I have made it to the Finals for The Blog Awards Ireland 2013…Yippie!

blogawardsfinals

Yes, I have made it to the finals of The Blog Awards Ireland 2013. I was short listed for a few categories but made it to the final under the Best Science / Education Blog. I need to get a little greener for next year to make it into the Eco/Green category LOL., but I feel totally privileged to have made it to any category at all, even after only one year of blogging.

The Science / Education category is very strong and to be honest I haven’t a snow balls hope in hell of winning, but what it has done is made me concentrate even more on where my direction should be. I was a bit confused how I made it to this category and not the Eco/Green category, but I am sure the reasons will become clear to me. My goal is to educate the world that we can all make a difference in caring for our planet, and it can actually be a very pleasurable experience in doing so. I also want to become a really great children’s author in writing about Environmental Responsibility and getting children interested in the earth from a young age. So, I suppose, that is the educational aspect covered. I am also an earth scientist, so that is the science bit covered too!!

It is funny how things happen, but only on Monday I was walking the beach and I was thinking about another children’s book that explains about how science is pretty much everywhere. It was the waves breaking on the beach that made me think of this. Actually it is pretty hard core scientific stuff that goes into the process of what seems to be a simple wave breaking!

I always say that people are not to blame on the most part for a lack of urgency for the earths welfare, but it needs to come from the top down. It is education that will get people back into the swing of things again, and I hope to be at the fore front – educating the world about the Earth, the Environment and how to live with a positive, responsible attitude towards it. We all don’t need to become radicals, but just a little bit more conscious that the earth is also a living thing that needs a caring bunch living on her! Not some reckless teenagers (sorry teenagers you are not all reckless) – it’s time the responsible parents (sorry parents you are not all responsible) came home to stop the wild party…LOL but I hope you get what I mean 🙂

Wishing all the finalists the very best of luck 🙂

The German Stores – I am loving their helpful recycling labeling on most of their own products.

photo (33)

With My Waste Free Home – making your home as waste free as you want it to be – I have to watch what I purchase seeing as I no longer have a waste company collecting my trash. I usually shop in Tesco as it is the closest store to me and sells all my favourite brands such as Ecover & Glenesk, and their fish counter is pretty good. Well, this has all changed as when I am now shopping I look at the Recycling Labels on EVERYTHING I put in my basket. I need to know this information to be one step ahead and know where I will be putting the end of life packaging. Well Tesco are crap at giving me the information I need to be able to dispose of packaging correctly – their own products have little or no information and to be honest majority of big brands just don’t include this information either!

With My Waste Free Home – if you choose to reduce your waste bills by up to 90% and share a communal waste bin with your neighbours and recycle and compost the majority of your waste. The web site will give you all the information you will need and even a list of products – what they are made from and how to recycle them. I will also be giving information emails that you can copy and paste and will help put pressure on retailers and companies to 1. Label Correctly to ensure packaging is recycled where it can be and 2. If the packaging is just too over the top you can let the company know you feel this way and 3. Why they are not using packaging that CAN BE recycled????

I know it will shake up a lot of things in Ireland and hopefully pave the way for a more logical waste solution that gives people a greater choice. I am finding I have changed my shopping habits greatly buying more fruit and veg locally to reduce the dreaded non recyclable packaging. Shifted totally away from Tesco as I read all about their clubcard and didn’t like what I read…You can read my findings here. I just pop in for the few bits that I need there and pop quickly back out again. I am loving my local Lidl as their products have clear recycling labels and this gives me the understanding that yes as a whole, their company is much more involved in sustainability – their stores are smaller – they have a more European feel to them and I like that.

My Waste Free Home is still being implemented in my home and I am getting the whole concept together with the relevant bodies behind it – then the big launch will happen – in the mean time if you want any information be sure and email me claire@clairelewis.ie 🙂

My Waste Free Home is here!

myfh1

Yes, it is finally here and I am finally set up to manage my own house-hold waste myself, on site and actually saving money in the process! Getting the house waste free organised and ready was tough and I still have lots to do, but as I said at the beginning this is a lifestyle and my whole house will need to row in behind me. Now I do have a very small tin trash can with a biodegradable (Earth Rated Dog Poop) bag – as the liner, just incase my family or visitors bring me some items that I have not planned for or cannot recycle!

TrashedTo celebrate the start of this exciting venture for me and hopefully others will follow – saving tones of waste from landfill, I have a copy of  ‘TRASHED’  the amazing film starring Jeremy Irons, to give away to one lucky winner.

All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is:

Go to My Waste Free Home’s Facebook page and LIKE it.

If you don’t care for Facebook then please leave me a message or email me at claire@clairelewis.ie.

Be sure and keep checking my blog to find out all about my trials and tribulations, how much I am saving, the benefits of taking on a challenge like this to all of your family – bringing OUR waste problem HOME where we can show our children and others that we CAN do something positive to make a difference.

 

Ireland – have you discovered TerraCycle yet?

TerraCycle Logo-green-vectornew

TerraCycle launched in Ireland in 2011, but I still am amazed that the Irish public has not yet grasped the concept, or even tried to turn their trash into cash? So, I feel it is my duty to create an awareness around this really great company that is leading the way in ‘eliminating the idea of waste’

TerraCycle was set up by CEO Tom Szaky – an idol of mine and an absolute genius. Tom originally made his name when studying at Princeton – he fed the dorm food waste to worms creating liquid and solid fertilizers and packaged the products using recycled plastic bottles collected on campus. TerraCycle in the USA, have gone on to develop recycling programmes for cigarette butts and, wait for it, dirty nappies/diapers!!

The process is simple, worldwide there are a huge number of products that can be recycled ranging from mobile phones, diapers, crisp wrappers, biscuit wrappers and baby wipe packets. In Ireland, there are only a select few recycling programmes (that are called brigades)  part because the uptake has been so low I guess? For each item returned you get 1cent that is credited to your account. You can spend the money on upcycled items that TerraCycle makes from the trash or you can donate the money to charity – and by the way a school is deemed a charity so it is a perfect way for schools to make extra money and also promote entrepreneurship amongst eager students wanting to make money.

The brands in Ireland are:

  1. McVities biscuit wrappers brigade (but any brand of biscuit wrapper can be sent back)
  2. Ella’s Kitchen pouches brigade (but any brand using the same container can be sent back)
  3. Johnson’s & Johnson’s Baby wipe pouches brigade (but again any type of pouch can be sent back)
  4. Old mobile phones (cash for each unit varies from 50cents to €2)

All you have to do is collect a bunch of wrappers, or get all of your friends and neighbours to help out, print off an An-Post postage label and send them off.

TerraCycle are one of the global brands that got behind my Less Is More Challenge for Earth Day and hope to get them into every school in Ireland for The Less is More Schools Challenge for Earth Day 2014. If you are a teacher or student in a school and would like to know more about The Less Is More Schools Challenge please email me at claire@clairelewis.ie.

I will also be setting up an account with TerraCycle to help with My Waste Free Home and have already started to collect biscuit wrappers, it just so helps that McVities Digestives are a favourite in our house – smothered in Nutella chocolate spread, I might add!!

So, come on Ireland lets show the world that we may be a small nation but we can recycle like no other – and it helps to get something back from it too!

The Recycle Symbols – What do they mean?

My feelings on recycle symbols are of sheer frustration and confusion that the manufacturing industry cannot get it together and use a UNIVERSAL CODE for RECYCLING. The way things are you would need a science degree to understand and follow the recycling symbols to maximise optimum recycling and efficiency. I have decided to do up some blogs explaining what each symbol means and to bring greater awareness to the items that MUST be checked with your bin company or local authority recycling centres before they can be recycled.

I am getting ready to start My Waste Free Home – where I will be sorting and processing all of my domestic waste on site so my waste bin will be but out to pasture! I want to do this to ensure all of my waste ends up in the best possible place and not in a landfill. I will also be making compost which can be reused in my garden. The recyclables will be recycled for free at my local authority recycling centre. If you would like to learn more and keep up to date with my progress and findings please Follow my blog and LIKE the Facebook page here.

The challenge for you all is to check the Recycling Symbols in the packaging whilst in the supermarket doing the weekly shop. You might be surprised at the amount of packaging that cannot be recycled but you put it into the recycling bin regardless.

thegreendot

The first Symbol that I want to highlight is The Green Dot.

The Green Dot logo merely indicates that a company has joined the Green Dot scheme, and not necessarily that the package is fully recyclable. The logo is often confused with the recycling logo.

The basic idea of the Green Dot is that consumers who see the logo know that the manufacturer of the product contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling. This can be with household waste collected by the authorities (e.g. in special bags – in Germany these are yellow), or in containers in public places such as car parks and outside supermarkets.

In simple terms, the system encourages manufacturers to cut down on packaging as this saves them the cost of licence fees.

Useful Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Dot_(symbol)

http://www.recyclemore.ie/recycling_symbols

http://www.which.co.uk/home-and-garden/home-improvements/guides/your-essential-recycling-guide/recycling-symbols/

Toothbrushes are made to last FOREVER – even though they are to be replaced every 3mths

toothbrush

When thinking of everyday objects that are necessities you would wonder how much involvement do the manufacturers have in the quest to rid the world of non recyclable, useless, badly designed items?

For me the TOOTHBRUSH pops into mind when thinking of such an item. Like soothers these items are on a whole 100% recyclable but main stream recycling companies will not accept them as they are deemed hard to recycle waste and end up in landfill. A toothbrush is made up of 5 different types of plastics all of which can be recycled.

I have heard that you can send your toothbrush back to the company you bought it from to be recycled but when I googled this it seems to me this can only happen in the states. A company called Preserve makes toothbrushes from yogurt pots and then when the tooth brush is used up you post it back and it is ground down into park benches and the likes.

TerraCycle who are global leaders in recycling hard to recycle waste items do have a collection programme with Colgate called the Colgate Oral Care Brigade  check it out in your county to see if TerraCycle offer this and get collecting.

Do the math: Thats 4 tooth brushes a year per person and we are now living to an average age of 67.2  = thats 268.8 toothbrushes per person.

And with 7 billion of us on the plannet that leaves a heck of a lot of tooth brushes going to land fill.

Useful links:

http://environment.about.com/od/earthtalkcolumns/a/toothbrush.htm

http://www.greenamerica.org/pubs/greenamerican/articles/21Things.cfm

http://www.preserveproducts.com/

http://www.examiner.com/article/recycle-your-expired-toothbrush

The Life Cycle of your Trash Can

trash canOk, so I am going to get you to do a pop quiz about your trash can/bin and I want you to let me know genuinely how many you got right.

  1. What company do you use to collect your waste?
  2. How much do you pay them per month or per lift?
  3. Where do they bring YOUR recycling waste?
  4. Where do they bring YOUR trash can/bin waste?
  5. How much information is available on the company website to explain what happens to YOUR trash/recycling/compost?
  6. Do you know where the company processes the recycling and what countries are the main buyers of recycling waste?
  7. Do you know what all of the recycling symbols mean?
  8. Do you worry about the amount of rubbish you produce?
  9. Do you know what local authority/ government recycling amenities are available in your area?
  10. Would you like to reduce your waste or even better still have a waste FREE home?

There is a method to my madness with these questions. I want to start something to make people more aware of their own bin life cycle that everything we purchase will end up in the trash but this is not a good thing mind. Companies are producing products containing massive amounts of plastic, that not only costs a lot of energy, Co2, Dioxins, to produce & to transport, for a throw away society that has no connection with where it actually goes?

If you could let me know how you get on with these questions pretty please it would help 🙂