Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Tuesday 27 May 2014

A difficult challenge.

If you may recall, back in March I wrote about an interesting new on line project starting in the Guardian  called "Live Better".

Each month, it focuses on a different area of sustainability, this month's challenge on the Live Better Site is  : to recycle and reuse everything you possibly can, instead of throwing it away.I signed up to join in, as I have done with the previous challenges on food waste and energy consuption. In each of the previous challenges I found ways to reduce my food waste or energy consuption even though the changes were minimal.

I actually found it very difficult to take part in this challenge - I am sure we could re use and recycle more than we do, but I am blowed if I can see where to be honest.Which has made me think about how we could reduce our waste still further in the longer term as I hate to be complacent.

That is not a criticism of the challenge btw, I think it is a really good idea and it has certainly given me some food for thought! A  few years back I would have found it easy to reuse and recycle more, but maybe that is the problem? We have already done so much here in our lives on the reduction and recycling front that it gets harder and harder to do even more?

I guess if we bought no packaged, prepared goods at all we would reduce packaging waste - but it is very difficult to do so and  we make sure we buy recyclable packaged goods. I honestly cannot see how we could increase our recycling as we already recycle everything we can. We re use a lot of it, first as well. And as for composting...! Well lets just say nothing goes uncomposted. Except - we could have a composting toilet. Now that's a plan.

Does anyone else find challenges like these hard to do, just because it is the normal, routine way of life for you? I am sure that other challenges would be more difficult for us (cutting out computer use, anyone? Or maybe eating local, with zero imported goods at all such as coffee, chocolate, spices etc?) 

Comments welcome please


  1. I think that sometimes you can do no more. Eating local food is hard and when you do it's expensive. Home grown is the way to go., if you have the time and space.

    1. I agree. Home grown anything saves on packaging waste and tastes much nicer

  2. Like you, we try to re-use or recycle as much as possible. Glass, paper, cardboard, tins, metal, and clothes can all be put in appropriate containers that are emptied by the community. We compost everything compostable, where I find it very difficult is with bought veg - I have to go quite far out of my way to find a market, so apart from what I can grow in the garden, we buy it at the supermarket which insists on wrapping everything, well the organic food, in plastic and plastic or cardboard trays. And that makes up most of our rubbish. Chocolate and my computer I'd not be willing to give up, but then, we don't have to live like ascetics, do we?


    1. Yes veg packaging in supermarkets is a pet hate of mine. We have some markets and stalls around here so I am lucky.

      I wasn't suggesting we should give up computers and chocolate btw - but that would be a challenge I think!

  3. We recycle everything our council allows (and it isn't much, come on council). I was pleased to note though that when Mr. T. delivered our monthly shop the other day, it was almost all in brown paper bags! We shredded those and added them to our compost heap. Our fortnightly food bin usually has just one or two items on it so not much there we could do either.


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.