Password problems unfortunately meant that my fantastic first day blog is on my second day... but never mind! I have a fabulous guest writer....Almost Mrs Average! Woop woop!
So without further ado please welcome to the stage (a less frightening one than last week..) Almost Mrs Average!
So Waste Free Week has finally arrived in Norfolk and what excitement it brings. With over 500 people registered and four people blogging about their challenges and achievements, it's promising to be a fabulous milestone in the county's attempts to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
Kate may not have let on, but she's done this before, in Bury St Edmunds in March, when she mentored me through the challenge of a Zero Waste Week, helping to reduce my rubbish down from 75 cubic litres of waste per week to almost nothing.
"You'll be surprised at the results" she said.
And she was right.
I reduced our food waste, composted more and recycled things I had previously dumped in landfill, including aerosols and plastic bags. But it wasn't just a lesson in recycling. Attempting a waste free challenge was indeed a lifestyle makeover that changed the way I shopped, cleaned and cooked. I switched to the market and farm shops to avoid packaging. I ditched kitchen roll for reusable cloths. I also learned how to make bread and yoghurt and replaced over-packaged shop bought treats with home-baked alternatives. They were simple things that made a huge difference.
At the end of the challenge, the only thing I threw away was a plaster. Just one single plaster, a result of a minor accident on day one.
And it was true. I was surprised at the results.
Not only did I just have one plaster, but the challenge was featured on Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
But despite the excitement, what's most important is that the amount of waste we send to landfill per month can now fit into just one carrier bag. And where we once struggled to heave the wheelie bin out for its collection, it now sits in our garage for months on end.
So, as Norfolk begins its wonderful Waste Free Week, I'd like to send some words of encouragement to all participants. It may seem like an unsurmountable challenge, but shopping with waste in mind and reducing packaging at source is the real key to success. Buy loose where possible and if you need to stock up on essentials, try products such asTwinings tea bags, Shredded Wheat cereal and Pears soap bars, which come in simple cardboard boxes. Lush cosmetics sell packaging-free soap bars, deodorant bars and body butters. If you can't recycle juice cartons, try products that come in glass bottles and take them to your bring bank.
Waste Free Week provides the perfect opportunity to rethink waste and stop looking at rubbish as simply rubbish, but as a valuable resource that should be "reinvested" in the materials economy.
And as you recycle more and waste less, the results will be clear, a slimmer bin to take you forward for many decades to come.
Kate is right. You will be surprised.
Life for you and your bin will never be the same again!
Karen Cannard is the author of The Rubbish Diet blog. Her book The Rubbish Diet: Achieve Zero Waste in 8 Weeks, will be published by Vermilion in 2009. For more ideas and inspiration visit her blog at www.therubbishdiet.blogspot.com.