Friday, 24 February 2012

Let's get composting!

Well it wouldn't fit through the letterbox but FINALLY it has arrived! My new compost bin!
£10 purchase from (cheaper from here, because the Council pay part of the cost before you! AND you get a little caddy for the kitchen)
Actually if you look carefully there are two here, as I took advantage of the buy one get one half price offer. There are therefore also two composting kitchen caddies, for peelings, flower heads etc.

If you live in North East Lincolnshire you can also get a copy of a little book on composting for free (RRP £4.95) and a Frequently Asked Questions sheet, to help you on your way!
 Getting greener
  This is brilliant, because the theme for this week's Rubbish Diet Challenge has been all about gardening.

I've been challenged to plant a few salad crops instead of buying large lettuces that I inevitably don't finish, and come in polythene wrappers - if I had my own in the garden I could just go and get the leaves I need for that meal!

I must admit I am not green fingered in the slightest, but with Spring in the air, I am keen to make the most of our garden. Most of it is taken up with a trampoline, admittedly, but the idea of the satisfaction of growing my own basics; carrots, onions etc. is very tempting!

Back to bad habits

This week has been a slump for the rubbish diet with a whole black bin bag going out for the collectors
 :( Serves me right for being smug last week!
Lots of recycling went too, nicely separated, but somehow everything I used this week seemed to have packaging that had to go in the regular bin. Future Hubby remembered to put the recycling boxes out, so big pat on the back for him!

Must make more effort with shopping in the next three weeks.

It's worth seeing how others have been getting on with their Rubbish Diet too : is one of my favourites!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Chocolate experiments !

Tiffin - food waste super saver

I am a self confessed Chocaholic. I had some friends round on Friday afternoon and when testing the biscuits in preparation (essential) for their arrival, found they were soft :(
I think the seal has gone on my biscuit barrel. I wasn't going to chuck them though, not just yet, but I did need a tasty treat to go with our cups of tea.

Never fear! I had a lovely recipe for Chocolate fridge cake, that I've been recommending left, right and centre, from

But I couldn't find the recipe card at home, or online, despite hunting high and low! So, instead I got all experimental (and checked out a recipe from Jamie Oliver online instead!).

I've also included my next three Top Kitchen waste saver tools in this post: weighing scales, spatula and reusable baking sheet.

So here's my experimental tiffin recipe, with some tribute to that nice Jamie Oliver:

1 tablespoon Golden syrup
200g Plain Chocolate
150g butter or margarine

200g digestive biscuits (I didn't have enough around the house, but did find some neglected cranberry biscuits left from Christmas to make up the total)
1 handful of sultanas
1 handful raisins
3 crushed meringue nests (I'd made some earlier in the week, and they were already half squished! Jamie's suggestion)

If you don't have some of the fillings other substitutions to bulk it out could be : nuts (any kind), pieces of fudge, chocolate chips, dried fruits, dried peel, cherries... let your imagination run!

Scales are my number 4 top tool in the kitchen

1. Line a shallow tin (approx 25cmx15cm) with a reusable baking sheet (if you have one) or greaseproof paper.

2.Weigh out the ingredients.

3. Lightly crush the meringue nests and biscuits, mix in other dry ingredients.

4. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup gently. You could zap it in the microwave, but I chose to make a bain marie, a pan of boiling water on the stove with a bowl resting on the top (not plastic though!)

 5. Add the dry ingredient mix to the chocolate mixture and stir well. Remove from heat.

Plastic spatula is my number 5 top tool in the kitchen.
It makes a big difference to cleaning out bowls 
and getting the maximum of mixture into the tin

6. Empty mixture into the tin and smooth into the corners using the back of a metal spoon. It's best if the mixture is 1 -2 cms deep.

7. Place in a fridge to set for 1-2 hours. Cut into small squares to serve.

Reusable / washable baking sheet is my number 6 top tool in the kitchen.
A bit fiddly to wash a dry, but lasts a long while and saves on waste.
 Let me know how your experiments turn out and what you add in!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Week 4 Rubbish Diet Challenge

Smug. What a horrible word.
But it describes me rather well at the moment, when peering into the bin.

Have a look yourself:

Contents of our general waste bin Week 4 of the Rubbish Diet Challenge
I'm taking part in the Rubbish Diet for 8 weeks, and halfway through, we're down to a lot of recycling, but only half a black plastic bag in the general waste bin!
Our cardboard collection is monthly over the winter, and was crammed full!

I'm particularly glad it's not a lot this week, because I know that it is going to landfill. Normally in North East Lincolnshire we can be somewhat soothed by the fact that general waste doesn't get buried underground but incinerated and converted to energy and steam. Not ideal, and highly controversial, but also not preserved for generations to come. However every year the plant has a shut down to clean, perform maintenance and safety checks. And that time is now. Mostly the contents include : plastic trays (not marked at all for what type of plastic is being used), plastic bottle tops (not recyclable), tissues, and some melon that was forgotten about and not at all tasty, but I did try to eat some! I feel an angry letter coming on to my supermarket about plastics.

So, if you're a resident in our area, why not take up a Rubbish Diet Challenge yourselves? Now's as good a time as any.
And if you know your waste goes to landfill, think on what a legacy we're leaving.

This week's topic to tackle is household chores.. hmmm.... further into the bin we go!
Ah well, I promised to be honest!

Let's Waste Less.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Trashion from Grimsby Institute

I was delighted to be invited along to the local College Grimsby Institute's Trashion show on Friday.

 Some extremely hard work has resulted in some of these amazing pieces.

I think for this blog post, really, we'll let the pictures do the talking! What materials can you spot??

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A tour of my kitchen!

Welcome to my kitchen!

I thought that as this week's subject for the Rubbish Diet Challenge was Food waste (and I'm meant to be a bit of an expert on the matter, giving out advice on Love Food Hate Waste etc. ) I would share with you some of my favourite tools in the kitchen which I believe help to reduce what food goes to waste.

So #1 comes in as: Food Bag Clips!

So many packets may claim to have resealing properties, but I inevitably don't open them properly, or have very little faith in the lasting stickiness of what is essentially a line of sellotape the company has so thoughtfully (hem hem) provided.
They come in lots of shapes and sizes. Some people use clothes pegs, some use bulldog clips, anything will do, as long as you squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag first, and make sure there's not another hole at the other end or something!
Especially useful for breadbags, because, let's face it, the twiddly little best before label does Nothing to reseal.

Food bag clips - all over my kitchen! I find them especially useful on big packets - eg. big bags of crisps and bread

Waste Reduction Tool #2 : Tupperware

Well, if we're going to buy stuff in packaging, we might as well make it reusable!
This week I challenged myself to avoid using clingfilm. So instead of wrapping my sausages to put in the freezer, I put them in an assortment of tupperwares instead.
One of my favourite kinds of tupperware has different sections for lunches etc. - yes, getting a little geeky but it is very useful!

Tupperware - lots of free items available in the form of packaging. I use it for everything!
 Waste Reduction Tool  #3 Mugs with lids!

Being an avid coffee drinker (mainly at work) I was delighted to get a mug with a lid this Christmas.

When we worked with Food Waste Families last year, several of them found that they would make tea or coffee in the morning out of habit, but never get round to drinking it all. They were shocked by how much they were throwing away down the sink and the simple addition of a thermos mug meant that one cuppa could travel with them in the car, to work, and still be a nice temperature to drink for elevensies!

Often we don't think of things like flat fizzy drinks or dregs of cold coffee being 'real' waste, but it all adds up!

My fave Christmas present was a KeepCup, which keeps my coffee hot for longer with a lid. Genius.
So, come on then, what are your favourite tools in the kitchen to avoid food waste??

Don't forget to check out how other families are doing this week with their Rubbish Diet Challenge.

Final weigh in for the week : 1 bag of plastic bottles for recycling, half a black bag of kitchen packaging, one carrier bag full of plastic films for recycling.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Those tricky tissues

What is the Rubbish Diet Challenge? 
We're always trying to encourage our lovely locals to cut down on their waste, but how easy can it really be? Challenge accepted!!
Alongside 8 other bloggers we'll be following the top tips and advice of household waste guru Karen Cannard of The Rubbish Diet, as she encourages us on how to out our bin on a diet too! You too can see her tips and advice, as well as see how she got on when the spotlight was on her bins at
We'll be blogging away here, as well as tweeting on @RubbishGeek and Faceybooking at Letswasteless Nelc

We're up to Week 3

The theme for this week is FOOD! One of my favourites.

Check out previous posts for some top foody saver tips :

I don't think I'm really too bad with food waste, however it's tissue central here at Rubbish Geek HQ :( 

I've got a cold, which seems to have lasted forever (actually it's only a week!) and crumpled up tissues are filling up every bin in the house. I don't think the count up will be a good one on the waste front this week. In fact it feels like I've got worse! Not only did the tissues stack up, but when I went to buy them the best deal financially was a BOGOF, that came wrapped in an extra layer of plastic film grrrr.

I'm still discovering what extra bits can be recycled, and Future Hubby (FH) has decided to pitch in with his suggestions for sorting our recycling system. We've now got one bin in the kitchen for recyclables, kept in the pantry, which he assures me will get sorted into the appropriate containers as soon as it gets filled, by either of us...hmmmm... will believe it when I see it FH!

Will keep you posted on progress this week. In the meantime why not check out how some of the other RubbishDiet bloggers are getting on? You can find them all at

Pack it in!

What is the Rubbish Diet Challenge? 
We're always trying to encourage our lovely locals to cut down on their waste, but how easy can it really be? Challenge accepted!!
Alongside 8 other bloggers we'll be following the top tips and advice of household waste guru Karen Cannard of The Rubbish Diet, as she encourages us on how to out our bin on a diet too! You too can see her tips and advice, as well as see how she got on when the spotlight was on her bins at
We'll be blogging away here, as well as tweeting on @RubbishGeek and Faceybooking at Letswasteless Nelc

Week 2

Shopping in a waste aware way

This week’s focus for The Rubbish Diet Challenge is on Shopping!

I was feeling rather smug as I decided not to put out my general waste bin this week. All it had in it was a few pieces of polystyrene from a new TV. I wonder if there’s a way of buying electrical goods unpackaged?

Unfortunately because I wasn’t putting out my general waste bin, I forgot to put out my very full recycling boxes, so it’s either a two week wait or a trip to our friendly local Community Recycling Centre. And it rained. So they’re heavy. L

I went to an interesting talk this week with work on over-packaged products, and what consumers can do about it. Did you know you can report companies to Trading Standards if you feel something has excess packaging?
They can open up conversation with the company on improving efficiencies, making the packaging more easily recyclable or out of recycled materials. If the company can’t justify why the packaging use has been chosen, they may have to change it. I actually started boycotting one supermarket at one time because they had vac-packed an individual pepper!

Over the weekend I’ve been cleaning out my fridge ready for the fortnightly(ish) shop that’s well needed and using up leftovers. A lot of the products I’ve been buying come in the annoying plastic film, like my bag of beansprouts and pack of crumpets. This film can now be recycled at stores that have plastic bag recycling, so I’ll have to start separating it out as it would eliminate the majority of my waste. I don’t know if this includes clingfilm though. I prefer using old margarine tubs for leftovers. Clingfilm feels like an indulgence now!

However, it’s not just about recycling it, how can I avoid it? I already have reusable bags for my loose fruit and veg, but some things aren’t really sold loose locally to me (that I’m aware of).
It’s a case of weighing up between how much do I want a product if I can’t avoid extra packaging to go with it?!

I am very keen on my stylish reusable bags, but was pleased to spot spare cardboard boxes available at the end of the tills in the supermarket the other day.

Summary of waste for the week: 1 black bag of kitchen waste

Action for the week: Find a separate point to collect plastic films. Stop using clingfilm!