A Very Serious Diet

Well, this is the time for New Year Resolutions and all that, plus the twenty pounds or so I need to lose to be a healthy weight, I’ve decided to go on a diet. Well sort of. Actually we’re all on a diet.

The Rubbish Diet.

As with all good diets it starts with a weigh in. Now take a deep breath, these are some graphic shots. You might want a clothes peg for the ol’ neb. This is going to be a stinky one.

Bean was safely ensconced in the car, happily pushing buttons and practicing her reversing. Okay, maybe not quite that. I was dressed in some ratty clothes and a pair of garden clothes. I know, it sounds odd for a weigh in, but bear with me. Are you ready?

Here is the scene:

The one on the left (the right is the recycle bin and for reference the fence is six foot tall) is the rubbish/ trash can.

The Rubbish Diet is the brain child of Karen or  Almost Mrs. Average, a really cool lady in Suffolk, England. She made a commitment nearly two years ago to reduce her family’s waste to nearly nothing and she managed it. I don’t have such lofty goals, but it does seem like a good idea. So what the hell. Thought we’d at least do the weigh in.

After five days, this is what we have. Basically, one bag out of a 43 liter kitchen trash can and a small disgusting grocery bag out of the bathroom. Yeah, so not opening that bag.


Up until this point Bean had been happily playing in the car which is in the carport, a couple of meters away. Now, now she starts to get interested. What on earth is Mum doing?  Crazy lady. After pouring the garbage out on to the ground I start lifting stuff up so Bean can see and tell me what it is.

I have to say, that I’m surprised. We have a compost bin and we recycle a fair bit of stuff. It was a shock to find this:


Beer box Bean yells.

Correct identification, but what on earth is it doing in the trash can and not in recycle? Should I be worried that my child so easily identifies a beer six pack container?

It isn’t the only misplaced item either,

Yummy quiche!

Yeah, another box. What the hell?

And so it goes on…

We did pretty well on the compostable stuff, but there were recyclable plastic bottles, brown paper bags and a ridiculous amount of non recyclable plastic wrapping and spoiled food. Hmmmm. Bigger problem, a couple days later there is a second bag in the 43 liter trash can. So for one week, two bags. In our defense we’re in the middle of a major clean out. Still, we’ve got our work cut out for us. I figure if we cut it back even by half that is a move in the right direction. So, we’re going for it. Wish us luck.

Tucson's Recyclable Blue Bin Program



Filed under Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

7 responses to “A Very Serious Diet

  1. Rachel Fudge

    Have you read Garbage Land? Great reading for those interested in trash & the reduction thereof. SF is the capital of city-organized recycling & composting, and yet I’m still amazed how much landfill garbage we generate.

    • No, I haven’t. Thanks the book sounds fabulous. Checked and it isn’t on Audible.com which is my go to place for audiobooks so I may have to actually go look for it at the library.

      Way back when I was an undergrad I got to meet William Rathje of the Garbage Project, University of Arizona. It was fascinating stuff. I’d forgotten about that until I was looking for Garbage Land. He coauthored a book on the Archaeology of Garbage.

  2. This sounds like a good idea. We recycle pretty much every bit of plastic, paper, and metal that we can. I am sure there is very little extra recycling we could be doing. Compost on the other hand is our big downfall. We don’t compost and I know we should. We live by a slough though and my husband is afraid of attracting the local rat population to our backyard. The city I live in is considering starting a city-wide compost program and I really hope they start it up. Soon!

  3. Good for you! I think loosing 20 pounds of rubbish is a noble goal. I’m a fanatic recycler. A friend of mine told me that she now has a habit of looking over her shoulder, making sure that I don’t see her, when she throws something away that she knows ought to be recycled.

  4. ERika

    This is awesome. When we first moved to ND we were disappointed at how little we can recycle compared to AZ. But I read that Minneapolis recycled additional items, so I started saving them. I anticipated semesterly visits to the Twin Cities, so why not just take our recycling. A year and a half later, after one move, our basement closet was full of “TBR” (to be recycleds) and we still hadn’t been to Mpls (no reason was good enough to waste all that petrol). But alas, a trip to Madison to visit M & J, so we loaded up the SUV with the TBR. Long story short, Mpls wouldn’t take them because we weren’t residents, so we left them in Madison with J so her sister could recycle. Now I am heartbroken as I see how much trash we put out each week. With no Mpls option, I can’t save it any longer. So I am so happy that you are on the Rubbish Diet!!! At least you are taking advantage of a good recycling system!

  5. This is utterly superb….and it’s so great to see the contents of your rubbish. I’m nosey like that:-)
    Thank you so much for persevering with this. It will be wonderful to see you reach your goal and the good news is, it doesn’t take too long to get there. Keep up the brilliant work.

  6. I love the word rubbish, so much nicer than garbage. Visit another blog, http://www.enviromom.com and you can read about their “One Can Challenge” that they ran a few years ago and get a ton of tips on how to reduce waste, recycle more and re-use. They’ve inspired so much of my greenish lifestyle. I find the garbage/recycling situation here in Tucson a bit harder than it was in Portland, but we’re still doing the best we can and from the looks of it, much better than our neighbors.

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