me, sewing – how domestic!) and my first project was to make a bag.  It was really enjoyable, and now I have a cute little bag to throw in my bag for random small shopping. 

It was so fun making it that I am thinking of looking up a template and getting some parachute material and making bags for Christmas stocking stuffers for friends.  I know – domestic and crafty!

Finally, I have begun to think and sort my rubbish at work.  A lot of the paper I generate gets shredded due to its confidential nature.  But for too long I have been just binning the non-confidential.  I have even been binning cans and bottles.  But no longer.  I now sort at my desk and place everything in its proper container.  I even discovered the cans and bottles containers in our work kitchen, lurking behind the Foosball table!  Progress.

Week 3 – All About Food

Week three has come and gone – its aims were to reduce food waste, and the suggestions to do so related to things I have been doing for about a year and a half.  Things like taking good stock of what is in the fridge and cupboard before buying food, menu planning, figuring out creative ways to use older foods (like old bananas, apples, things that maybe would get tossed in the bin but make great cakes). 

The one thing I still have to work with when it comes to food waste is my freezer.  I only started to really freeze foods (to avoid binning them) last year, and I am still not very good with checking the freezer and making sure I am using up what I have frozen.  For example, right now I have stock lurking from Christmas, some frozen shredded chicken, and some bubble and squeak cakes. But I haven’t menu planned these into my meals. I still have some work to do here!

One thing I loved about Karen’s tips for this week (in her manual on how to go on a rubbish diet – such a fantastic resource) was an overview of how she approaches food planning, cooking, and her cupboard suggestions as a result of the way she does this.  I loved this idea, and will do a blog post on this subject (eventually – adding it to my list of topics to write about!).

Week 4 – Domestic Chores

I have to admit this week I felt pretty good about.  I am lucky in that we employ someone to help with our cleaning and ironing – and I am lucky in that she shares my values when it comes to using environmentally friendly products.  Over time I have basically shifted all of my cleaning products to sulphur free, or non-bio.  I am a huge fan of brands such as Ecover and Method.  And I love my e-cloths which have made using paper towels a rarity in our house. My cleaner and I also share tips about how to clean without using expensive or harsh products – like my favourite Martha Stewart tip, where copper pans can be shined just by using a lemon and salt. Who knew?

That said, I still have some aims here – like re-purposing old clothes into cleaning rags and clothes.  I also want to look into soap balls for laundry – Karen mentions this in her guide.  I think these would be great for getting rid of fabric sheets for the dryer, and also for reducing my use of laundry tablets.  Although I have to admit – nothing will get me to replace my Fairy with Febreze which is the only laundry tablet that I have found that takes the stink out of our workout clothing (yes, I know, it is a complete biological cleaning disaster of a product – but I can’t help it, the athletic kit was smelling so rotten!).

Week 5 – The Garden

This week Karen’s challenge is to get us to think about what we can do – and GROW – on our own.  From herbs to salad greens, she is advocating home gardening.  As mentioned above, our garden isn’t quite garden friendly yet.  But, it is the perfect time for me to do some thinking, planning and research. 

This week I will be researching how to start a container garden for the summer.  Ah – the Spitalfields Tomato you will be mine!  I will also be contacting my builders for the one last task I have in mind for the back garden – the repurposing of the bricks and cobbles we have left on site (and a duty to maintain).  This research will also get me in the frame of mind for SUMMER. 

Speaking of which… Have you noticed the longer days already?  I can feel my spirits lifting and energy returning as the days lengthen – bliss!


3 responses to “The Rubbish Diet – I’m Still on a Diet!”

  1. Donna, Just wondering if you have considered a worm farm/wormery? Then you will be able to use the worm wee to fertilise what ever veggies/fruit/herbs you decide to plant.

    As for food waste, freeze nearly anything and everything. Make a list to stick on the outside of your freezer, or where you have your shopping list so you can remind yourself what is in there. I nearly always have some left over veggie chilli in the freezer, which is a 2 minute instant post-workout/tired evening meal grin

    We also freeze the fresh herbs we have too much of and then use them in our cooking at a later date.

    Your rubbish diet is really making me think about mine. I think we put out a half full 40l rubbish bag once every 3 weeks. Biggest culprit are plastic packs which contain things like oats, dried fruit and magazines which come by post. I must start using the bulk bins in the supermarket.

    Oh and cleaning products – white vinegar, bicarb and a few drops of tea tree oil. This is my go to for kitchen and bathroom cleaner. Gone are the days of bazillions of cleaning products.

    Keep up the good ‘dieting’!

  2. Our council tested the recycling interest in our area for about a month and decided nobody was really interested. It made me crazy. When we moved back to the States, on of my first stops was to the waste management authority to collect recycling bins.  But habits are hard to break so the first few months I found myself putting out two big bins of rubbish and one small bin of recycling.  Over time I have returned to the WMA and collected twice as big bins. Now, it is not unusual for me to put out one small bag of rubbish and three bins of recyclables.  Plus, we have dedicated a corner of our garage to things that can be reused.  Once the pile is big enough I call a charity shop and they collect it. Its funny how deciding to change the habit was the first step.

  3. I have used lemon juice and salt for copper many times. Your friend mentioned white vinegar, soda, and tea tree oil for cleaning. Could you give them a try for washing your sports kit? You can get spray bottles of white vinegar in some stores. Or fill another spray bottle with white vinegar from the glass bottle. I don’t like the smell of Febreze from what I remember. I am using three ecozone balls in some washes. There’s a tube of stain remover to use with them. I got mine from John Lewis. is a useful website for all kinds of things. Well done for finding a way to recycle more at work. I went to a talk about plastic recycling. Plastic bottles are valuable recycling material. Thanks for your inspiration in general!

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