Of all the Zero Waste Weeks, this has definitely been my most random with its fair share of Monty Python-esque moments thrown into the mix.
The dramarama began when a poor pigeon hit my windscreen en route to the train station, with a great thud on a rural road. It would never have survived the impact. However, there was no way I was going to recover it for a pigeon pie.
Then there was the dead partridge that my friend Laura found in her garden while I was collecting her recycling to help her out during Zero Waste Week.
“I’ll get rid of it for you,” I said, “You don’t want it stinking out your bin.” I haven’t told her yet that having been disallowed entry to the landfill skip at the Recycling Centre, on account of it being a dead bird, it’s now laying to rest in my flippin’ bin, along with some mouldy wraps I had planned to rescue and a couple of forgotten brioche rolls my youngest had left in his backpack, which I only discovered when repacking it ready for ‘back-to-school’.
That’s the thing about a Zero Waste Week. With eyes focused on the bin and a challenge to reduce your waste, rubbish takes on a life of its own, highlighting random absurdities as well as individual behaviour patterns and general household characteristics. Things that, during a normal week, would generally be passed over and ignored.
For instance, take the dried out lemons my husband found in my coat on Sunday night, the eve of Zero Waste Week.
Zero Waste Week always teaches you something, and so perhaps my first lesson is a reminder to empty all rucksacks, pockets and handbags as soon as I get home.
As well as helping out Laura (whose own story is featured on The Rubbish Diet) my personal pledge for Zero Waste Week was to reduce our food waste at home. Aside from the dead birds, a pair of old lemons, random brioche discovery, and my lack of planning with the wraps – oh, a spoonful of mouldy Philadelphia that had been archived in the back of the fridge – Zero Waste Week 2014 went pretty well.
For what was a a very chaotic week, I did manage to create a great passata from all all the dodgy veg in the bottom of the fridge. I wish I could say it was a planned creation, but it was more of a ‘throw it together and hope for the best kind’ of recovery. And my only other effort was to harvest a small bundle of apples from our tiny tree – an annual tradition now reserved for Zero Waste Week – and made some apple sauce and baked slices.
However, the biggest surprise was that the only food waste from mealtimes was a small piece of uneaten bagel and a spoonful of breakfast cereal, which left me wondering if my children had undergone a personality transplant. I reckon all that brain power from Back-to-School has made them very hungry.
So bunged in with some empty crisp packets and confectionery packaging and bulked out with a couple of polystyrene bottoms from a couple of pizzas that a friend brought around for dinner, we have the final offerings from this year’s zero waste week. As ever, I remain grateful for our fabulous kerbside recycling services that include mixed plastics.
Thanks again to Rachelle Strauss for organising another superb campaign. That woman is a real campaign whizz and it’s been a real honour to be an ambassador. It’s been a great week with lots of fantastic stories shared on Twitter. Just follow the hashtag #zerowasteweek to find out what’s been happening.
And if you are tempted to join in next year, I thoroughly recommend it, visit www.zerowasteweek.co.uk.
Meanwhile, if you’re based in Bury St Edmunds and want to find out more about reducing food waste, do sign up for a Love Food Hate Waste event, which is taking place this Wednesday.
And if you’re a fan of local comedian, Kirsty Hudson, watch as she embarks on her own journey to reduce waste, featuring yours truly, rummaging in her bin. Zero Waste Week may be over, but every week is an opportunity to beat that rubbish.