Friday, 20 November 2009

Going green...

The non-recycleability of some of the packaging materials I use has been nagging at me for a while now. I've now decided there's not a lot of point my carefully composting, giving scraps to the hens and filling the council recycling bin when I'm contributing to the waste because of my use of padded envelopes and non recycleable bubblewrap.

So, paperbacks will now be posted in little paper padded Jiffy envelopes. You can use them again yourself, and they should rot down nicely on the compost heap too. Hardbacks will be sent in cardboard book boxes (when they arrive - they're still somewhere between the factory and here, after they attempted to deliver at the one time I went out yesterday). Anything that needs bubblewrap will now have a new green - quite literally, as it is green in colour - bubblewrap that will break down rather than rot in landfill for ever. I'm still using the corrugated card and brown paper I always have used, and I moved a while ago to using biodegradable sellotape.


I still need to find a biodegradable parcel tape, and am using little plastic bags to wrap the books in before they go into the Jiffy envelope or box. I'm not sure whether this is worthwhile or not. I worry about the possibility of books getting wet, as I know some books are left out on the doorstep or in the bin. What do you think? Should I use plastic bags or not?

As a last thought, I never thought a picture of an envelope might be considered a good illustration for a post...

7 comments:

callmemadam said...

When posting a book, I always put it in a plastic bag before it goes into the other packaging. But the bags are recycled as they come from junk mail. Better than someone getting a damaged book, surely.

Val said...

my 2d worth
I once received a fat and expensive parcel of books that was dripping ...with fish juice (people mail frozen salmon in insulated boxes here and obviously a disaster had occurred)
it was truly disgusting..how they read the address I don't know and I wondered at the sanity of delivering it..but after considering dropping it straight in the bin I tentatively opened the sodden smelly package and the seller had ziplocked the books in plastic bags and they were unscathed..totally fine
So I'd support a bag and ask them to recycle if possibe!

pullein-thompson-archive said...

Instead of using little bags to put the bags, perhaps instead you could use (if you have them) single use carrier bags? All of them are biodegradable. Which is better for the environment and secondly, it saves chucking them in the ordinary bin.

I regularly buy from an ebay seller who wraps her books in clingfilm and then covers the clingfilm with newspaper. The newspaper can be recycled, which leaves the clingfilm to be thrown away.

Oh and for some people (myself as I dont have a garden and therefore cannot compost. Also it depends on people's local recycling rules) cannot recycle Jiffy envelopes. I have for years reused them (in fact me and another person used the same one 10 times before it was too knackered to be reused further). But some that cannot be reused have to be put in the standard wheelie bin.

Again, corrugated cardboard cannot be recycled by everyone: mine will only accept it if it is put in a green wheelie bin. Green wheelie bins are only available to people with gardens. I don't have a garden so therefore I cannot recycle it. If you put it in your ordinary recycling box/sack they don't remove it but instead post you a letter saying to put in your ordinary bin!

Jane Badger said...

Good point all - and Val I think after reading about the book dripping with fish juice I shall stock up on specially robust plastic bags....

Thanks pta for the point about local composting rules. We are quite lucky here as our council will recycle cardboard. I wonder if there's an argument for having a central collection point for things that will compost, like cardboard? This could then be added to the garden waste that's collected, and would mean less in bins.

pullein-thompson-archive said...

Jane, we do recycle some cardboard, but where you put it, depends on the type.

If for example it is the thin type (cereal box, the box the DVD player comes in etc) then you can put it in your blue sack, and then once a week the bin men will come and collect it.

If however, you have corrugated cardboard, again they wont accept it (unless you have a green wheelie bin, which as I said, is only available to people with gardens), but tell you to put it in your standard wheelie bin. Like I said in the previous post, if you put it in the blue bag then they leave it there and shove a letter saying to put your stuff in the standard bin.

Their argument is to take corrugated cardboard either to the skip (or as they like to call them "household recycling centres") which the nearest is 8 miles away. Which is fine for people who have cars, but if like me, you dont drive, is near impossible to get to. The only alternative is to take it to one of the three supermarkets in town, but two out of the three are a mile from the bus station and the other is 3 miles. Which is fine if you have the time to take it there and are able to do so (the elderly certainly would have trouble). So it's a lot less hassle just to shove it in your standard wheelie bin along with the letters they send.

We're supposed to do food recycling (you get given a small kitchen caddy which you are supposed to fill up then chuck in the green wheelie bin), but again, they wont take food unless they have it in the green bin (again no garden = no green bin). Besides, to fill a kitchen caddy would for me, take me years, because the only food I waste is cat food and they wont take pet food. Even if I did manage to fill the caddy with waste food, then putting in on the roadside would mean that they would ignore it and again give you a standard letter saying that to put it in the green bin! It's only a recent innovation (less than 3 months old). Clearly the recycling policies have not been thought out for people in flats or people who cannot drive.

BTW, I am not against recycling, I recycle cans, bottles, papers etc. Basically everything that is able to be taken roadside!

Frances said...

Hello! Love the new packaging idea - and the envelope does very well at illustrating the post! I was wondering if this company (or one like it) could help you provide plastic bags that are biodegradable: http://www.polybags.co.uk/shop/biodegradable-clear-bags_c924.htm - that way you'd be meeting your recycling goals and keeping your deliveries dry.

Jane Badger said...

Frances - thank you! That's a great help. I think these things are out there, it's just a question of tracking them down, so thanks for doing the legwork for me!

PTA - I agree that councils don't necessarily make it easy for you to recycle. Our council, which is pretty good on most recycling issues, refuses to pick up glass. We do have recycling bins in the village, as well as some for clothing. I wonder if it would be worth anyone's while to set up a private collection service for compostable stuff? The results might find a market with all the interest in grow your own.