#LiveLagom The Story So Far…

Lets start on the positive, what has changed as a result on engaging in this project…

Source: #LiveLagom The Story So Far…

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#LiveLagom The Story So Far…

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun!

Well we are half way through the project but it many ways it seems like only yesterday it started. So much has happened in a short space of time but we still have a long way to go to make big changes and of course it doesn’t end when the project ends. Sustainability is a way of life.

What has changed?

Lets start on the positive, what has changed as a result of engaging in the project…My first New Years Resolution was to REDUCE WASTE and had bought a lot of IKEA products to do this.

#REDUCE WASTE

LED light bulbs were top of the list and after a good couple of hours, an electrician and lots of cups of tea later we were the proud owners of new lights.  Although too early to see what impact it has on costs, all the indicators and research suggest it will and I am loving all my new lights and bulbs though.

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A lot of LED Light Bulbs!

2016-01-11 13.04.50My eldest daughter has always wanted lights around a mirror a bit like actors have in their dressing room: enter MUSIK and 5 x LEDARE LED bulbs stage left. It has made a massive difference to a very dark corner of the bedroom where she can now work, do make-up, homework and see! The only down side was my other daughter decided she liked it so much that she wanted one too! (Cost me more money Ikea!) The end results though are amazing and I would like one in our bedroom when we get round to sorting that out.

 

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Star Wars has landed

 

We also bought a new LED light IKEA PS2014 to replace an LED light which had succumbed to a leak (long story!) in the lounge. I chose the ‘Star Wars’ inspired one, this is by far the most ‘Show Stopping’ light that everyone comments on. It looks fantastic whether in daylight or night, on or off 🙂

 

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Old v new bulbs and lights

 

It is amazing how much heat the old lights gave off and the LED ones don’t, this is really noticeable in the kitchen which has six bulbs and stretches across the ceiling. Previously you could feel the heat on your head but now you can’t.

The four pronged silver light (middle row, left in the picture), which we bought from Ikea years ago was a real bulb eater and we were having to replace a bulb every 5 or 6 weeks and we have two of them, since replacing them with LED bulbs I haven’t had to change any lights bulbs. It will be interesting to see how long the LED bulbs last.

FOOD WASTAGE was a big area I wanted to concentrate on and this has been a big success both in time and money!  See my blog on reducing food waste! Continue reading “#LiveLagom The Story So Far…”

Why we should all be Composting…

 

Well I have had a dirty weekend away getting down and grubby with compost and worms (…and Karen!) What a fascinating weekend 🙂

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Karen and I arrive at Garden Organic

When I signed up to become a ‘Master Composter’ I wasn’t sure what to expect and how they were going to fill two solid days of training  talking about compost, was beyond me. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute.

There were about twenty of us willing volunteers being trained from all walks of life and three different councils, with a variety of reasons for being there but with a common aim: to pass the composting message on.

Kate, Alex and David, our knowledgeable & enthusiastic trainers for the weekend all work for Garden Organic and what they don’t know about composting and wormeries isn’t worth knowing.

 

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Bed time reading!

Manuals, books and information sheets were handed out to all the volunteers to read, digest (excuse the pun) and refer to once we are let loose on the public.

The session started with Kate asking us to get to know our neighbour and find out an interesting fact about them. We then had to introduce our buddy and share the information with the rest of the group. Some amazing and very interesting facts came out including some one who had lived in the woods for a year, another had slept in a snow hole and someone had shared a hot tub with a famous boxer! Next up an ‘Introduction to Garden Organic and the Master Composter Scheme’ then we looked at ‘Why Compost?’ which concluded with a well earned tea break.

 

Why Compost?

Good question…it isn’t all about allotments and growing things or about ‘The Good Life’ it is about WASTE, WASTE DISPOSAL and reducing the amount of rubbish going to LANDFILL.

Local councils are targeted to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase the amount of recycling by households (both of which costs money to the tax payer) as well as composting, re-using or upcycling. Landfill sites are becoming full so if we all started to compost it would reduce the IMG_1762[1]amount of waste going to landfill.

The average household can divert up to 150kg of waste from landfill as a result of home composting. This in turn reduces the amount of methane gas produced which helps reduce global warming.

Note: When waste is sent to landfill it does not break down as air cannot get to it to help it break down and more and more waste is piled on top which results in the production of methane gas.

Did you know councils pay on the tonnage they send to landfill it currently costs Leicestershire County Council £120/tonne of waste they send. Sending recycling to a plant also has a cost but it is a lot less than waste disposal and better for the environment. A lot of the ‘reuse initiatives’ mean that many items don’t end up in landfill, especially bulky items, so don’t incur a cost.

Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms kitchen and garden waste into valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden, pots and tubs. It is easy to make and use. Check out this site for inspiration.

http://www.recyclenow.com

What is Compost?

Compost is the breakdown of organic material by oxygen. There are three stages to the composting process; degradation, conversion and maturation. Each stage uses hundreds of different organisms including bacteria, fungi, insects and worms to leave you with a rich earthy substance full of valuable nutrients that plants and soil need.

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Top left: a compost bin cut in half, top right: real compost in a Johanna, Bottom left: Leaf Mould, Bottom right: real compost on a New Zealand bin

What can you Compost?

Back to the training – We played a game where cards were distributed: we had to put them into piles of YES, NO or CAUTION to see what we already knew about composting and more importantly what we didn’t! The was lots of debate about whether it was Yes or No happened in our team!

IMG_1944[1]The YES‘s can be further split into GREENS and BROWNS and an equal mix of both is needed as GREENS are the ‘wet’ materials which add moisture, nitrogen and rot quickly. The BROWNS provide carbon, fibre, allow air pockets to form and rot slowly.

GREENS include but not exclusive – vegetable peelings, tea bags, grass cuttings, cut flowers, nettles, comfrey leaves, rhubarb leaves and poisonous plants.

BROWNS include but not exclusive – cardboard, egg boxes, egg shells, wood ash, cotton wool and woollen jumpers (who knew).

The NO’s include cooked food, fat, coal ash, plastics, meat and fish scrapings, dairy products and dog faeces.

Those in the CAUTION pile include perennial weeds, Christmas trees, diseased plants and evergreen prunings (which you can compost but they need a bit more attention).

For a more comprehensive list go to http://www.recyclenow.com or http://www.homecomposting.org.uk which is the Garden Organic site.

What type of Compost bin should I get?

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A whole array of different compost bins are available

 

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The Double New Zealand

 

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Beehive Bin

 

 

Who knew there were so many different compost bins available!

There is something for almost every garden and every pocket depending on your need. Whether you want a ”hot’ or ‘cold’ composter, a digester, a tumbler, a leaf mould, a wormery, one with a base, one without, natural wood looking one, cheap or expensive plastic one, instant or build one etc etc: the list is endless.

As groups we had to design our ideal compost bin…which ended up being my favourite made from upcycling pallets. I would like to have a go at making this design and putting it in my garden if I can ever get my hands on some pallets (before hubbie chops them up and burns them in the wood burner!)

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Our intrepid leaders – John for Leicestershire County Council and David and Kate from Garden Organic

 

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Our group and my, IDEAL compost bin

Not enough space for a compost bin or live in a flat without outside space…no problem, a wormery could be the answer.

 

What is a Wormery?

Yes it is in the title, a wormery contains WORMS! and lots of them.

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The guys giving us the low down on using a wormery

Wormeries are small scale units so they are suitable for people with no room for a standard compost bin or for use with children who love getting down with nature. They can be kept inside or in warmer months, outside. The worms digest kitchen waste to produce both compost and a liquid fertiliser (or drain cleaner as one of the trainers, Alex told us).

Whilst you can buy wormeries, again in different sizes and costs, they are quite simple to make according to Alex who had made her own. She had bought three small black plastic boxes from Ikea one with a lid, drilled holes in the top two boxes to allow the worms to move about and liquid to drain down to the bottom box, bought some fishing worms and started to feed them with kitchen waste: nice and compact and very portable and more importantly cheap to make. You can see it in the picture above.

Compost! Compost! Compost!

Hopefully I have opened your eyes to the possibility of introducing composting into your life, garden, neighbourhood. I am now a ‘Master Composter’ and as part of the scheme I have signed up to dedicate thirty hours to promote, present and push composting.

If you would like more information, have some questions or just a chat (about composting!) then get in touch and I will be happy to help r point you in the right direction.

Right I am off to Ikea to look for black boxes and the fishing shop for worms  🙂

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Fellow Master Composters

 

 

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