Where do we go from here?

National Recycle Week – Day 7

So, on this final day of National Recycle Week, I’ve been reviewing my posts and considering the future. It’s clear that recycling is simply not enough – everyone of us needs to think about using fewer resources. Just because our governments’ only measure of success is ‘economic growth’ does not mean that we have to (literally!!) buy into this. There is no such thing as sustainability that supports ever increasing consumption of physical resources. We can, however, look for growth in happiness, creativity, friendship, green spaces, homegrown vegetables… any number of factors that could be increased and could benefit us as individuals and the planet as whole.

I now know that I am not going to be able so save the planet single-highhandedly (goodbye dreams of my youth). And quite frankly, I don’t want to anymore – I want to be part of a team. Even so, I know there are still lots of things that I can do as an individual that will make a difference.

The first practical thing I am going to do is to take Sharon’s advice and put together a mending kit. Perhaps my dislike of mending will be reduced (I can’t see that I’m ever going to come to love the activity, only the results) if I have a handy tool box containing all the bits and bobs I might need for patching, darning and repairing.

So, I’ve found a box that used to house my portable sewing kit when I was a student:

A relic of my past

A relic of my past

Inside there are currently drawing pins, a bottle of ink, paper clips, treasury tags, a protractor and a few other bits and bobs that I haven’t seen for years because I haven’t opened it for years. These can join our main stash of such supplies and I’ll give it a good wash out.

Next, I’ve started putting together a collection of useful things to go in it: darning wool, thread, small scissors, a darning mushroom, mending tape a rouleau needle (for threading elastic). I’ve also used a little knitted strawberry that Sharon herself sent me as a small pin cushion, to which I’ve also added a darning needle. What else should I include? All suggestions welcome.

Things I've collected together so far

Things I’ve collected together so far

Do you have a mending box? If so, what do you keep in it?

Other than this, I’m going to be thinking about future purchases a bit more, particularly in relation to plastics and composite objects, as these are not always easy to recycle. We are fast approaching ‘plastic-free July‘ and whilst I’m not planning to participate ‘officially’ it seems like a good time to consider the whole issue and, perhaps, make some more changes.


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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