Start as you mean to go on

National Recycle Week – Day 1

Council recycling bag

Council recycling bag

So, here we are on the first day of National Recycle Week and I’ve been thinking some more about what I’m doing. Monday is, in fact, recycling collection day Chez Snail – the council collects cans, tins, paper, plastic, cardboard, tetrapaks and polystyrene from homes in our county once a week, so much of our recycling is a no-brainer. Items for recycling go straight in the bag provided and are put out to be picked up every Monday. Everyone in the street seems to do this without any trouble, and folks have even got used to the food waste bins that are emptied at the same time. In fact, we rarely put out any food waste because (1) we don’t waste food* and (2) peelings etc end up either in the chickens or in the compost.

I think that, in our house, everything that can be recycled is, so why should I be thinking much about this subject? Well, the answer is that we still sometimes have waste that cannot be recycled and also I’d like to have less to recycle.

It seems to me that the only way to reduce the amount of stuff that needs to be recycled, and thus to reduce the waste stream, is to think about the whole life-span of any item. If we considered the length of time an object could serve its purpose and the destination of that object at the end of this time,  we might make better purchasing decisions.

So, today, it was appropriate that through the post I received a new washing-up brush. I ordered this last week after a whole saga of inappropriate choices and disappointment. I like to wash the dishes using a brush and for many years I have used plastic brushes. When one started to wear out some months ago I was pleased to find a replacement made of recycled plastic and with a replaceable head. Sadly, the bristles were flattened within a few weeks. I didn’t want to have to buy a new head every month, even if it was recycled plastic, so that option was abandoned. A new plastic one was purchased, but that too has become unusable after only a few months. So, by the power of the interweb, I sought out a more natural alternative, and here it is:

New arrival

New arrival

It is wooden and has natural (plant) bristles. Plus, as you can see, it came with two replacement heads. Now it may be that the bristles fall out after 20 minutes, but at this stage I’m feeling quite happy, because even if a head doesn’t last very long, I can put it in the compost heap, or use it to light a fire. This brush (apart from the metal bits) should never enter the municipal waste stream… and should provide energy rather than consume it when it comes to the end of it’s life as a washing-up brush. Now, that’s my sort of product.


* Despite Mr Snail thinking that the stinky cheese in the fridge should be classified as ‘food waste’!

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  1. Love the brush! Where did that come from?


  2. For doing the dishes, I like to use a big chunk of loofah instead of one of those green nylon scourer thingys. Again, it’s natural, biodegradeable – and you can actually grow your own in this climate, although the process of drying and cleaning a loofah gourd is beyond my patience…. They do become a bit feral after a while, but when that happens, you just put them in the compost.


  3. Gosh I learn so much here. I like the new scrub brush. I’ll have to see about it when mine finally wears out. You can get anything from Amazon.


  4. We are very lucky to have a variety of natural products stores in NY but I do catalog/online shop for things, too. There’s also a Japanese scrubber made from peach pits that works very well on pots and pans (they come in gentle and less gentle styles). It lasts a very long time and works very well. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Last year my nephew gave us all environment friendly toothbrushes, made from bamboo. It was a bit weird to use at first, but seems to do the trick (well, my dentist thinks so, anyway!).



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