Friday, 13 March 2009

Rubbish Free Week 9-15 March 2009

Here in Essex the County Council is promoting a Rubbish Free Week. I'm one of the approximately 600 people who signed up and am finding it a real struggle to be completely rubbish free.

Greengrocers in Chelmsford Market

(picture borrowed from Chelmsford Borough Council's website - I hope they don't mind)

However, I am making very conscious choices about how I deal with each item of rubbish and changing the way I shop to have less rubbish that will end up in landfill. For example, I didn't shop for fruit and veg in the supermarket as I didn't want to have bananas, cucumber etc encased in plastic. As I work in Chelmsford and there are two greengrocers in the market, I bought most of my fruit and vegetables "naked". Swede, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, bananas, apples and onions all loose and straight from the scale into my shopping bag (which I brought with me).

Essex County Council have a "Choose2Reuse Tuesday" event at County Hall every month, and this month's coincided with Rubbish Free Week. The idea is to take unwanted items in, take items that you want that other people have brought, and anything left over is donated to local charity shops. I took some paperbacks, a few kitchen items and couple of other odds and ends and came away with a CD, two books, and a cute toy rabbit which is sitting on my office desk. When I've read the books they'll go back again next month. The next event is on Tuesday 7th April.

In Essex we have a recycling rate of 38%, which is slightly better than the national average. We must all do better, but at the same time making better choices about what we buy, so that we have less non-recyclable packaging. If we are more conscious of what happens to all those plastic bags and wrappings when we've finished with them, we might shop differently.

How well am I doing with being Rubbish Free? Well if I'm honest, I do have some rubbish - pretty much all plastic food packaging, but a little less than usual. In a typical week there is one carrier bag in our dustbin and so far we have about half a carrier bag full. If we can be very careful over the weekend then we should have reduced our landfill waste by about a third.

Footnote: I am very sorry to hear about the decision in the High Court today to allow an additional 10 million passengers a year at Stansted Airport (and increase of about 30%). Stansted is in the middle of rural Essex and this must be a huge blow to local people. This will mean about 25,000 additional flights in and out of Stansted, which only has one runway, so this must have enormous implications for noise, air pollution, increase in road traffic etc.


willow said...

Hello Denise,
I think you've done very well with your rubbish reduction, we usually have one or two carrier bags of rubbish each week and a lot of that is plastic that our area doesn't recycle. We can recycle plastic milk bottles but not yoghurt pots, cream pots or plastics such as shampoo bottles and toothpaste tubes, it doesn't sound like a lot of plastic but it soon mounts up.

I really don't understand airport expansion, with oil supplies running out it seems such a short sighted thing to do and thats without considering global warming gas emissions or the pollution aspect - really quite depressing.

Pat said...

Hi Denise,
I was reading your blog on your rubbish reduction and noticed the photo and thought I know that place and sure enough it is the local market. Thanks for posting about the County Hall recycle day. :) All the best and good luck. We do alot of recycling here too. :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the info about the recycling events at County Hall. I'll have to try and make it up to Chelmsford soon to have a go at that.