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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

How it went


Nicola & Pete plus daughters Lola, now 9 (nervously testing the homemade oatcake) and Nell, now 7, spent last year exploring Britain in a carbon-light manner. Our spring 2008 challenge is to give up waste from 24 March to 24 April (pic to the left shows what we were left with that had to be binned). Most posts are by Nicola (as it was her silly idea). This is the final entry on how it’s going:

Successes
1 The #2.75 coffee seals have got our coffee volcano pot back into action – and my friend Debbie’s.
2 Unexpectedly over the past month we’ve probably halved our food bills (I wasn’t running a strict tally), simply by avoiding packaging. We’ve also eaten better quality food and I don’t think even one tin of baked beans has been used.
3 Finding enthusiastic homes for things we don't want, or just can't fit into our house. We lugged things to the charity shop (which doesn't guarantee a new home), but prefered to use Freecycle and we also put 15 pieces of furniture into an auction.
4 Finding new uses for things (ie, reusing) is very creative. We all loved the buzz that feeling of invention gives you. Lola started sewing clothes from material scraps for her Sylvanian dolls and Nell was regularly in the cupboard looking for sellotape to transform something or other.
5 Every now and again we broke our own rules & it’s surprising how liberating those moments of rebellion can be!

Failures
1 We love eating cheese and biscuits – but our homemade oat cakes (see pic), although delicious at first, went soft in less than 24 hours. I think crackers might sneak back on our shopping list.
2 A huge cardboard box was ruined by a child weeing in it (!), therefore unfit for storing stuff and I reckon a reason for recycling.
3 Friends came to dinner and I didn’t brief them enough – so the left over risotto scrapings were tipped into our (out of action) rubbish bin rather than saved for the hens. I can’t believe I still know people who don’t automatically look for a compost bin…
4 At the end of the month we had a mini bag for the dustman. It was very light (I plan to weigh and itemise it, but not right now).

Abject failures
1 Those newspapers – at least one is bought each day, often two. We’d started off saying we would be waste free and avoid buying newspapers, but no one was prepared to go to the library (or even online) to read them. This shows our age I reckon. People under 30 would rarely waste their money on buying a paper when there's so many free ones around...

Verdict: this was a month long experiment that has helped break some of our throwaway habits. I hope we’re going to stick to the principle of avoiding packaging (but not in such a neurotic way). All the family learnt how very easy it is to avoid the plastic bag giveaway in shops and how hard it is to avoid plastic around processed foods. And to think that this was a birthday present to me - thank you family!
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We'd love your comments about our month giving up waste. If you want to read all the entries click on the menu bar on the right that says A-Z No Waste.
Have you tried a family challenge? How do you cope with the mountain of stuff that comes into your home? What are your best ideas for ditching plastic wrapping? Let us know...

1 comment:

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

Hi Guys...I'd love to feature your "waste challenge" on my blog (and do a plug for your book at the same time)...if you're interested could you drop me an email at karen@therubbishdiet.co.uk. Many thanks, Karen