Tag Archives: recycle

Recycling – which is it?

Recycling sign on wheelie bin the Blackheath from Greenwich council

Initially I thought it was a “Do Not Disturb” sign on our wheelie bin.  Our flats have been marked out.  We are officially warned.  Someone has been putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong bins.  It wasn’t me or Mrs Bugle, I swear, honest…  I’m just wondering if they will start daubing our front doors with paint next.

But the photograph above does throw up an interesting point. Looking at all the blogs around here, you’d think it would be easy to draw a conclusion about how our recycling schemes are going.  The Phantom had a great piece about how the Greenwich Recycling plant works, but then I read in The Last Bus Home that it might not be so great after all. They quote another post by a Lib-Dem councillor who makes the point that the government sets recycling targets by the tonne, not by the quality of the recycling.

This means that they don’t really care what happens to our glass and paper waste, so long as it doesn’t go into landfill.  So our glass doesn’t get melted down back into glass bottles, it gets turned into road gravel.  And our paper doesn’t get turned back into paper, but gets shipped to Malaysia instead?!

I’m still glad that it isn’t ending up as landfill, but the carbon cost must be as much of a concern as the landfill.

Wouldn’t the pollutants involved in shipping all that paper halfway round the world be worse than just burning it in the first place?

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Building a Better Bin Bag

As mentioned before, we have run out of biodegradable bin liners.  After extensive testing, and careful prototyping at great expense (well, a couple of newspapers worth at least), I have come up with a sure fire plan to show you what to do with the contents of a kitchen caddy.

The plan I eventually went for is this one, but with the addition of some Sellotape (I’m pretty sure Sellotape is biodegradable, and we’re going for saving the planet here, not origami perfection!).

The video above shows how to make one of these boxes.  There’s no sound, and sorry the quality isn’t wonderful, but I only have an ageing apple mac to film the video on!  If you want to make some, use three or four sheets of the largest newspaper you can find.  One box should just about take the quantity of waste in a kitchen caddy (unless it is hopelessly over stuffed, in which case you’ll need two)..

UPDATE:  If you’re feeling of an origami mind, check out this great TED talk.

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When the biodegradable bin liners run out…

Post-It Box

We are lucky enough to live in the part of Blackheath managed by Greenwich council, who seem to have a more sensible policy on recycling than Lewisham. It means that we were given a little green “caddy” to place kitchen scraps into, which can then be transferred to larger white biodegradable sacks, and then disposed of in a special biomass only wheelie bin once a week.

Which is great, except that the white bin liners were a one-off. Like a drug pusher offering the “first one free”, we aren’t going to get any more of these bin liners without paying for them. Fair enough, as it isn’t actually necessary to wrap your kitchen scraps in anything before chucking them into the wheelie bin, but it makes for a much nicer experience for all concerned if you do.

The council alternatively suggest wrapping the scraps in newspaper. So – I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do this. I had an idea that I could make some little origami boxes out of newspaper, and dump the waste into those before putting it into the wheelie bin.

UPDATE: There are loads of examples on the web, but, being origami, they are nearly all based on square sheets of paper, rather than rectangular newspaper sizes. I had a go with this one; but you have to start with a square sheet, and the box that is produced is pretty tiny (see below left).  All the boxes in the photo below were made with single pages of A4, despite the different sizes of box.

Origami bin liner replacements prototypes

This one looks more promising, shape-wise, but is in Japanese, and gets a bit confusing around about the reverse-folding stage.. The box is bigger but flimsier (see photo above right).

This one looks really good, but is meant for creating seed pots, so is quite small (see middle box in the photo above).

But they’re all a bit small. I suppose ideally, you’d want one made from several sheets of newspaper for strength, with no resizing of the paper required.

If anyone finds one, let me know, and I’ll try and add a video of my happless attempts to replace the bin liners soon!

Box made from a Post-It note by Flickr user teamaskins.

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