Sunday, 18 May 2014

Living Better: Rethinking Rubbish

As I've been to the exhibition associated with the Design Awards at the Design Museum in London for two years in a row now I think that I might have established a personal tradition. There's a few posts to be gleaned from my rather fascinating visit and this, the first, gives me just the opportunity that I need to give an update on the latest Guardian Live Better Challenge to do with reducing and recycling waste that I started a couple of weeks ago.  It's been an eye opener.

The generations that come after us will be astonished by the lax attitude that we have to making products from our depleting petro-chemical resource that we just thoughtlessly throw away.  I think that I read that somewhere but I could have made it up.  My mind does sometimes play tricks on me. For instance,  I have rather unsettling memories of a naked early morning run through Exeter but it's 99% likely that this was a particularly vivid dream. Ye gods! Let's hope so.

Anway, moving on... these rather funky PET lampshades are one of the nominations in the show. These are so right on it's untrue being made from plastic bottles rescued from the Amazon by people displaced by guerilla warfare.  Isn't that better than letting them wash out to sea to form part of huge swirling gyres in the oceans or wash up on some otherwise idyllic beach somewhere? The neck of the bottle is the part where the light fitting goes whilst the main body is cut into strips and interwoven with natural materials.  And right on cue the Guardian has released a video giving other ideas of how to recycle bottles.  Follow the link here.

So what about my own efforts and that week long challenge to reduce my own rubbish?  It's given me food for thought which I'm putting into action. I tried to recycle those plastic food containers through my green bin system but the beady eyed rubbish collectors wouldn't take them.  A bit of research has shown me that there are recycling bins for my yoghurt pots and suchlike so they're now being sifted out of the black waste and will go there instead of the landfill site.  And I'm trying to be much more selective about buying over packaged food, opting out of buying it whenever I can.  These lovely tomatoes in their brown paper bag, for instance, came from our village shop.

This is a challenge that has made me feel a bit guilty about my lackadaisical approach to creating and disposing of rubbish.  I'm continuing on with thinking about how to reduce waste for much longer than the week suggested.  So I'm giving the lovely inspirational people from Live Better heartfelt thanks.


  1. My own rubbish bag amounts to a supermarket bag almost full, about once a month and sometimes longer. Almost everything is recycled here, thanks to our forward thinking council, even batteries and discarded food. See the link for what we can recycle.

  2. I wish our part of Devon were like this. Food waste yes but easy disposal of most plastic items is harder.

  3. My city has a good recycling program. They will take all plastic food containers, but not plastic clamshell/blister packaging from things like batteries or earphones.