Monday, 3 September 2018

Waste Away!

This is Rachelle Strauss. She started the Zero-Waste Week in the UK ten years ago. She'd watched the results of the floods in Boscastle, and was concerned about the way we were destroying the planet, and wanted to do something to make it a better place for her daughter to grow up in. The website is helpful and realistic in its approach. Click here to find out more. 
What am I doing? Well, for starters I've been rereading some of the stuff on Rachel's website and Jen Gale's blog.
I suspect my 'landfill' waste is mostly plastic wrapping from food and postal items, plus wipes. But I am not sure. I've also emptied all the waste bins and the kitchen bins. That way I can get a clear idea of just how much waste we generate in one week. I want to be more aware of what comes into my house for no purpose other than wrapping en route to landfill. I'd like to have a better idea of how much recyclable waste we produce each week. 
What do you call your refuse containers? 
Outside we have wheelie bins [dustbins] and inside pedal bins and wastepaper bins. My NZ friend, with her strong accent always called hers a "piddle bin" and an American friend talks of trashcan. The French refer to poubelles - a word I was fascinated by in my O level years. I've just discovered where it comes from
This is Eugene Rene Poubelle, who died in 1907.He was an amazingly sensible man. A public administrator in Paris in 1884, he was concerned about the rubbish being generated in the apartment blocks. He decreed every building owner must provide three rubbish containers; one for compostable items, one for paper and cloth, and one for crockery and shells. There were 2 million people in the city, generating a lot of rubbish  Initially there was resistance to these new refuse rules - but in time came to realise the wisdom behind them And poubelles became their word for rubbish bins. [He also improved the Parisian sewerage system, to reduce the spread of cholera.]
Realistically I know I shall not have a 100%Waste free week. But I can be more careful about what waste I produce, and how I dispose of it. I hope that by the end of the week, my poubelles are not overflowing! 
Congratulations Rachelle, on being given a 'Points of Light' award, TODAY, by the Queen for making a difference in society
And well done Jen Gale, for showing Nadya how to make fudge on BBC2 this evening


  1. That's interesting, I'd always thought that a 'poubelle' was a little container on the dining table to put bones or shells in during the meal. It clearly comes from the same source. Zero waste is a great movement, but I wish that the big supermarkets would adopt it - hard to avoid some of the packaging.

  2. It's funny that dustbins are still called dustbins when probably the only thing not in them is dust - or as it would have been back then- Ash.
    Interesting about the French name

  3. We had an ashcan in the garden when I was a child and woe betide anyone foolish enough to spoil Dad’s recycling system. Most things were burned in the fire and the ashes from the fires were used for garden gritbin the soil and to grit the paths in winter. The peelings etc went on the compost. Today I bought a carrot and a pepper and the till operator told me she had to put them in clean plastic bags to weigh them. However, I then removed them from the bags and put them into my calico bag. I know the bags were then put into the shop’s bin but I went home having made a tiny effort to reject the plastic. Thanks for the links, Angela.

  4. In Canada we say "the garbage can" and just "the recycling". I've been checking out some Zero Waste websites so I will take a look at Rachelle's - thank you.

  5. Trash can would be the general term, here, although garbage can is also used. We have separate wheeled bins for yard waste (green colored bin), recyclables (glass, plastic, cans, styrofoam, paper, etc.; blue colored bin), and garbage/trash (black bin). Three separate trucks come by to collect the different bins.

    I am usually good about separating out the recyclables from the trash/garbage. Today, for example, I put an empty cereal box, a glass bottle, and the papers with the weekly grocery ads, in the bag I keep for recyclables; when the bag is full, I empty it into the big bin, outside. I usually collect about two bags of recyclables, each week. The kitchen trash can gets mostly food waste and I generate about one small bag of kitchen waste a week. In addition, there will be about 3-4 bags of litter box waste per week that go in the trash/garbage bin. I do use plastic bags to put the trash in, as I am not sure how well paper bags would work.

  6. Ooh, didn't know that about Poubelle. What a wise man!
    I agree, very good to know what is going in the bin!


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