Spend a Few Pounds, Save a Few Pounds More

One of Tobias Wong's Sun Jars from SUCK UK
One of Tobias Wong's Sun Jars from SUCK UK

There are lots of ways to reduce the size of your bin without incurring any cost whatsoever.

For example, if it’s a composter you’re after, you could always knock something together from a couple of old pallets, which are readily available on many industrial estates if you ask nicely.

But there are also many items that require a degree of investment and they’ll make your quest a little easier. In the book I named a few of my favourites and I could have listed dozens more, but there just wasn’t enough space!

So for today’s entry, I’ve listed a few more great, green products that might be able to nudge you even closer to a Zero Waste Week.

  • Batteries – They are a regular pain in the neck as they’re stuffed inside everything from toys to toothbrushes and just about everything in between. Rechargeable batteries are a reliable and sustainable way forward. Take a look at the range of batteries and chargers available from Uniross available in photo stores, food stores, general trade stores (DIY) and e-commerce websites and take a look below at my PS: to this posting! If you really want to get off the grid, you could go for a solar charger. Take a look at the Freeloader, available from Solar Technology, but widely available from many online eco-retailers at a very attractive price of around £20.00. It’s a nifty piece of kit that will charge up your iPod, mobile phone, PDA and more besides. Check out this great video on the Smart Planet website which reviews the thing to within an inch of its life!
  • Tumble drying sheets – I haven’t got a dryer myself and manage to either get my washing out on the line (in between showers) or I just stick the clothes on hangers and dry them in the kitchen, bathroom or by the fire. I do have lots of friends who wouldn’t be parted from theirs and they are also addicted to those fragrance sheet things that are supposed to reduce static. For an all round better replacement, put a few drops of your favourite essential oil in the conditioner tray of your washing machine and replace the bottled variety of jollop you currently use and if you really must use a dryer try the Dryer Balls, seen here at Nigel’s Eco Store and available from many high street health food outlets too. A pair will set you back about £10.00 and the manufacturers say they are ‘non-toxic, environmentally friendly, they’ll save you money, take 25% less time, use less electricity and they’re ideal for anyone with asthma, eczema, or psoriasis’, presumably because they aren’t wafting around any unnatural, chemical pongs. They are guaranteed to last for 2 years and expected to last for 5.
  • Tea Light Candles – Give off a very romantic light, but you shouldn’t really leave them unattended and if you’re sitting out in the garden, they run the risk of being blown out by a mere whiff of wind. They also produce hundreds of those little metal holders that are more likely to end up in the bin than your recycling box. A funky option lies in the Sun Jars designed by Tobias Wong. They are rechargeable lights in jars (as the name suggests) and a gorgeously safe alternative that will last you for years; ideal for the children’s bedrooms or to light your way to the loo in the night. See them on SUCK UK’s website (don’t be fooled by the name, they are great and come in at around £20.00 each). Do shop around for a bargain, these things are available all over the net.
  • Sprouting Seeds – Don’t hang up, I haven’t gone crazy. What are sprouting seeds? Well, think of those plastic punnets of cress you buy to jazz up your salad. That’s one example of a variety, but there are so many more, far more delicious too I might add. Alfalfa, chick peas, mung beans and radish to name a few. They are incredibly easy to grow and the guys at A Vogel have got it sussed. Take a look at A Vogel’s range of sprouting seeds and you’ll find several good reasons for giving it a go. There is a dome thingie you can buy to grow them in if you like, but I recommend going to your local sweetshop and blagging a tall jar, putting a hankie over the top of it and using that to see if sprouting is for you! The inexpensive packets of seeds can be bought from any high street health food shop or directly from the A Vogel site. They are super simple to grow and a great way to get the kids involved. They turn a floppy sarnie into a delicious lunch and garnish any meal with a little ‘living food’, which is very good news for your insides. Oh, and there will be no more of that plastic housed cress…
  • The Logmaker – Was a godsend for us when we moved into a little cottage in the middle of winter and all the local wood sellers were well and truly sold out. It’s a bizarre device but very easy to use that will keep the kids amused for about 10 minutes and once the grown up’s realise what a good job it does, they’ll be the ones rolling and stuffing every night! Have a look at the Logmaker and you’ll see what I’m going on about. You can use waste paper, cardboard, dried leaves, twigs from the garden and more and whilst I’m not suggesting you could use this as your permanent method of keeping the fire going, it’s certainly a good booster to get things started and as an emergency measure.

There you go, that’s just a few to get the ball rolling.

Have you discovered a brilliant eco-product, not to expensive, that helps reduce your weekly rubbish?

Drop me a line in the comments box and tell us all!

Rubbishly yours,


PS: I’ve just received a press release about a new battery charger in the Uniross range. Here’s what they have to say about it.

Uniross has produced a ground breaking new device set to re-define how people view rechargeable batteries. With the release of its new 15-Minute Charger, the company has created a device capable of completely recharging AA and AAA batteries in only 15 minutes, making it officially the world’s fastest battery charger.

Packed with innovative new features, Uniross has broken technological boundaries with this product. A charger with its own computerised brain, it utilises an intelligent safety feature to cut the charger out if batteries are left in for over 20 minutes, whilst still keeping them topped up with power. In addition, a built-in fan automatically keeps the batteries cool, while an operational indicator light informs users of any problems during the charge process. The charger also comes with an adapter which allows it to be used from a car cigarette lighter, providing even more recharging options.

Visit their website for further details.