Thursday, 16 October 2008

12 months, 12 columns, one bag of waste!

Our waste challenge – to generate less than a black bin of waste in a year – is over. But how have we done? Well we've not starved to death, fallen out over it or gone without in any real way and as you can see in the picture, we've generate a bin bag full of waste – mostly plastics that the Reading recycling scheme doesn't take – which is far less than a black bin. So a success.

It has been hard work though, because we've had to change our habits and keep at it for a whole year, and change can be hard. Now it's your turn...only joking. Whilst it would be theoretically possible for everyone in Reading to live as we have for the last year, it's not realistic to expect this to happen, because as I said change is hard and to try and get hundreds of thousands of people to change their lifestyles as we did would be very hard.

What is easier and more realistic though would be for the government to regulate manufacturers and retailers further to minimise packaging and make it all recyclable. Additionally they could legislate against the single-use throw-away culture that has developed and promote repair and reuse. Or maybe this is just as unrealistic under the current government?

Where next? Sam said no to my suggestion to do another year. Maybe someone else could do a year or 365 people could do a day each? Or what about a campaign for a local producer or retailer to reduce the waste they generate?

Finally what should we do with our bag of waste? Insulation, inspiration through an art project involving the waste, or incineration – as Reading will be doing with one quarter of our waste next year?

Ideas to me at or 8 Mandela Court, Orts Rd, Reading, RG1 3JG.

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