Week 28 – rubbish bag contents
At the 12 week mark we blogged about the items we had in our bag up to that point, and now that we are past the half way mark it seemed timely for an update. Three months ago we had in our bag:
1. half a supermarket bag of paint chips from scraping and sanding our weatherboard house in preparation for painting,
2. approximately 50 cigarette butts found on the property after having it rented out to tenants,
3. a broken plastic peg,
4. plastic tags that are used to hold labels to new clothing,
5. an universal car petrol cap which was rejected at a recent WoF test,
6. plastic wrapping from around a wine bottle lid,
7. tape used by a florist in a bunch of flowers given to us,
8. a blown light bulb.
The universal car petrol cap found a new home when Waveney was giving a talk to a group of teenagers doing an environmental course. One of them asked for it as a souvenir, stating that she also intended to use it in a piece of art. It may well be lying under a teenagers bed now, but in my less cynical moments I hope that it is the centre piece of something beautiful. Anyway…that left us with seven items to which we’ve added another ten.
1. cellophane from a second bunch of flowers given to us,
2. two non-rechargeable batteries that accidentally came with Waveney’s new bike light,
3. cheese wrapper bought when we thought it was recyclable and then discovered it wasn’t,
4. hardened paint brush from painting sealant on a hearth we made for our logburner,
5. three small souvalaki plastic bags
6. pie wrapper blown onto our section from the street,
7. old plastic seedling container found half buried in the garden,
8. a plastic sleeve containing an invoice stuck onto a couriered package.
9. medication wrapping from antibiotics for our dog Jess,
10. dental floss
Rubbish used to ‘magically’ fill up our bin every week and I would wonder how on earth it all got there. This challenge has forced us to analyse which of yesterday’s decisions caused today’s rubbish – and once we had that thought process in place our rubbish radically reduced. But, after 28 weeks we still have 17 items which we haven’t been able to avoid purchasing, or been able to re-use, re-home, compost or recycle. So, despite all the vigilance, how did these pieces of rubbish slip under the radar? A third of it was unavoidable: found on the section or given to us. A another third was created intentionally: Jess’s medication, floss, light bulb, sanding the house, and tags on new clothes. And the final third could have been avoided with hindsight: cheese wrapper, souvalaki bags, wine seal (all mistakes), broken peg (we now only have wooden ones) and batteries in my new bike light (didn’t think to open it and check). Still, we are very happy with our half way point effort. All this rubbish has a much smaller physical presence than the list suggests. It all fits very comfortably in a shoe box, or (without the paint chips) is a large handful.