Tag Archives: Recycling

International Recycling Day 17th May 2014

Zero Waste North West launch International Recycling Day 17th May 2014

Derry Trades Union  Council May Day march 3rd May 2014

ZWNW on May Day march 2014

With plans for a multi million pound gasifiying incinerator off the table, Zero Waste North West feel it is time for everyone in this region to keep our eye on the Zero Waste goal.

With this in mind we invite you to join with us to celebrate International Recycling Day in an afternoon of celebration in the Guildhall Square on Saturday 17th May from 2-5pm.

International Recycling Day is celebrated every year on 17 May.  On this day, activities to encourage recycling efforts take place worldwide.  Each year the popularity of the day has been gaining strength, so that more countries are joining in to spread high quality information about everything related to recycling different types of waste during the day.

Recycling saves our natural resources, reduces pollution and creates jobs. It is an excellent way to reverse climate change day by day. This year on 17 May it is important that we continue our efforts to recycle all useful waste.  In this way, we will be decreasing petroleum and water consumption, CO2 emissions and energy consumption.  At the same time, by doing so, we will avoid tons of rubbish being generated.

International Recycling Day is a day designed to make all human beings become aware of how important it is that they treat waste appropriately so as not to contribute to climate change and to protect the environment.

With the local elections just around the corner it is important that our politicians honour the will of the residents of our city and commit to a zero waste strategy.

Last year thousands supported our campaign and signed our petition rejecting gasification as an option for dealing with our waste generation crisis. Now is the time to move forward towards a goal where waste is designed out of the system. So come along on Saturday and celebrate with us, as a community we can embrace the goal of zero waste together to ensure a healthy planet for the future for generations to come.


Two Week Challenge Completed!

Second week of landfill rubbish.

Second week of landfill rubbish.

I have completed my two week Zero Waste challenge, this is what I am sending to landfill this week.  There are two bags of frozen vegetabes that came from a clandestine rubbish bag that appeared in a corner of the kitchen. From that bag I rescued a plastic disposable cup and the bag itself which was a bit dirty from a plant I was given as a present, so I washed it and hung it on the washing line to dry.  Apart from the vegetable bags I am satisfied that I have achieved my goal of reducing the rubbish in my home to almost nothing.  I didn’t have to put my black bin out this week!

This week I am sending the following to landfill:

  • Two frozen vegetable bags.
  • Some plastic film – I can’t remember where it came from
  • Cellotape- someone sent me a letter in a paper envelope and put cellotape in a criss-cross on the back of the envelope.
  • The plastic from a Veet wax strip- I hope to eliminate these if I get the hang of sugaring.
  • The plastic from another Huggies Bed Mat that I had forgotten about.
  • Plastic seals from bicarbonate of soda and baking soda containers, I bought these knowing that a little bit of plastic film was going to save me a lot in the long run as I would be using these for baking and toiletries.
  • A used tea-light, cotton buds and a plastic seal from a bottle which I found under my bed when I was cleaning the floor.

How My Life Has Changed So Far

zero waste

The two week challenge may be over but my house has not seen the last of Zero Waste.  It has been such a positive and empowering experience that I am going to continue in my endeavour not to send rubbish to landfill.  A whole new world has opened up to me now that I am conscious of waste and I do not want to go back to the dark days.

  • I now shop differently, I choose different products that I didn’t notice before, I read the recycling information on the packaging and I am discovering new places to shop.
  • I am baking my own cakes at home which has multiple advantages: it keeps the children entertained, the house smells great and the oven heats the kitchen.
  • I have been given a spinach plant and hope to start a vegetable patch, in the meantime I am buying seasonable vegetables from White Oaks organic farm.
  • I am composting my kitchen scraps along with grass cuttings from the garden.
  • I am learning to make my own toiletries and have switched to using the Mooncup.
Zero Waste Home - Blog

Zero Waste Home – Blog




Garbage Warrior

Michael Reynolds is a  maverick American architect. Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary.  It tells  of his fight with and ultimately triumph over bureaucracy as he seeks to create a space, in New Mexico, where he and his colleagues can develop radical approaches to sustainable housing.

He is anything but mainstream.  This is the story of an extraordinary individual and his dream to create more sustainable ways for people to live in the world.   He built houses out of things that other people discarded – old tyres, bottles, beer cans.  The houses that he built in New Mexico were off all the utility grids.   They were autonomous units generating their own power, processing their own sewage. Collecting their own water.

Running time 90 minutes.  Summary at the Internet Movie Database.

DIY Plastic Recycling

In this short video someone from the website Atomic Shrimp explains how to identify  High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and then goes on to present a hobby project in which, using domestic tools, he recycles a small quantity of HDPE into pieces that can be used in diverse craft projects.

Running time: 14 mins 50 sec.         Uploaded to YouTube: 7 Dec 2012.

It is by no means an industrial process but it is a practical exposition of some of the principles behind plastic recycling.  As such it might be the basis of some educational project work with young people – under proper supervision of course.

In his follow-up video he makes the resulting piece of plastic into a pulley wheel that works with Lego technic.

How Plastic Bottles get Recycled into Polyester

Plastic bottles can be recycled into polyester thread.  It is not a simple process. This video shows how it is done, all the way from when you throw away an unwanted plastic bottle, through the shredding washing and multistep processing until it becomes a material like raw cotton; from  there the process is more like textile manufacturing.

Running time 5 mins 30 sec       Uploaded to YouTube: 13 Dec 2009


Plant Based Plastic

Ten years ago, Helmut Nägele and Jürgen Pfitzer had an idea. Now, their persistence has paid off. Their company, Tecnaro, successfully produces Arboform — a material made from wood that can be processed like plastic, but unlike plastic, it’s biodegradable.  It won the two entrepreneurs the 2010 European Inventor Prize organised by the European patent Office.

Running time: 4mins 30 seconds.  Uploaded to YouTube : 7 Jul 2010

ARBOFORM® is liquid wood

They now make three types of biodegradable plastic materials:

Zero Waste Children

What my rubbish looks like now.

What my rubbish looks like now.

Clean Rubbish

Today is our sixth day of living as a Zero Waste Household.  I have completely changed my attitude to rubbish now and I am convinced that everyone should try being Zero Waste for a few days. I no longer have a disgusting smelly bin in the corner of my kitchen and I am never going back to that again.  It’s absurd to complicate rubbish by mixing it when it is so clean and simple to keep it separated.  I have two plastic bowls on my counter, one for paper and cardboard and the other for kitchen scraps which I empty last thing at night.  I make sure not to overcompensate when I cook so that no food gets wasted.  We’re eating a lot more healthily as most processed food comes in packaging.  There are no biscuits, crisps or chocolate here, and it’s evident in the way that my children eat up their dinner.  We are spending less and throwing away less. It just goes to show what a wasteful society we are.

Unavoidable Plastic

As the house detoxes the “omniplastic” rises to the surface.  I gave my fridge a good clean out and I had to throw away some packaging, so unfortunately my black bin won’t be 100% empty at the end of 2 weeks.  My toddler wet the bed last night and I had completely forgotten that we were using Huggies Bed Mats which are plastic and paper.  I’ve replaced these with a couple of towels, I know I could get a plastic sheet but I don’t want to consume further.

Evading a Mutiny

The other day someone turned up at the house with chocolate bars for the children and I couldn’t deny it to them once they had seen them.  I have to tread a very fine line in order to avoid a mutiny.  My son finds all aspects of recycling fascinating: separating rubbish, different coloured bins, rubbish lorries, magnets that pull out metals in recycling stations, etc.  However he’s not so fond of the idea of sacrificing his favourite treats.   I want this to be an educational experience and not an imposition, otherwise he will not be on board with it.  I don’t want a repeat of him shouting “I hate Zero Waste!” all over the supermarket the other day when I explained that we would not be buying Oreos.   I found him a more recyclable alternative and that evening we sat down and wrote a letter to the manufacturer of Oreos asking them to change the packaging.  He said “they’re not going to listen to me” and while I thought he was probably right, I told him that if enough people asked them the same thing they would have to listen.

Yesterday I cheated, I took him to the shop, bought him some chocolate and threw the wrapper in the shop’s bin.  He said “but that’s not Zero Waste, Mummy”, I never thought I would have heard him complain, but children never fail to surprise you!

Recycling Station by Tarek

Recycling Station by Tarek


Lessons from my Grandmother

It dawned on me this morning that I was going to have to learn to bake.  Apart from one attempt at a cake, I’ve never felt the need before.  Why would I when I can buy cakes in the supermarket ready made and nicely packaged?  My mother and grandmother baked, but I am from a generation of consumers and convenience.  Now I just need to find ingredients that don’t come in plastic.

Zero Waste Home - Blog

Zero Waste Home – Blog

Rethinking Ourselves Rethinking Waste

The waste generation crisis is a wake up call for our way of living as a species amongst other species on a finite planet. Globalisation may have transformed our world into a global village but its workings have also promoted an individualism that has smashed solidarity with our neighbours near and far.

So, not long after you put serious thought into re thinking waste you realise you have to re think yourself. And to do that its always a good idea to draw on others whose insight helps illuminate the way. Here are a couple of quotes that I find useful in helping us move into the new paradigm we need to help bring into existence to rescue ourselves and the planet from ourselves.

Jim Keys

Looking with new eyes

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of our consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein

Care for ourselves and we care for our world

“Many people are aware of the Earth’s suffering, and their hearts are filled with compassion. They know what needs to be done, and they engage in political, social, and environmental work to try to change things. But after a period of intense involvement, they often become discouraged because they lack the strength to sustain a life of action. Intellect alone is not enough to guide a life of compassionate action. To effectively influence the future of our world we need something more. Real strength can be found not in power, money, or weapons, but in deep, inner peace. When we have enough insight, we are not caught by many of the difficult situations we face anymore. We can get out of difficult situations very easily. When we change our daily lives- the way we think, speak, and act – we change the world. It is important for us to live in such a way that in every moment we are deeply there with our true presence, always alive and nourishing the insight of interbeing. Without peace and happiness we cannot take care of ourselves, other species, or the planet. That’s why the best way to care for the environment is to care for the environmentalist.”

Thich Nhat Hanh



Derry – Worst District Council for Recycling

Derry City Council has lowest recycling figure out of 26 Councils

Derry City Council (DCC) has the lowest rate of recycling and diversion from landfill in Northern Ireland at 26.9%.  This compares to the highest, Banbridge, at 61.1%, and a total recycling rate for Northern Ireland of 43%.

Furthermore, DCC’s recycling rate has actually fallen by 5.7 % since 2008.  During the same period, all other councils in Northern Ireland, without exception, increased their recycling rate, by an average of 10%.  These figures pose questions that DCC should answer:

  • Is all the waste that Derry householders diligently put into recycling bins, or take to recycling centres, actually being recycled by Derry City Council, or is some of it being sent to landfill ?
  • Why have the brown bins, that other councils use for organic waste recycling, been locked up for years at the Strathfoyle recycling centre?  Is DCC’s position at the bottom of the recycling table due to incompetence, or a deliberate policy to undermine recycling as the primary waste management strategy, in order to justify gasification/incineration ?