February's Rubbish Experiment

I've set up a couple of tubs for us to collect everything we throw away between the start of Saturday and the end of Friday, ie a whole week. At the end of each day I will weigh the day's rubbish, sort it and photograph it. The aim is to identify which day of the week generates most rubbish and the types of rubbish collected - with the ultimate aim of changing what we buy to eliminate this waste. I will repeat this experiment every couple of months and hopefully (nope - not hopefully, definitely) see a reduction in the rubbish collected.

The only item we can dispose of without counting is toilet paper. We've started with a full roll so I will count the rolls we get through. Reducing this will be a major project of its own!

This Rubbish Experiment is a big step towards us becoming a zero waste household. We will collect everything we throw away - whether into the bins at home, what we pass on to charity shops, and anything we throw away outside of the house.

Living in Eastleigh borough we have alternate weekly collections of general waste and recycling. Weekly food waste collection. We pay for a fortnightly garden waste collection (share this cost with a neighbour as neither of us have enough to justify a bin each). And a monthly glass and battery collection.

What happens to our waste currently? I've investigated and found out that as Eastleigh is in Hampshire, the county council processes our waste.

  • The general waste goes to one of three Energy Recovery Facilities within Hampshire - and there it is incinerated to generate electricity that is fed to the National Grid.

  • The recycling waste (including glass and batteries) is processed at one of two Material Recovery Facilities within the county.

  • The garden waste is composted at two sites in Hampshire to create Pro-Grow, a soil conditioner that is sold at recycling centres.

  • The food waste is recycled through anaerobic digestion to generate energy and a biofertiliser.

All sounds great but transporting the waste around Hampshire, burning waste and disposing of the ash, transporting the finished product and bundles of sorted recyclables is too big a cost to the climate.

Recycling concerns me because it encourages wastefulness. It doesn't promote behaviour change. Recycled products are a step down from the original and there is a point that they cannot be recycled down any further.

Have you become a zero waste family? Have you any tips for us? All welcome!

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