A month of the Rubbish Diet!

My eco challenge for this month was to slim my bin (i.e. throw less away) by undertaking The Rubbish Diet.  I received four emails over the month and was quite pleased to see I was already doing most of the things they suggested.  We aren’t throwing much away, only needing to put our bin out to be emptied around once every 4 weeks, but we are still throwing stuff away and I would like to reduce that.
I chose this challenge because I thought it would complement some of my other challenges, which it definitely has, but it has also resulted in another to do list (alongside my going single use plastic free to do list and my mending pile).  There are lots of things that I am still chucking in the bin, some of which I have an idea about alternative ways of doing things and some of which I need some help with, which are as follows:
  • Lids – my local council doesn’t recycle jar lids and bottle tops.  I know that The Green Centre in Brighton takes plastic milk bottle tops (read more here)  and I am saving them now to take there (I’m still struggling with finding an affordable alternative to plastic milk bottles). Unfortunately I don’t think they take jar lids –  does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can recycle those?
  • Food waste – I try to waste as little food as possible and we have a compost heap for scraps. Currently we aren’t able to compost meat, fish and cooked food scraps though and I have my eye on a Green Johanna, which I can get for a discount through the Brighton and Hove council website (read more here).  I am in debate about buying this as it is something new (and plastic), but it isn’t just for me and I think the benefits of being able to compost all our food waste make buying it a no-brainer really. 
  • I am currently throwing away lots of little plastic bags from packaged goods such as nuts, seeds, quinoa, pasta…  I already have it on my list of things to do to learn how to make pasta and I can buy some nuts loose in their shells. I am scoping out the alternatives though, plan to write to a local company that produces a lot of these products to ask them to change the packaging and have mentioned to my local grocer that it would be great if he could sell more things like nuts, seeds and grains loose…
  • I am still using disposable bed wetting mats (and nappies) and still have a plan to make reusable bed mats (I have made the decision to stick with disposable nappies as we are nearly done with them – well I’m really hoping we are).  These all go in the bin.
  • Broken toys get chucked in the bin every so often as there is nowhere that I know of that I can recycle them – anyone have any ideas here?
  • From time to time I do still use kitchen paper or use paper from the recycling bin to clear up a mess, which then goes in the bin…  I need to get stricter about the kitchen paper and maybe I could put dirty paper in the compost heap – anyone know if this is a good idea/ bad idea or if there are certain types of paper that I shouldn’t put on the compost heap?
  • I have recently stopped using foil and baking paper, which helps (read more here) and have been clingfilm free for a little while which also helps (read more here).
I’m sure there are more things going in the bin and I plan to try to eliminate them one by one! If you have any ideas about what I can do about any of the above please let me know as it would be really helpful.
I am currently undertaking a Year of Eco Challenges . If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring me with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!


  1. Hi Zoe, what a great write-up and I love the way you've got down to the nitty gritty. I'll send a tweet around to see if there are any other ideas, but there are a few things that come to mind:

    Re jar lids: If they're metal, it may be worth checking whether the Wilson Road Household Waste Recycling Centre will accept them as scrap metal. Alternatively, is there someone on your local Freegle who wants jars? If so, you could hand over the jars with the lids intact.

    On the food waste front, I've never used a Green Johanna, but Jen at MakeandMendYear might have done. Six years ago we used a Bokashi Bin, which was great because it was an easy way of seeing how much food waste we were creating and it reduced so much that it took us several months to fill, so we stopped using it and switched to a wormery instead. However as you know the wormery doesn't take meat or fish scraps so the Green Johanna may be a good investment. You should be able to put your kitchen paper in there too. Before we stopped using kitchen paper, if it hadn't come into contact with chemicals or cooked food I'd put it in the compost bin.

    Re the bed wetting pads, may the ready made washable ones might help. I found this site. I can't vouch for how good they are but there may be several alternatives that you could explore. http://www.completecareshop.co.uk/beds-and-bedding/washable-bed-protectors/?gclid=CIGJp9692rwCFQgOwwod1xMA4w

    If there's anything else we can help with, do let us know. Meanwhile, a huge thank you for signing up to The Rubbish Diet and sharing the specific hurdles. We love talking rubbish! 🙂 Karen x

  2. Anonymous

    Just to say that all kinds of paper towel and shreaded paper compost well, if it is dry my neighbour puts his through the Guinea Pig cage first.

  3. Zoe

    Thanks for the ideas Karen. For some reason I never thought to take lids to the metal recycling section of the dump. I think most lids have plastic in them though, so don't know if this would be a problem…

  4. Zoe

    Thanks for your comment anonymous – I'm definitely going to start putting paper that has been used for cleaning up in the compost heap…

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