St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Guest Blog – Gillian Clifton “January Rubbish Challenge”

Gillian first got in touch with me, St Nicks Recycling Co-ordinator Sam Taylor, back in early February. She was (and I believe remains to be) very frustrated about how difficult this challenge would be to undertake.  The plan had been to send no waste to landfill throughout the month of January, something that seems simple; but do you ever really stop to think about how much waste you generate on a daily basis?  Whether it is food waste, the ever present plastic or even broken cups and plates it all has to end up somewhere.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing Gillian’s blog and how she overcame some of the unexpected aspects of the challenge along with our thoughts and ideas on ways to cut down on your waste generation in the first place.  If you have any ideas/comments/suggestions or have tried a similar challenge yourself we would love to hear from you!

Gillian’s first post is below…

One evening, just after Christmas and possibly after a glass of wine – or 2 – I was suddenly struck with a flash of inspiration. I thought, ‘I know! I’ll try and get through January without creating any landfill. It’ll be a challenge!’ Surprisingly my husband Mark was all for the idea; to be perfectly honest we didn’t really think it would be that difficult. We had gone away for New Year and began our journey home on 1st January feeling fully motivated and quite excited (we don’t get out much!) We’d not travelled many miles down the road before we realised there would be no stopping off for a sandwich, packet of crisps and a chocolate bar because of the rubbish it would create; not even a cup of coffee because we weren’t sure of the recycling status of those horrible take-away cups. It was around then that I decided 2 things. Firstly I would incorporate any unavoidable landfill into an artistic (!) weaving project and secondly I would keep a blog, which turned out to be another challenge altogether!

The plan is to get through January without creating any landfill waste – or at least as little as possible. The only exception is the doggy poo bags! They are bio-degradable at least. So far the main culprit seems to be food wrapping. – so much cellophane! Mark has volunteered to be master baker and has started this morning with a delish loaf. No wrapping there.

Sam adds:

Takeaway coffee cups are a bit of a hot topic at the minute (thanks Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall!) basically because they are made up of layers of cardboard and plastic many places cannot accept them much like Tetrapaks.  If you are unsure if they can be recycled where you live contact your local authority and they’ll be able to advise.  *There is currently no recycling provision for waxed cups in York*

Whilst not for everyone there are a few places with some ideas of what you can do with your dog’s waste such as composting it, using it in a methane burner or using newspaper instead of plastic bags – see  I personally think that biodegradable bags may be the easiest and most accessible way for most people to deal with the unavoidable waste generated by our pooches but it is definitely worth looking up if you’re interested.

I am a massive fan of homebaking, luckily I didn’t inherit my mother’s heavy hands!  Not only can you cut down on both food waste and packaging you also save money and know exactly what you are eating. It’s amazing how much sugar is hidden in foods (but that is another issue altogether!).

So hopefully this introductory post has piqued your interest enough to read next week’s guest post from Gillian.

4 May 2016 | Categories: Waste and recycling | Tags: baking, challenge, cyc, dog, no landfill january, plastic, recycling, waste, York