Recycling, plastic and the challenges of compost.

Recycling and reducing our carbon footprint are important issues. In this episode of Gails Gossip, Gail considers her approach to recycling and how she can be a better world citizen.

The recycling queen.

‘Why is your recycling bin only half full?’ Meg demanded

I looked shiftily at my shoes. ‘ I just haven’t had much recycling to go out this week’ I said unconvincingly.

‘Really?’ She raised a disbelieving eyebrow. ‘So why is your landfill exploding out of the top of the bin?’

In case you hadn’t realised, dear reader, Meg has become a born again recycling queen. She is positively evangelical and never misses the opportunity to demonstrate how diligent she is, and how tardy the rest of us are.

She rolls up her sleeves and dons a pair of Marigolds.

‘What on earth are you doing Meg?’ I enquire. It’s a rhetorical question. I already know what the answer will be and she wastes no time in delivering it. With just the right amount of saccharine to really get up my nose.

‘Gail, I refuse to believe that all that landfill is really landfill. You must take more responsibility for what you chuck away and where you chuck it.’

Gail is confused by recycling advice

She’s probably right. However, in my defence, I find the whole process needlessly complex. Yes to certain plastics, no to others. No to bubblewrap, but yes to clean foil. And don’t get me started on the milk bottles. Yes to bottles providing they are clean and dry, but no to the caps, which we are encouraged to store and give to charity. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t actually have enough mental will for all this. Consequently, I can be a bit lazy.

Because I want to keep the peace, I promise Meg I will sort it out at the weekend and suggest we go to the coffee shop for a cheeky little chai latte.

Time to sort the bins

The weekend arrives and I am true to my word. I open each black sack and forensically examine the rubbish within.

Within a very short space of time, I realise I have completely failed as a world citizen. Annoyingly, Meg is absolutely correct in her statement about my recycling habits. On the way home from work I tend to grab a coffee at the local shop. Sadly, I  to nearly always dump the container in landfill and yet it clearly states on the side that it is recyclable. In addition, I notice a number of single-use plastic bottles glaring at me. I have no excuse and the more I investigate the more guilty I become.

So what’s the solution?

I consider my options whilst taking Fudge for a walk.

I could just stick my head in the sand and ignore the issue. Although tempting, the continual ear bashing from Queen Meg of the recyclers would be ghastly. So, I make a pledge that from now I will become a model recycler and a good citizen. I will bathe in the glow of recycling righteousness.

Firstly I will keep a multi use coffee mug and refillable water bottle in my work bag. Secondly, I will provide my own washable containers for meat and veg at the local supermarket and a fabric bag for my bread. Finally, I will keep a small pot to store bottle tops and another for used batteries. Phew!!

To compost or not to compost

I have always considered composting too much of a faff. However, in the spirit of all things environmental I should at least think about it.

A quick online search seems to imply that composting is as easy as falling off a log. Apparently, I have all the ingredients for good compost; vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, crazy shrub clippings and old fruit and veg at the bottom of the salad crisper. Happily, I also have an inexhaustable supply of coffee grounds, so I feel pretty confident of success.  Enthusiastically, I nip to the garden centre and purchase a modest sized compost bin.

I’m ready to rock and roll.

The unbiased feedback

Meg, however, is unimpressed. ‘Well it’s about time’ she says sniffily. ‘Now all you need to do is keep it up. I give it 2 months max’. I’m irritated by her response. Does she really not think I can do it or is she just miffed because someone else is doing exactly what she has done?

As a result, I find myself totally committed to proving her wrong. Watch this space…..