Rubbish Interviews – Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland surrounding herself with rubbish!
Kate McFarland surrounding herself with rubbish!

It’s always good to hear viewpoints from ‘the other side’ and the inspirational Kate McFarland is now the Assistant Waste Partnership and Strategy Officer for Norfolk County Council.

In the book, she offers great insight to the ‘Zero Waste Week’ initiatives that are taking place around the country and in this extended interview, she gives up her thoughts to a few chewy questions and has one absolute flight of sustainable fancy!

 

Q1) Is it true what ‘they’ are telling us about landfill?

Are we really running out of time to use this option to get rid of our black bags and if so, what’s going to happen next?

A1) In the words of the dog from that insurance advert, “Ooooooh yes!”

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Eco-Celebs

Eco-friendly, FairTrade lover, Chris Martin - front man of Coldplay
Eco-friendly, FairTrade loving, Chris Martin - front man of Coldplay

The world of celebrity is so mightily powerful; in truth, it’s probably immeasurable.

One of my hopes in writing ‘The Book of Rubbish Ideas’ was that I might be able to tap into some of this energy and encourage changes in sustainable behaviour by showing how the international ‘stars’ do green!

These days, the definition of ‘celebrity’ seems to be in a perpetual state of evolution, as the parameters continue to open ever wider, so I’ll quote the current definition of one from Wikipedia.

A celebrity is a widely recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. The word stems from the Latin verb “celebrere” but they may not become a celebrity unless public and mass media interest is piqued.’

People in the public eye can influence fashion changes, eating habits and beauty product purchases in a heartbeat and I think as a resource for encouraging positive eco-change, it remains relatively untapped, so hereto lays my quest!

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My Fabulous Rubbish Flatbreads – A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Up Leftover Pasta or Rice

The only place for food waste should be in your compost bin!
The last place food waste should end up, is in a compost bin or wormery!

I’ve been quietly pondering for at least 5 minutes, wondering what to call this recipe and the best I can muster is, ‘Rubbish Flatbreads’.

Not because they are ‘rubbish’, quite the contrary, they are delicious and usually disappear off the plate as fast as I can cook them!

I often rustle them up with ingredients from what many people would throw into the bin; I happily use the leftovers from an earlier meal and this is how they’ve earned their trashy title.

If you’ve never made it before, bread can seem like the most terrifying of all things to cook. It uses yeast, yeast is live and if it all goes horribly wrong it could explode and line the walls of the kitchen! Eeek!

Actually, it’s nowhere near as scary and it certainly won’t explode, I promise you. But it might do a long slow rise and catch you out…like it did me…

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The Rubbish Solution’s in Transition

So what is a Transition Town (village, city, forest or island for that matter)?

In their own words, it is: – “A community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question: “For all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

It sounds like a bit of a mouthful at first I know, but once you get your head around the concept it’s pretty straightforward and by heeding it’s recommendations, you can make an immediate and considerable difference to reducing your rubbish too!

Be a shining green light in your community - make it a Transition Town!

Last night, I attended the inaugural meeting for my village to become a Transition Town (or should I say, a Transition Village, but the movement’s called Transition Town, oh you get the idea, don’t be picky)…

The Transition Town initiative was set up by a guy called Rob Hopkins, who is now in hot demand by feature writers up and down the country, all queuing to explore his concept of ‘everyday life, post-oil’; me included. His book, ‘The Transition Handbook’ sets out his vision of a solution.

So what is a Transition Town (village, city, forest or island for that matter)?

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Bean There, Done That

Butter beans waking up after an overnight soak

‘Beans, beans are good for your heart

the more you eat, the more you…….parrrrppp.’

Do you remember that one from your schooldays?

I do and what’s bizarre is some 30ish years later, kids are still coining the phrase!

In the UK we consume copious amounts of tinned baked beans. Supermarkets have been selling them as loss leaders for years in the eternal hope that you’ll fill your trolley with other things and you have to admit, they’re a yummy accompaniment to a simple meal and they represent a crucial 50% of that classic teatime duo, beans on toast.

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Paper-Free But Not So Easy

Take the long and winding road to being paper-free

On Friday morning my lovely postie dropped a handful of letters onto the mat and I instantly spotted one from BT. ‘That’s odd’, I thought, ‘we’ve been paper-free with them for ages’.

What was this?

Must be something urgent.

It was 10.30am, time for a fag break – I don’t smoke, but see no reason why I shouldn’t officially ‘down tools’ for 10 minutes, twice a day – and I flicked the kettle on for a brew then ploughed through the post, before heading off to a meeting.

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A Bit About the Author

Tracey Smith is just an everyday gal, a wife, a mum and a very proud downshifter. “I’ve a passion for writing and I love spreading the word about simple, green and sustainable living…to a fault sometimes.”

Tracey Smith

But before I get to that, thanks for wanting to look!

There’s not much to say here really – I’m nothing special – just an everyday gal, a wife, a mum and a very proud downshifter. I’ve a passion for writing and I love spreading the word about simple, green and sustainable living…to a fault sometimes.

I’ve been in the doghouse on more than one occasion for putting my ‘work head’ on and going off on one about some green issue or other, when I really shouldn’t have, but I can’t help it. The other week, I was milling around Bridport with my husband and there was a stand outside the Art’s Centre with a very nice man from Recycle Now and another from West Dorset’s recycling department. I was dragged away, politely (ish) by Ray who reminded me that it was actually our wedding anniversary and asked me nicely if I could, ‘Just shut up for a bit’.

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A Bit About the Book

So I went right through the house, room by room. I went inside and outside too, giving the garden, shed and garage a thorough prodding in the process, but it needed more. I had to explain why I felt we’d all arrived at ‘peak landfill point’ and despite many great, green initiatives, why there was still so much apparent apathy surrounding the issue of recycling and rubbish reduction in general.

The concepts I explored rolled over so many other topics and I suddenly found myself inadvertently writing a guide to solving credit crunch problems, combating addictions to shopaholism and even how to have better nookie by reducing ones levels of stress!

My original manuscript from 'The Book of Rubbish Ideas' - coloured in by my daughter!
Some of my original manuscript from 'The Book of Rubbish Ideas' - coloured in by my daughter!

I was asked to write ’The Book of Rubbish Ideas’ at the beginning of 2008 and I foolishly thought it was going to be a doddle. I write and talk about sustainable living issues for a living, I’m never short of a simple, green idea and I lean towards those that save me money and favour the environment.

By the very definition of its title, penning pages about cutting down the amount of personal and household rubbish we produce, should be an easy extension of what I witter on about everyday!

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The Book of Rubbish Ideas

Welcome to The Little Book of Rubbish Ideas blog!

This blog is a companion to the upcoming The Book of Rubbish Ideas, which you can pre-register for to receive a 50% discount special offer code and advance notice of when the book is available.

On this blog you’ll also find further reading, more great tips and a few short films. Check out the categories panel in the right hand column for an index of the topics currently covered. Subscribe to the RSS feed in the top right-hand corner of this blog to make sure you don’t miss any updates.

The Book of Rubbish Ideas is written by Tracey Smith, the founder of National Downshifting week, and published by Alastair Sawday Publishing as part of their ongoing Fragile Earth series. Alastair Sawday Publishing were awarded Best Environmental Publisher in the 2008 Independent Publishing Awards.

Every householder should have a copy of this easy reference guide to reducing household waste and stopping wasteful behaviour. The book is a top down guided tour through the average family home, from bedroom and bathroom through to the kitchen and out into the garden. Although the percentage we recycle is increasing we still need to dramatically reduce the amount of waste we produce whether that be waste from the kitchen or bathroom or garden shed. Full of practical tips and quirky ideas – from insulating your loft to jazzing up your old clothes; growing your own food to keeping chickens.

For sales and publicity information please refer to the sales info page.

For more information about the book please take a look at the book info page and for more information about Tracey please check out the author info page.