Life without waste: it's not easy

A NORTH Walsham couple who tried not to waste anything for a week found the experience anything but a waste of time. County councillor Paul Morse and his wife Sue were among 550 residents who signed up to take part in Norfolk's first Waste Free Challenge last week - trying to reduce their rubbish destined for landfill sites to nothing.

A NORTH Walsham couple who tried not to waste anything for a week found the experience anything but a waste of time.

County councillor Paul Morse and his wife Sue were among 550 residents who signed up to take part in Norfolk's first Waste Free Challenge last week - trying to reduce their rubbish destined for landfill sites to nothing.

The Morses did not quite manage that - but they estimate they did cut back by about 50pc.

Mr Morse was appalled to learn at a conference hosted by the Norfolk Waste Partnership last month that a third of food is thrown away and that rotting food in landfill sites generates methane which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.


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The couple's effort involved a few minor sacrifices and irritations along the way, a realisation of the obstacles involved for many, and a plea for better, clearer information.

"The worst thing was that it was our wedding anniversary and Sue didn't get a card from me because I couldn't find one anywhere which didn't have wrapping round it!" said Mr Morse, who is leader of the county council's Liberal Democrat group.

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The Morses compost much of their waste and bought some food items in bulk but recognise that those on fixed small incomes and with no storage space would find that option difficult.

Mrs Morse tracked down an outlet in Roughton where she could take her washing powder container to be refilled.

Mr Morse also found difficulty trying to find out whether very old clothes, including socks with holes, could be recycled in textile bins.

"I looked on websites run by the district and county councils but couldn't find answers to these sorts of questions," said Mr Morse.

He would like to see a single information point where people can get answers to any questions on waste. Mr Morse is also calling for uniform and clearer recycling information on packaging, avoiding unhelpful phrases such as "Recyclable where facilities exist" and he would like to see the county council become less "urban-centric" and give more help to people living some distance from recycling points.

Among miscellaneous aggravations the couple encountered were tracking down Free Trade bananas which were not in a plastic bag and being unable to recycle train tickets because each contains a metallic strip.

He added: "It's been a very worthwhile exercise and we will try to carry on."

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