I've been wondering what to do with my old laddered hosiery, which has been piling up on top of my cupboard for months. A few scraps of material and a couple of buttons later, I came up with the perfect solution just in time for Christmas...and with it... a little festive greeting.
So Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a brilliant time and manage to keep those festive bins looking as slim as Scrooge's old dusty wallet. Thank you for a real fun year and cor blimey it was a good 'un.
Well, that's me signing off for a while but I'll see you in 2009, when I'll be pondering my new year resolutions. Why don't you join in too, and get set for another trashtastic Rubbish Dieting year!
See you soon....
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
I've been wondering what to do with my old laddered hosiery, which has been piling up on top of my cupboard for months. A few scraps of material and a couple of buttons later, I came up with the perfect solution just in time for Christmas...and with it... a little festive greeting.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
I've had to think carefully before writing this post. After all there are only 5 days to go until Christmas Day and I've realised that this year I have been living in a HUGE state of denial.
And it's the kind of denial that makes you want to run to the hills and live in a cave for a week and then come out when it's all over.
Yes I know, perhaps I need therapy.
Especially when you see the evidence...
- I've only written one card - and yes I know today is the last posting day before Christmas.
- I've not bought any crackers - we're going to make hats and Mr A will make up some jokes instead.
- Our presents for the boys have been pared right back to just a few things each, plus some coins and the traditional satsuma.
- I have not even bought a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream.
But therapy would only be useful if I really wanted to get back to the norm.
And the norm is - or more to the point was - filling the house with booze and food that would end up going to waste or making me fat, spending stacks of cash on Mr A and the children and expecting him to do the same and then surprising others with presents they probably don't need or even want.
I'm not really up for that this year! Not now that I've woken up to the amount of waste that our excesses used to create.
I don't think I need therapy and I'm certainly not going to run and hide in a cave because believe it or not, after months of denial I am actually looking forward to Christmas and the festive cheer actually starts today!
Not September, when the shops start selling presents, nor the middle of November when the lights are switched on. And visiting Father Christmas at the beginning of December, when we all know the big guy doesn't make an appearance until next week was most certainly not on the agenda.
Phew - at last I feel that I've broken free from the burdens of Christmas that has become as traditional as the event itself and I can tell you, with it comes a huge feeling of relief.
But I really feel like I'm breaking the rules. - the rules of social etiquette that bind us together giving us a shared understanding of how things should be.
To break away from all that is not easy. It is hard to be different and really does need strength of character to fight those feelings of automatic generosity or conformity, whilst defending any impressions of selfishness. It's not even as though I am particularly religious but I can't help wondering whether, it might be easier if I was bound to a faith.
But I do have renewed faith in Christmas and now feel brave enough to share my beliefs.
It's taken me a while but I've grown to realise I don't need gifts to know that someone cares for me. For those that do, I will respect it but memories of good times, traditions and laughter last much longer than presents.
And a card is only useful for sending Christmas wishes that I can't deliver myself. A personal hello, a telephone call or an email are much more appreciated than an automatic card from someone who has become a stranger.
But the one thing that has kept me most sane is the growing realisation of one important fact and I can't believe it's taken me so long to work it out or indeed share the knowledge.
Right....here we go, my one pearl of wisdom, for what it's worth.
"Christmas Day is a just day and not a deadline".
There, I said it and how wonderful it feels to get that off my chest!
So please forgive me if I remain calm while the rest of the world scurries around me. I shan't judge those who do, just as I hope those who enjoy or accept the excess and panic of Christmas will not judge my realisation that it no longer suits me.
Ah...Peace at last.
Now doesn't that sound festive.....so as I break into the Carols and start organising Christmas, I'll see you next week, when I will have finally sorted my Christmas greetings and caught up with replies to other posts.
.........Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la la, la la la la!"
"Ho, Ho, Ho!"
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
When I've not been busy on the blog, the book or indeed preparing for Christmas, I've been having a really good Twitter. Not just twittering to myself, but twittering to others over at www.twitter.com, where everyone else is having their fair share of tweets too. And it's fab, you get to meet all sorts of new peeps or tweeps as twittering people are called.
And one of those gorgeous tweeps is the lovely Allyson Proudfoot, who runs the Bellingham Soap Company, making luxury soap and skincare products under the brand Working with Nature. If the name sounds familiar, it's because as well as having an online shop, Allyson distributes to a whole range of stockists across the UK, including National Trust gift shops.
Well I couldn't resist ordering myself a treat (or indeed a tweet) for Christmas and it arrived today. So while I'm off to indulge in a Fabulous Frankincense Fizz Bath, I have the pleasure in handing you over to Allyson for her to tell you more about her work.
How long have you been making soap and what inspired you in the first place?
"I've been making soap for 11 years, started selling at my local farmers market in 1999. I started because I needed something to do with my surplus goats milk and then began making creams and balms about 4 years ago, as a natural progression!"
What's your favourite product?
"I don't really have a fave product, I like them all. If I don't like something I don't make it again even if it is popular...like glycerin soap, I could sell cart loads but it is just melted down factory base and even the so called organic stuff doesn't fit in with what I believe in. If I was pushed I would have to say that I love my Patchouli soap."
What kind of packaging do you use?
"I only use biodegradable packaging, natural cellophane, jute bags and fairly traded saa paper. I band my soaps with Ellie Poo paper as it helps to conserve the habitat of elephants in Sri Lanka.
I use recycled packaging to send out my orders, I usually use recycled brown paper and corrugated cardboard but I also re-use what is sent to me, if it is a plastic sack or bubble wrap then I got it from someone else! I use cellulose sticky tape too!"
What would be your top tip for any other small business wishing to reduce its waste?
"My top tip would be think about waste in the first stages of designing a product, and save every thing you can in case you can re-use it later, shred your waste paper and use it as packing."
Huge thanks to Allyson for joining in with The Rubbish Diet. I can truly vouch that the packaging is just what she promotes through her work. It arrived this morning, all gorgeous and eco-friendly, with a few reused bits too. To find out more about her wonderful products, pop over to www.bellinghamsoapcompany.co.uk.
If you want to follow our tweets, log onto www.twitter.com/therubbishdiet
and www.twitter.com/workingnature, where you'll find a whole load of tweeters at it too, with many friends you'll recognise and a whole load of new ones to connect with.
Monday, 15 December 2008
What a couple of jewels I've discovered this weekend. Having spent the last few weeks indoors at my computer, it was a true delight to go out and play. And look what I've found.
My first discovery was Raspberry Rascals, a fantastic children's shop that's just opened in Langton Place, Bury St Edmunds. Here's Heather, the founder, sorting out a few clothes that I decided to buy for the children.
Now this shop might look expensive, but Raspberry Rascals isn't just any old new shop if you get my drift. It's a gorgeous nearly new store aimed at children under 5. With clothes, toys, books and nursery equipment, Raspberry Rascals stocks a wonderful range of items in such excellent condition, you'd hardly know they were pre-loved.
It's a real gem of a shop and a perfect addition to the town centre. I can see it will be a regular hang-out for a fussy bargain-hunter like me.
Talking of real gems, on Sunday I popped over to one of Bury St Edmunds' other treasures, the wonderful craft fair at Blackthorpe Barn, a major event in Suffolk's Christmas calendar.
And look who I bumped into! The fabulous Steve Weeks, who'd travelled all the way up from Wiltshire to promote her stunning collection of handcrafted bags
And they really are beautiful, but as you can jolly well guess, I wouldn't just rave about any old bags, apart from my gorgeous Radley of course.
You see, each handbag is made from rescued materials that are sourced locally, which means every item is unique and a real eco-friendly find. Steve's work is really worth a blog post of its own, so I'll be coming back to that in the new year. In the meantime, take a look for yourself at www.beaubags.co.uk.
And if the weekend wasn't exciting enough, Just Gai over at Zero Waist has published December's Carnival of Trash today, so do hop over and have a read of all the fabulous posts. Then when that's done, tune into BBC Radio Suffolk's James Hazell Show on Tuesday morning when I'll be popping up at around 11.10 to chat about minimising waste this Christmas.
At last I'm beginning to feel some festive vibes. It's about time too. After all, I've done nothing but polish off mince pies since Friday. So before my Christmas spirit takes another nosedive, I'm off to decorate the Christmas Tree and wrap some presents.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Oh...I'm feeling like Cilla Black on Blind Date...
I've been matchmaking...and it's so exciting...but not how you'd think!
This particular story begins with an evening out with friends at an Indian Restaurant last night. An evening of hilarity and good humour, full of all sorts of innuendos...the fun, the laughter...well you know how it is!
One minute you're having a regular night out innocently enjoying your meal. Then before you know it time's whizzed by and the hot towels arrive, a refreshing treat at the end of the evening.
Of course I couldn't wash my hands without asking THE question about what happened to the towels once they were used.
"Madam, I'm afraid we throw them away" came the answer.
"Er yes madam."
Well I wasn't having that. Looking at the towels again, there was no logical reason why they couldn't be put to good use as reusable wipes for the kids or as cleaning cloths perhaps...so I popped them in my bag and brought them home to wash.
Yes I know it might appear to be eccentric behaviour, others might say my rescue mission was fuelled by wine.
But when you wake up to waste, I'm afraid you can't close your eyes to it even after a few glasses of the white stuff.
So yes, I rescued 7 hand towels. But thinking about it, they are just a drop in the ocean when you consider the numbers that must be used in a whole day, a week, or indeed a year, not by one restaurant but the thousands of establishments across the country.
But guess what...for this particular restaurant, there is indeed a happy outcome.
In idle gossip today, I mentioned the story to a friend.
We both frowned, seethed and tutted.
Then came the spark of ingenuity.
"I always need cleaning cloths" she remarked
"I can give 'em a wash and use them in my cafe".
Well, what can you say to that!
The only thing to do was to skip home, get on the blower to the restaurant manager and make a date!
And that's where this story ends...well for the moment.
I've got his mobile so she can give him a call and arrange a regular pick-up.
A neat solution to a wasteful issue.
I think my work is done!
So next time you're out for a curry and are freshening up at the end of your meal, please do be inquisitive. Who knows what could happen!
Labels: Indian restaurants
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Sorry I haven't got time to blog much at the moment, busy writing book and all that. But I did tear myself away to make some new liquid soap for the bathroom.
I've never made it before, so I thought I'd video it so we could all see how easy or indeed difficult it was. What's great about the ingredients is that they're all natural and don't contain any nasty chemicals and they can be used to keep refilling any old bottle you've got hanging around. And of course it's one less thing to pick up at the supermarket.
So how easy is it? Well here's the video
All ingredients can be purchased from Summer Naturals. And if you want to see what else you can make, check out some recipes here. If anyone else knows of other things that are just as simple for a novice to make, please share, who knows what I'll get up to when in the mood.
Monday, 8 December 2008
My weekend was so exciting. I went to a neighbour's house to meet up with some special girls. It was a Hen Party run on behalf of Omlet for people interested in keeping chickens. Truth of the matter is I've been feeling broody for years and these ones had me running home clucking with intentions.
So if you fancy the idea of keeping some too and want a sneaky peek at how to handle a chicken, check out the video below. They're gorgeous! (Huge thanks to Graham for agreeing to be uploaded and featured).
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Blimmin 'eck. It's Sunday night and there's a bit of a lather going on in the Almost Average household.
I've been falling over myself with responsibilities with the dawning realisation that the festive season is upon us and the one thing that I really want for Christmas isn't really possible. It might sound drastic but I could do with the whole thing being pushed back a few months.
Blubbedyrubbedyflibbedy-woo. The tell-tale signs are starting.
Take last week. Mr A went brought our Christmas tree home and put it up on Wednesday (we always do it early in our house). I had explained that it would not be possible to decorate until Friday.
So the bare tree sat in the corner of the living room.
There were my school governor responsibilities to deal with on Thursday followed by speaking at a regional Climate Change conference on Friday. With so much impending excitement leaving me on the cusp of turning green, by the time the evening arrived I'd felt like an alien had eaten my brain. All I could do was stay awake long enough to enjoy the curry that Mr A had made to celebrate the anniversary of when we first met back in 1992. A delicious Rogan Josh followed by a big long sleep.
So the tree stood bare in the corner again.
Then there was the book to write in the morning, followed by a quick visit to the market and then an afternoon Hen Party with a difference as well as a champagne laced Christmas party on Saturday night.
Another busy day today and the tree's still bare. Too tired to do it tonight. It's a two hour job that'll have to wait till tomorrow.
Problem is...I'm beginning to like the minimalist look and I think I'd like it to stay. Perhaps pop an angel on top to show some festive spirit.
But someone's been busy in my absence. I think they're a bit desperate, either that or the Christmas fairies have got some other ideas. Have a look at the photo again. It's certainly a new take on a hanging decoration.
Having been woken up early by my 4 year old for the 7th day running, I'm now off to bed to catch up on my beauty sleep. But don't let that spoil your fun.
Before you head off, be sure to visit the brilliant Just Gai over at the ZeroWaist blog to find out how you can take part in the Christmas Carnival of Trash that's taking place on the 15th December. Looks like I've got the perfect Christmas Tree photo to kick off the seasonal fun. So please join in and submit your entry by Friday 12th and do take time to find out how Just Gai managed with her own zero waste challenge earlier this year.
And come back soon, when I'll be revealing some photos of my neighbour's hen party. It was definitely the best zero waste event I could have wished for
Thursday, 4 December 2008
"....but you have to separate the cardboard from any plastic. Just pop it along to your local recycling centre, and place it in the relevant bin."
Well what can I say? I must be in chocolate heaven and so close to Christmas too! Not only am I sat enjoying a box of yummy Thorntons chocolate mints, but the considerate product designers have included instructions on what I should do with the packaging.
It's common knowledge that one of the problems with getting people to recycle is the lack of knowledge about whether something can be recycled. Indeed 48% of recyclers interviewed for WRAP's Barriers to Recycling study admitted to throwing things in the bin because they weren't sure what to do.
Which is why explicit instructions on consumer products is an absolute necessity.
So if you're the type of person who screams at products that whisper the words "Recyclable if facilities exist" with no hint of the materials used, you'll be inspired by Thorntons' range of chocolates that shout their credentials so loudly you'll no longer need a degree to work out your options.
Take the Mint Collection for example. The instructions explicitly state that the plastic used is 50% recycled PET, enabling consumers to check local facilities with confidence. The cushion pad that protects the chocolates can be recycled too, as it's just paper. I know that from simply reading the box. I didn't even have to tear it up to work it out.
How refreshing to find a product where there is no ambiguity over its core packaging. This is most definitely a worthy zero waste benchmark, especially as Thorntons are one of the few chocolate manufacturers to avoid wrapping their products in that annoyingly awkward film. Of course if I wanted to be picky, I would suggest an extra note for recycling the foil wrappers, but I'll be thankful for small mercies that things are moving in right direction.
And Thorntons aren't the only ones at it. It seems Nestle have been making an effort too, proudly announcing their kids' selection box now uses 40% less packaging than previous products and boasts clear instructions to recycle the plastic tray, which itself is made from 50% recycled PET (RPET) and 75% recycled board.
Yes I know it's cheaper and a more sensible zero waste option to pick your own selection and package them up yourself, but millions of people buy these things and even I remember the excitement over that special box at Christmas, so this feels like positive progress too.
But we can't forget that all these positive noises about recycling come at a time when the market for recyclables has taken a nose-dive. The good news is that WRAP has just launched a help service for local authorities that have concerns about their mounting piles of materials and their advice to the public is to keep recycling what packaging you can. I suppose these resources are just like stocks and shares. What's down one day is up the next and markets are still available for quality products, just as these chocolate boxes illustrate. Now that should inspire consumer confidence.
And talking about quality products...it's time to get back to that box of chocolates. Well this is The Rubbish Diet after all...but at least you know I'll be responsible with the empty box.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Now if you'd spent a whole month trying to avoid buying nothing new, what would be the first thing to encourage you to part with your cash? Bet it wouldn't be a tub of dishwasher powder! Something with a touch of luxury would probably win the day and who could blame you.
But for me it was pure unadulterated minimal packaging that broke the financial fast, a tub of Bio-D dishwasher powder, a gleeful alternative to packaged tablets that are not just fiddly to open, but make it difficult to be more economic with measures, especially those with the plastic wrappers that dissolve in the dishwasher.
By now you probably think that I'm either jolly sensible, satisfactorily frugal, or indeed barking mad. A combination of all three might be appropriate. A Buy Nothing New month, in November, just before Christmas...perhaps bonkers might spring to mind.
But with the exception of some new pyjamas - bought to cobble together an elf costume for the Defender of the Bin's Christmas play - we did it! And oh boy did we save a decent amount of cash in the process. Mr A avoided the departments stores down in London and rejected the temptation of a brand new extension set for his Warhammer hobby. That alone saved us a whopping £100. I denied myself a couple of books and avoided all my usual retail haunts. Altogether, I reckon we saved ourselves about £200 from our usual whimsical spending.
So what about Monday...the first day of December and the end of our month's challenge?
Did I rush to the shops? No
Was I itching to treat myself? No
Was my credit card burning a whole in my pocket? No
So I got away with it for another day then....a whole new me?
Well, I would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky kids, er I mean the most wonderful people over at Natural Collection with their fabulous range of goodies.
You see, all I did was innocently log on during Monday evening to buy a a tub of Dishwasher Powder. Yep, the one shown above, which is refillable and a super duper Zero-Waste winner.
But with my Christmas browsing head on I happened upon this....
a solar powered lamp that would be perfect for the kids' playden, which means they can hang out there after school even in the Winter.
a solar powered multi-gadget recharger, ideal for charging up Mr A's phone and other gadgets. Never will his Blackberry be out of juice again.
And just as I was closing down, I saw the most delicious present for the kids...
Mr Robot Head, a wind-up toy which looks like it could prove an interesting challenge for the whole of the family and no doubt will create a big buzz this Christmas.
Look at him....how could I say no!
The best bit for me is that I covered most of my Christmas shopping in just one evening and even remembered the wrapping paper, recycled of course. And with all that's on offer, I may be revisiting Natural Collection very soon to finish the task in hand.
So there you have it. The end of the challenge and the credit card put to work again.
I just hope Gordon Brown will be pleased with my efforts as I'm always a good barometer for the economy you know.
So it's now feet up and rest until I welcome my delivery!
This is my kind of Christmas shopping.
Monday, 1 December 2008
THE RUBBISH DIET - EIGHT SIMPLE STEPS TO SLIM YOUR BIN
If you're keen to reduce your household waste but don't know where to start, why not consider the quick start guide below and follow your very own Rubbish Diet plan. Just remember to regularly weigh-in and watch that bin get slimmer by the week.
STEP 1: Set the date! Find an appropriate date when you will take part in your very own Zero Waste Week. During that week your challenge will be to avoid buying or throwing away anything that can't be composted or recycled. A week with zero waste to landfill! Just make sure you've got about 8 weeks to prepare for your challenge. The longer you've got, the easier it will be. And tell your friends, so you can gather support. You could use your efforts to fundraise for a good cause, such as Comic Relief in March. It'll be a lot easier than running a marathon and more pleasant than sitting in a bath of baked beans and you're guaranteed a few laughs while you're at it.
STEP 2: Weigh in! Eight weeks before your Zero Waste Week starts, measure your weekly\fortnightly landfill waste so you get a real understanding of what you're up against and how badly you need to slim that bin! Estimate the cubic litres (based on the size of your bin) or put your rubbish on the weighing scales. Just be consistent as you'll need to weigh-in every Bin Day to measure your progress and keep motivated towards your goal.
STEP 3: Analyse your rubbish! Look at what you throw away and work out the greatest offenders as a percentage of your waste. Then tackle them one by one.
STEP 4: Do your research! Even if you're confident about what can be recycled in your area, phone your council for the latest information on kerbside facilities, recycling centres or bring-banks. If you prefer using the Internet look up the details at www.recyclenow.com.
STEP 5: Revamp your recycling system! You'll need a system that is convenient and easy to use. An excellent range of sorting bins is available at www.homerecycling.co.uk, but if money is tight, you can create a well-organised solution with just boxes and bags.
STEP 6: Remember to recycle everything you can! Get to know your recycling labels and scour the shelves for products where the packaging can be easily recycled in your area. Swap products that can't be recycled for those that can or find packaging that can easily biodegrade in your compost bin. Remember that polythene bags can be reused and when they wear out, most supermarkets will take them off your hands. TetraPak now has a carton recycling point in many areas of the UK as do Brita for the collection of its water cartridges. Drop things off on the way to work, share a rota with friends and neighbours, or swap items with family. Reuse what can't be recycled.
STEP 7. Reduce everything else! Try some of the following ideas that can be incorporated into your daily lifestyle and watch your rubbish gradually disappear. Take each idea one step at a time and you'll have a slimmer bin in no time at all.
- Break free from Junk Mail! Cancel your catalogues, telephone directories and junk mail. For top tips, visit www.stopjunkmail.org.uk.
- Shop with waste in mind! Avoid packaging and buy loose where possible. Onya Weigh Bags are great for bagging up loose fruit and veg. Take your own containers for meat and dairy products and if you're in London, make a trip to Unpackaged, which sells packaging-free produce. Lush sells unpackaged toiletries including shampoo bars, butter bars and deodorants. When going shopping remember your own bags, baskets or trolley bag and don't forget to buy recycled products to help drive the demand for recyclates back into a closed loop economy. With resources piling up in warehouses this is more important than ever before.
- Think reusable and refillable! When it comes to toiletries or cleaning products, look for things that can be refilled or reused. Microfibre cloths use water and don't need chemicals at all. Eco balls are great for cutting down the laundry bills and for cleaning products try the Wiggly Wigglers refillable Ecover service, which it offers by post. Think about ditching disposable sanitary products for washable ones and if you're looking for refillable cosmetics, try Naturisimo, which offers a great range of lipstick, mascara and powder refills. For the office, consider refilling your printer cartridges. Regular visits to Cartridge World could make you a huge saving.
- Become an experimental cook! Turn your kitchen into a science lab and set yourself some mini-challenges. Try your hands at bread, pasta, pastry, jam or even yogurt. With a little practice. they're all easier than you'd expect and just take time and a new routine and it will help ditch more packaging, even if it's once in a while. Take lessons at your local college and you'll soon be proficient. Londoners can also drop into Just Fresh Pasta for tips on how to pick up a few Italian skills and if you live in Somerset book up with the Magdalen Project to take part in one of Tracey Smith's breadmaking courses (I've heard she's very good).
- Grow your own food! Even if it's a pot of herbs on your windowsill, that's fewer plastic packets heading for landfill! For instant garden packs try Natural Collection, Rocket Gardens or The Kitchen Garden Company and for an alternative to the plastic pot plant check out Hairy Pot Plants.
- Reduce your food waste! Food waste left to rot in landfill generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23% more powerful than carbon dioxide. So work on cutting down your food waste. If convenient, shop more regularly and buy less food. Cook with friends and use up leftovers. Then freeze portions for another day. See www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for lots of inspiration.
- Compost it! Even if you've just got a few containers, home composting is a great way of recycling your kitchen scraps into something nutritious for your plants. If you haven't got much space think about a wormery. And there's always a bokashi bin, which accepts fish and meat, then after a few weeks the contents can be added to your compost bin, wormery or dug into the ground. Another solution is the Green Cone, a food digester.
- Plan it! Remember a zero waste lifestyle also applies when you're out and about. So buy coffee in reusable cups and take a lunch-box to work. Plan a zero waste picnic without clingfilm or foil and use reusable containers instead.
- Repair it! Don't just throw something away if it's broken. Take your shoes to the cobblers, your clothes to a tailor or get an electrician to fix your gadgets. And if it's spares you need for your electricals, visit the online shop at espares.
- Exchange it! Even if it's broken don't just dump it, give it away through exchange communities such as Freecycle or LETS bartering groups. Or if you need a few bucks, sell it at a boot fair or on eBay. Just be honest about its condition. Of course, there are always a whole host of charity shops that could do with your well cared-for goods in good condition.
- Go Virtual! Avoid physical clutter by going digital. Read your newspaper online or download your favourite magazines at Magazinesondemand and Zinio.com. Listen to books at Audible.com or buy ebooks instead. Ditch CDs for digital downloads on itunes, emusic or napster. Or if you can cope with adverts try Accuradio for free. Find films on Sky or Freeview or download movies on demand from BT or Tesco's new digital service. For those who enjoy PC games, dump the CD for downloads at Steam. And if you really don't fancy the virtual option, there's always your local library.
- Go Rechargeable! Swap your disposable batteries for rechargeable ones and buy rechargable gadgets instead. For inspiration visit the Centre for Alternative Technology and check out their online shop as well as Natural Collection and Nigel's Eco Store.
- Give Recycled Gifts! Buying recycled gifts may not directly reduce the size of your dustbin, but it helps keep materials out of landfill. And there are so many different products available there is something for everyone's taste. For hand-crafted gifts try Eco Emporia and for a wonderful stationary range and some really funky chickens take a peek at Love Eco. EcoCentric also offers many a stylish gift for your delectation. And if you still can't find what you're looking for, lots more ideas can be found at the Recycled Products Guide.
By resolving to reduce your rubbish, you'll be joining a popular trend. For inspiration visit My zero waste, Aiming-low, Zero Waist, jrzerowastechallenge and Home Zero Waste. There are also loads of other links in the sidebar that will give you plenty of options to consider.
And as for life thereafter. Well, there's one thing that can be guaranteed...it will never be the same again....for you or indeed your bin.
[*Edits - this post was originally published in December 2008 and has been edited to remove the Christmas context as it can be applied to any time of the year]