Tuesday, 22 November 2011

5 Top tips Re:Junk mail

How can we Reduce, Reuse and Recycle the pesky leaflets we never asked for?

Well it looks as though central government is going to try to pull together a one stop shop to allow householders to unsubscribe from junk mail once and for all in the UK.
Most of it is a waste of paper, especially if we already have the takeaway leaflet ten times over, don’t shop in the particular supermarket which has millions of deals on every week, and certainly don’t have a need for the product being advertised.
Currently the system involves contacting at least two companies – the Royal Mail, and the Mail Preference Service.

But how well will this work? I can’t honestly imagine that the local takeaways will take much notice of whether a house has signed a register or not, unless it confronts them on the doorstep!

What methods have we tried and tested already to Reduce and Reuse junk mail?

1. Put up a sign. Yes it may look like Mr Scrooge has had a hand in decorating your letterbox, but a small polite sign really can work wonders. We tried it on our letter box, simply saying, ‘No junk mail including charity textiles bags, please.’ The impact was fantastic! Until weathering gradually wore it away. So, on my To do list is: replace the sign. Some people choose durable stickers, but I liked being able to personalise my notice, as charity bags was a real issue for us, receiving up to 5 a week!

2. Catch them at it. A short conversation could flag up your property as a ‘No, thanks’ address, with that particular distributor, but probably you won’t be in, or the message won’t be passed on to the bosses.

3. Send it back. Costly in postage, but it does make a statement. Let us know if you get a response? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste probably has some great templates for returning mail, as well as sending back unnecessary packaging!

4. Chopping it up and making use of it. This was especially fun cutting out pictures of our favourite foods for a school project! Shredded coloured paper would make decorative, recyclable fillings for hampers or present boxes.

5. Crafting it. Magazines and direct mail are often printed on brightly coloured or patterned papers, so why not turn them into some beautiful paper flowers – they’ll never wilt or die,
The paper flowers are made in a similar way to making paper snowflakes, each a unique design. Then roll a sheet around a pencil, use a dab of glue or smidgen of sellotape to seal the end, and slide the pencil out, making your own stalk to attach. Paper aeroplanes and origami are also a popular activity, and cost-free!

And of course if you can’t reduce or reuse it, please recycle it. Maybe our blue boxes will be lighter once the new measure comes into play – keep your ears to the ground!

Let us know about your junk mail successes and messes below.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Top 5 foody waste (and money) saver websites

Our top 5 foody waste saver websites

1. Ok, if you’ve been a regular on this blog you’ll have heard us bang on about how great Love Food Hate Waste’s website is – but that’s just it, it IS! I especially recommend the party planner, where you can specify how many people are visiting and how long for, to plan the amount of party nibbles to provide. But please let us upload more recipes soon… http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

2. However as another tasty treat for the regulars why not have a look at Scotland’s version http://www.wasteawarelovefood.org.uk/. I especially like the recipe section, which has a recipe finder for you to type in your ingredients to use up. www.wasteawarelovefood.org.uk/recipeTools

3. One of the best parts of the Love Food Hate Waste webpages is the meal planner, but I think that the NHS have actually cracked it on their 5 a day planner.

Not only can you drag and drop all your favourite recipes, but you can do it for a whole week, print off the plan, as well as the recipes, and plus count up lots of healthy eating points too! If we're planning our meals for the week ahead we're much less likely to have lurking items forgotten about in the fridge.

4. Can I keep yoghurt in the freezer? How long for? How do I blanche? All the answers to these questions and so much more, can be found at http://www.stilltasty.com/ They brand themselves as Your Ultimate ShelfLife Guide, and I tend to agree.
It’s an essential guide to safe storage of every food type you’ve ever thought of.

5. Premeditated Leftovers is a blog from an American homemaker mum, filled with recipes and brilliant tips for being frugal with your food. You can sign up for regular updates or just pop in for a visit at www.premeditatedleftovers.com/

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Going green in the garden

The demonstration compost bin we take to schools and community groups

It may not be spring but we're turning our attention in this post to going all green in the garden. Garden waste is becoming an issue that’s getting people all hot under the collar at the moment in North East Lincolnshire. But it could be getting all hot in a compost heap instead!
The council isn’t obliged by law to make a doorstep collection of garden waste, and when the first bins were put out for this use it was paid for using funding from Defra. Unfortunately we’re living in hard financial times and NELincs council may well have to introduce a charge for this service in 2012. Many councils already make a charge to collect the garden waste instead of expecting people to take it to a council tip, but the prices charged range widely.
Of course any moving of green waste from the house means extra pollution whether it’s a public or a private vehicle taking it away.
The nutrients in green waste can be used as a perfect soil conditioner for your own garden, and allsorts can be included such as grass cuttings, plants, even egg boxes and tea bags! For more information to know what to compost or not go to www.nelincs.gov.uk/environment/recycling--rubbish-and-waste/recycling/home-composting/ or for a reduced price compost bin visit

We’d love to hear from you if you’re a keen composter, live in North East Lincolnshire and would like to offer your advice to anyone who’s struggling to compost or is just starting out.
Please phone 01472 325843 and ask about becoming a Compost Champion!