The Anonymous Widower

My Christmas Wrapping

I don’t use traditional paper, which because of all the glitter goes into landfill.

I use these coloured cotton bags from Clever Baggers, which are very reasonably priced.

I hope most get reused.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment


Just heard the CEO of Nrdpresso defending his product, where seventy-two percent of the product goes into landfill.


My tea-bag goes straight into the food composting bin!

So much more environmentally-friendly!

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , , | 3 Comments

Energy Efficient Bricks Made From Human Waste To Help Build London Homes

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Standard.

This is the first two paragraphs.

New homes and factories will be built from bricks made out of the human waste of four million Londoners.

Dried sewage from millions of homes will be transformed into two million heavy-duty breeze blocks a year.

It’s all happening at Beckton.




May 9, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hydrogen Is Really Happening

The title of this post, is the same as that of this opinion in Energy Voice.

It is a good summary of where we are with hydrogen.

One interesting point of several is that researchers in the US and Spain can extract hydrogen from plastic waste.

This article from FuelCellWorks describes the Spanish research.

That would surely be a real zero-carbon fuel!

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Re-Use Rather Than Re-Cycle

I remember in the 1970s or 1980s hearing the Research Director of Pilkington on Radio 4, giving a defence of using glass as packaging.

He argued that one of the problems with glass coffee jars and sauce bottles was that after use and a quick wash, they looked like they could be refilled with new product. In those days, coffee jars were often used for the storage of small items like screws, clips and dry foods like rice and pasta.

Now we’ll buy a designer jars, like these from IKEA.

In those days a lot of milk and beer bottles were returned to the dairy or brewery, but are we going to send empty beer bottles back to some of the exotic places from where they came.

The Research Director argued, that the best thing to do with glass bottles was to smash them up and re-use for other purposes.

One of the uses he discussed was to use broken glass as an aggregate substitute in road construction. This does happen and I’ve read of by-passes being constructed on a bed of broken glass and seen broken glass being used under paving slabs.

Glass came from materials dug out of the ground and it’s going back under.

He also said that to create new bottles was cheaper, than reusing bottles, unless there was a direct link, like milk rounds from a dairy.

This morning on wake Wake Up To Money, they were discussing cutting the use of plastics. So I sent in the following text.

I wonder if black-plastic ready-meal trays could be replaced with a light-weight glass variant. Along with bottles, they would just be washed and crushed after use for aggregate. Several roads have been built on broken bottles.

It was read out.


  • We drink a lot of beer that comes in glass bottles.  One of my beer bottles from Marks and Spencer weughs 280 grams.
  • They would be oven-proof, microwave-safe and freezable.
  • You could eat your meal out of the dish!
  • They might save on washing-up time.
  • They could go in the dry-recycling after a quick rinse.

But above all, they may have other uses.

I also suspect that the other pakaging could be similar.

Could a piece of plastic be glued to the tray in the same way?

My idea is probably total rubbish!

But some of Marks and Spencer’s pies already come in just an aluminium tray and a cardboard box.

They need to be cooked in an oven and are not microwavable.

The pie goes down the gullet and the aluminium tray and the cardboard box, go into the dry recycling.

One thing I will be right about, is to say that there are some clever packaging scientists and designers out there, trying to create a freezable ready-meal, that can be cooked in a microwave, that isn’t protected in anything that can’t go direct in the dry recycling.




April 26, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Charging For Single Use Plastic. Aluminium And Glass Drinks Containers

I’m all for this, but I feel we should look at how the empties are returned and refunds are obtained.

The Norwegians seem to have solved this by means of expensive machines, which give vouchers back.

But there must be something simpler.

A few of my thoughts.

Marking Chargeable Containers

All containers for which a deposit is made, should be clearly marked with symbol, which says that it is worth something to return.

Returning To Shops

Obviously, people will want to do this, but I suspect a lot of smaller shops will ask shoppers to take the empties elsewhere.

They might install a machine, but many shops couldn’t afford the expense.

Collecting For Charity Or Local Causes

Suppose, you had a simple steel bin with holes in the top, like those we had in Suffolk for bottles.

Anything that had the correct symbol could be put in the bin.

These bins would then be collected and sorted automatically at a large plant.

By weighing each bin and knowing its location and owner, it would be possible to apportion the refunds to the charity.

National charities might put recycling bins in car parks or prominent places.

But supposing, your area has a run down children’s playground, that everybody wants to improve.

A recycling bin is placed by the playground and everybody is asked to use it for bottles and other containers. All proceeds would go to the playground fund, with a collateral benefit, that the area of the playground wasn’t strewn with empty bottles.

Automatic Sorting Of Containers

If you have a large plant sorting the containers, it can do a better job, than the most expensive machine on the street.

  • It would be able to sort plastic, glass and aluminium containers.
  • I suspect technology exists to remove labels
  • Glass would probably be washed and crushed.
  • It could also sort out ordinary rubbish like fast food wrapping and boxes, newspapers and disposable nappies.
  • Any washing water would be collected and reused.

The plant would calculate the various combination of materials and if the weight of the rubbish would known, could calculate the return.

Extending The System

There must be other containers, that are also recyclable. In my cupboard, I have a large glass mayonnaise jar, which would probably be recyclable if washed and the top is removed.

So perhaps the system could accept this bottle without its top. It would be washed and crushed, so it could be used instead of quarried aggregate.


There are much better ways to handle the charge on a drink container.

I would reckon, that some of the biggest recycling organisations in the UK are working on a solution, that benefits us all and is as widespread as possible.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 5 Comments

This Big Belly On Islington Green Seems To Be Working

I took this picture by the bus stop on Islington Green.

This Big Belly On Islington Green Seems To Be Working

This Big Belly On Islington Green Seems To Be Working

It would appear that there isn’t much rubbish not in the bin.

So is the Big Belly getting people to put their rubbish in the bin? Or had I just missed the guy with the broom and barrow?

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Ocado’s Not Very Green Packaging

When I buy beer from Beers of Europe, it comes in a box holding more than a dozen bottles. Ocado doesn’t use anything as efficient as that.

Four bottles are in a cardboard carrier and that is in a plastic bag. That isn’t very green and must be downright inefficient.

June 30, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Hackney’s Domestic Food Waste System

Hackney has a two-bin food waste system that seems to work well.

I have a small bin in the kitchen and a larger one downstairs, which I put out once a week, with the other rubbish.

The larger one bin been designed for carrying, so I bring it upstairs to empty the smaller bin, rather than carry the waste down in its degradable liner.

I’m still using a shop carrier bag in a large IKEA plant pot for waste that can’t be recycled.

Both the liners for the food waste bin and green sacks for dry recycled waste are supplied by the council, by filling in an on-line form. Usually bags are delivered in a couple of days.

The system seems to be having the desired effect, as this page on the council’s web site shows. In 2001, the recycling rate was less than 1%, but now it is over 25%.

June 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Big Belly Bins In Islington

I have a thing about street litter. My road isn’t particularly bad for rubbish, as we have a guy with a barrow, who patrols the area sweeping up anything that gets drops.

But it doesn’t deter people from piling waste around the litter bins in the road, as this picture shows.

Rubbish By A Bin In Hackney

Rubbish By A Bin In Hackney

I think a lot of what gets dumped is from people who have opted out of Hackney’s rcycling scheme, as bags often seem to be full of fast food packaging and disposable nappies. But some is definitely from commercial premises, as at times, I’ve seen people unloading rubbish by the bins from the back of pick-ups or vans.

I’ve passed the bin shown below at the Angel a couple of times, but today I had a good look.

An Islington Big Belly

An Islington Big Belly

It does appear to be in a better state than Hackney’s traditional bin. Perhaps those who think they will pile litter by bins, think that it’s got a camera inside.

The Big Belly web site, isn’t the easiest to navigate, but for a good explanation go to this page on the Islington web site. This is an extract.

The Big Belly units use solar power to compact litter so can hold up to eight times more litter than a normal bin, and email council staff when they need emptying.

Now under a pilot scheme 30 of the bins – which are also used in Times Square, New York – are being placed at busy recycling and litter hotspots in Islington, where street bins fill quickly.

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect as the bins are solar powered, they probably don’t need to be connected to any services. I did read on their web site, that they use SMS messaging to call for emptying.

I like the concept and suspect that it will get developed in the future to be even better and provide other services.

June 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | 4 Comments