Of course in the good old days there was no doubt about the meaning of the idiom – Half a loaf is better than none. We were all sure that bread is better than no bread. Today though we might ask but, is it wholemeal? is it gluten free? is it low GI? before giving a still hesitant yes. What you may ask can this apparently random thought have to do with this blog. Well in the modern world where the existence of facts to measure truth is in doubt , it is difficult to judge if a step in the right direction will be seen as just that ie half a loaf or a ‘sell out’ which will just mean progress halts at the point reached.
Still too theoretical. Here the practical example I wanted to share . I knew from myzerowaste site and my own checking of packets from time to time that the inner bags for Weetabix are ‘Not currently recycled‘. An annoying category which misleadingly gives the impression that it’s a short matter of time before they will be. When, in practice Hell may freeze over first (maybe as a result of climate change). Imagine therefore my surprise when folding the cardboard box (ready to recycle) and seeing in very fine print.
Just in case,much like on pack, if you can’t read it, it says ‘Recycle with carrier bags at larger stores. Not at kerbside’.
I thought this a fluke and felt need to check Weetabix site. There it was in FAQ’s ….
At the moment our plastic-based packaging is not recycled by many local councils. The inner bags used for most of our cereals can be recycled with shopping bags at larger retailers. We are however, working closely with a number of organisations and our suppliers to improve the recycling of these materials.
I can’t imagine why when it is such a step forward they don’t make more of this. I’m sure only the most vigilant would spot the fine print and its common knowledge (don’t ask for even fake facts to support this assertion but I did ask a greenish friend) that the liners have to (eventually) go in bin. I know, I know there are at least 30 things you can do with them first but I had been still sure they were destined for the great trash pile in the sea.
I was keen to celebrate this and point it out to others who like me might have missed this update but then thought ah… but… a true zero waster would want the inner bag to be made of edible paper or at least be compostable not plastic at all. Was I letting Weetabix off its responsibilities too easily and in so doing sleeping easily when I should be campaigning or boycotting them ( easy for me as I don’t eat boxed cereal . This box was one my son had left in house but that’s not the point). What to do. So much plastic, so little time. I decided that this was not a battle for me when there are so many non recyclable plastic bags out there to focus on. For my sanity I chose in this case to believe half a loaf is better than none… for now.
But don’t let me stop you doing otherwise. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
…. a blog post is never quite finished till you press send. Sleepless night , counting bits of litter as one does to fall back to slumber remembered the likely food waste claim that this type of liner for a ceral box is best way to avoid waste … and that thought (whether true or not) unlike the litter allowed me for now to sleep.
This week I’m hundreds of miles from home. How will I tackle my accumulated stuff? I could always have a go at sorting out the heaps of mental/emotional stuff which have no doubt accompanied me to my new location. To be honest, this doesn’t sound like much fun. Instead, I’m going to sort out someone else’s stuff.
Litter- things left behind by one thoughtless person, which quickly become everybody’s problem. This week was the perfect opportunity to try out the Litterati app
It’s very easy to use. Simply take a picture of the litter, tag it with a description (#can #waterbottle #coke #mcdonalds etc) and upload it. You then recycle the rubbish, if possible, or bin it. And that’s it. Thanks to you, the environment is better off than it was five minutes ago.
You may ask what difference it could make, picking up that one crisp packet. Well, it makes all the difference in the world. My 33 pieces of rubbish are a small contribution towards the 648,266 items already collected by Litterati users. It’s a promising start. And collecting very real litter makes a lot more sense to me than collecting virtual, pixelated pocket monsters!
Still not convinced? Jeff explains it far better than I can…
I used to keep the rest of a 6 pack of toilet rolls in the cupboard under the sink. ……..
Not the most obvious line to start an entertaining blog with but to cut a long story short, the wheelchair means there is no longer a cupboard under the sink and the shelves, at a height I can reach, are premium space. I therefore in an idle moment and in the spirit of clear floor space googled ‘toilet roll storage’. The result was to discover a post that has some pictures which tempted me to fleetingly consider buying something which I don’t need but could want. A toilet roll tree for the wall, stylish almost practical but at $180 I would have to not eat (and not just cake) for several weeks to justify its purchase. So I put the thought aside.
But there was more, what of the wall mounted cloud toilet roll shelf . Far more practical (though in this house there might be an issue with putting up a level shelf and a lopsided cloud almost inevitable) and still Art too. My cloud would be a thing to spark conversation and at last I could claim to possess something designery in my humble abode. Would it be worth not eating for several weeks for such a prize. After all I could even paint the shelf silver so my cloud had a silver lining (groan!!!) . Alas, it was not to be. I thought wait a minute as soon as you use up a toilet roll you have lost that cloud shape . Does that mean you have to keep another spare spare pack to fill this cloud up. In which case where does that spare pack reside. Would I ever in my new streamlined decluttered world need 13 toilet rolls. What sort of crisis means I need more than one spare roll let alone 13. How would I refill it so toilet rolls were rotated so I didn’t end up with grey dusty rolls at the bottom. Enough . Reductio ad absurdumm. Sense not shillings decided me.
Hmm … so what is the lesson for this week. Simple! Simplicity means just that. On this ‘decluttering’ journey I’m going to have to be clear the difference between needs and wants but also I must not get seduced by other people’s apparently perfect lives. I must live my own. Repeat after me , There is nothing wrong with a neat pile of toilet rolls in a corner of the bathroom.
Mind you , still feel free to contact me if that giraffe you no longer love is in need of a new home.
Keep Britain Tidy have been around since 1960, campaigning to educate litterers and convince them to dispose of rubbish in a more thoughtful manner. Their poster campaigns should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the UK. Personally, I find it more than a little depressing that this environmental charity is still needed in this day and age… but a quick look around our streets & countryside clearly shows their message needs shouting louder than ever.
Keep Britain Tidy app
In the 21st century, a picture of a friendly lion or popular comedy duo is unlikely to convince anyone to care for their environment. But everybody loves an app; though it won’t actually pick up the litter & bin it, this can be used to report environmental issues to the relevant local council at the click of a button.
More phone apps:
Littergram, “Using the power of your phone and social media to clean up Britain.” Simple to follow: Snap It (take photos of litter and other incidents with your phone) Share It (upload your photos to LitterGram and share on social media) and Sort It (councils identify litter grot spots and clear up the mess.)
Litterati “Join the community identifying, mapping, and collecting the world’s litter.” This app aims to identify the most commonly found brands and products. This data will be used to work with companies and organizations to find more sustainable solutions. At the time of writing 606, 905 items of litter had been photographed, tagged and removed.
Find them on twitter:
Though these are handy tools for tackling a growing problem, they can’t beat the least technical solution in the book… putting your phone away, picking up the rubbish & disposing of it responsibly.
Pick it up!