The Clean Bin Project

Last week, my brother had a visit from an old childhood friend, Grant Baldwin, who - with his partner, Jen Rustemeyer - undertook the challenge of living waste free for a year in Canada and made a movie about it. It's called The Clean Bin Project. You can learn more about the movie here and read more about the whole undertaking on their blog, here. A while ago - on a short break in an eco cabin - our family read a book from which we learned a lot about the island of plastic polluting our oceans. We were really challenged and began to think about steps we might take to reduce our waste. The one thing we decided we should do was to SAY NO to plastic bags. I know that people are getting better at doing this, that more of us are taking reusable bags into the supermarket, for example. In Wales last week, I noticed that they charge a small amount for each carrier bag a customer uses in Tesco. I expect like other people, we have managed to significantly reduce the rubbish going into our black bin for landfill, and we sort out our waste for recycling - including food scraps for composting - for kerbside collection by our local council. However, our good intentions did not really result in enough action. The boys were planning to campaign locally to ban the plastic bag, but they didn't pursue the idea, perhaps didn't own it enough to follow up on the idea. But seeds were definitely planted in our minds, and we were eager to watch Grant and Jen's documentary, a copy of which they kindly left for our family to view. I found it inspiring, challenging and motivating. Don't you often wonder why we all have so much stuff, and seem to be constantly acquiring more? Don't you wonder why everything has to be wrapped in plastic, why the simplest products have so much packaging and create so much waste? Have you ever really thought about what happens to our plastic rubbish? The film is really worth watching. It is so easy to think we can't really do much about these things, that we don't have much power as individuals to change anything. But Grant and Jen show that 1) it is possible to do things differently, to change our habits - perhaps just one small step at a time, and 2) that consumers do have power to make a difference, because if we all start to ask - and to demand - change, then the retailers and the powers-that-be will have to respond. "I don't need a bag" ... Five little words I intend to say more. That's my small first step - and I hope others will follow.