Day Four of the Zero Waste challenge – puppies, parties and hair products

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Day Four of our zero waste week, starts with a large puddle on the kitchen floor, and a very sweet looking but clearly guilty puppy.  I would usually clear this up with a wad of kindly donated tissue from my masseuse friend who saves all the used tissue from his massage table for just these occasions for me.  I cannot recycle it with the papers, so I usually flush it.  But it dawned on me that perhaps I should be composting this paper? 

After a bit of searching I found a good article about all the different things I could compost.  Most of these I knew about – I have been collecting mine and my dogs hair for composting for a while, but balloons, latex gloves and toilet paper were new to me.  Elsewhere I found that toilet paper with poo on should not be composted, but a bit of wee was fine.  This has made me surprisingly happy.

So I now know that the paper I use for those little mop-ups can be composted, but it did make me think about toilet paper in general, which decompose in our sewerage treatment systems, but it does take time, and so really is a waste product.  Of course some cultures do not use toilet paper, but most of us are firmly addicted to it.  I did find a few brave individuals online who had switched to reusable cloths instead, and found the experience erm useful, but then decided to go back to it.  I think it’s a step too far for me this week, but definitely one to ponder in terms of yet another waste stream that I take very much for granted.  It also served to remind me to never throw anything which isn’t biodegradable down the toilet. 

Today I am working from home all day, with a few skype calls. So I take advantage of this by multi-tasking.  Namely, I decide I need to dye my hair (few greys, don’t tell anyone) and so I sit with my hair dye on during my early morning phone calls.  I must confess to always lying in this situation, and saying the camera on my laptop is playing up, or that its better quality on just audio rather than video too……as the henna drips slowly down my ears………

But just how much waste is associated with my hair dye.  First off of course there is the cardboard box, the instructions and the plastic bottle of premixed henna, which can all be recycled in various places – the lid of the bottle will have to be send off to the magic place of course.

The dye I use is a nice henna dye, all natural, and it doesn’t come with the gloves that most ready to use dyes come with; the ones that are clearly made to fit all hand sizes including those of a 6ft 10 rugby player.  So I buy slim fitting reusable latex gloves so that I can use as little dye as possible, which of course as I found out this morning from that article and also from zero waste guru Anna Pit who tweeted that to me.

The other hair product I realise I rely on heavily are hair bobbles, and although I keep mine until they start ripping my hair out, they do of course bite the dust at some point.  So just where can I recycle them?  I wonder if my magic place will take them as they have elastic in them, which is of course a type of plastic.

I now realise that I need to check out the magic place to make sure that I can actually recycle all these bits of plastic which I am hoarding.  So I cycle along to it as it is not far away.  And to my horror I find my magic place is not so magic anymore.  It is really just a recycling bin that takes foil as well.

So I email the website and let them know that this site does not take plastic.  What I need to do now is explore some of the other sites which the website says will take the plastic bits.  How disappointing.  That will have to wait until next week though.

Once back I need to leave again to go to a Regenerate mentors meeting.  A local charity, Regenerate are a real powerhouse of engaging local young people and helping them realise their potential.  And although no-one seems that crazy about sustainability as a career choice just yet, I offer my time to help some of the girls who want to start their own businesses.  A great spread of food is always laid on for the mentors and the mentees (although its often difficult to tell who is in which group) but I have to decline.  I then leave to go to a great launch party with my husband.  I want to chew my hands off when the delicious looking canapés come around, but I resist, and have a glass of champagne instead, after quietly reminding the guy whose party is that he will be recycling all the glass after the party, won’t he……. how to win friends and influence people…..

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