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Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 5

So far I've recycled or found new homes for:

1. Magazines
2. Old paperwork from the bookshelves and filing cabinet
3. Cardboard boxes
4. Lever arch files & ringbinders

That has resulted in 48.661kg of recycled paper and card.  My target is 58,823.5 and I have 8 weeks to go.  It feels like going on a diet. A slow but encouraging start, (that was 8 kilos).  Then came break through on week two and three with all that old paperwork and cardboard.

Week four was more about tidying up, but over the next 8 weeks I hope to make my way towards the last 10 and a bit kilos.

Today, I'm going to tackle my desk and notice board, and I hope that will take care of the 'and a bit'.

My desk is sadly often a bit of a dumping ground.  But here goes...

Do I go for the easy bits first or the hard bits? Easy bits, I think!

1. Stuff to put away or give away...

2 new copies of my book, wrapped in reused magazine wrappers and ready to give to eager purchasers, need to go back in to the box of books in my cupboard.
1 tatty copy of my book, which I'm forever referring to for various reasons, goes on the bookshelf.
2 copies of Clean Slate Magazine, which I want to keep, on the bookshelf.
2 articles on food waste from the local council magazines torn out and put into the ring-binder for my next book.
2 printer cartridges into the recycling envelope.

2. Deal with post

3. Amalgamate the outstanding items from the various to-do lists!

Into recycling goes:
The rest of the magazines, some post that I've now dealt with, 5 to-do lists (now down to one!) and a 2012 calendar from the notice board.

It's looking better but I'm left with a pile of papers and notes which I will work on later and now the paper's gone I can see all the odds and ends like paper clips, pens, cds and flash drives, so they are going to be sorted out too.

This week I've recycled another 518g of paper and card.  I'm getting nearer that target!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Primary School Visits

I've been asked a number of times if I do talks for primary schools.  The answer is YES!!!

There's lots of great work going on in primary schools and plenty of recycling schemes (look out for more information about these next year).  And there's no doubt that our children are keen to learn how to live sustainable lives.  They are, after all, the ones who are going to have to find new ways to live without fossil fuels, are they not?  So, I guess that's not surprising.

But there seem to be fewer opportunities for the older age group and that's why I set about filling that gap with my book, 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free, and my Dustbin Diet workshop that enables young people to work on their own ideas for sustainable lifestyles.

There's more information on my Dustbin Diet website!

However,  I love to 'talk rubbish' with anyone who will listen, and I've long missed the pleasures of primary school. For several years I ran a French club for 5 to 11 year olds in my village primary school.  Having a degree in Early Years Education, I also have lots of friends who teach in primary schools and so my book has had the benefit of their opinion.

"My year 5 would love this."
"The maths is challenging for them but I've promised we'll have a go at some of it next week.  They are so keen."

It then dawned on me that although the students in my pilot secondary schools enjoyed their course and love the book they produced, they may have been even keener if they had already seen and worked with the book in primary school.

So I've set up some games and resources for Key Stage 2 based on the book and have arranged a package of 30 books and some downloadable information sheets that schools can purchase for £180 including postage.

I will be offering half day morning or afternoon visits to all schools who buy a box of 30 books.  The visit can comprise an assembly for the whole school (venue permitting) together with specific sessions for individual classes and/or eco-teams who may be doing work in conjunction with my book.  I do ask schools to cover my expenses but don't make a charge for the actual sessions.

If you would like to purchase a box of books and / or arrange a visit please email me.

You may like to take a look at my Dustbin Diet blog too where I plan to show off some off the lovely work from both primary and secondary schools.

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 4

This week is all about creating space.  Now I've recycled all that paper, various files from my book shelves are now stored in the filing cabinet where they should be and I still have an entire shelf of my filing cabinet empty.  But I have a sofa in my office and that's now piled high with empty lever arch files and ring binders.

So these need to find new homes. There were a few that were old and tatty, so these would be no use for giving away.  But they were perfectly serviceable for holding my company accounts documents, which no-one looks at except me and my accountant.  So I swapped the tatty files with some better ones that were storing past years' accounts.  The better files will be easier to re-home.

Senior Daughter is re-homing 5 of them. Junior Daughter has asked to have some too. I've put a big pile aside to take to a charity shop tomorrow, and the rest are in a bag to be offered to JDs friends at sixth form.  I'm sure they will have no problem finding a new home there.

Total paper recycling contribution - a mere 66g of paper inserts from the files.  But space gained - priceless!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Wonderful Wind Power

Yikes, it's been cold today.   But I still managed to get my laundry dry for free, thanks to the wonderful power of wind.
From 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free.  Check out the savings this can bring!

I couldn't resist making use of the bright sunshine beaming down on my solar panels and so I put on a load of washing at around 10.30 this morning.  I took a short break from work late morning to make a cup of tea and while the kettle was boiling I nipped outside to hang the washing on the line.  It was cold, but even so, I could feel a pleasant warming of the sun on my back as I pegged everything out to make use of this perfect wash day combination of wind and sunshine.

This was particularly appreciated, not only for the sheer pleasure of enjoying a few moments of autumn sunshine, but all the more so, to think that Junior Daughter might also be benefitting from its gentle caress as she treks in the Brecon Beacons for her Silver Duke of Edinburgh challenge. Each Duke of Edinburgh challenge she's done so far has been non-stop rain.  Fingers crossed this lovely weather holds for a couple more days!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Paperless Office - Week 3

Another 15,523g of old bills, questionnaires from data surveys and some old notebooks gets added to last week's total.

Already well over half way there, we are on to step three.  After all that paper last week, I thought I'd go for something quick and easy this week.


How many boxes is your office home to right now?  When you buy computer equipment, it comes with a guarantee.  That guarantee often specifies that you have to keep the box, because you need to return the product in its original packaging if anything goes wrong.

Those guarantees are often only for a year, yet I find the boxes hang around long after that.  Besides, I can't remember ever actually having to use any of these boxes as 'original packaging'.  So, I've decided it is time they went.

My local council collect cardboard in the kerbside collections.  You do need to flatten the cardboard, and sometimes they need to be broken up to fit into the recycling boxes. If the boxes are very large, then it is sometimes easier to take it to a recycling centre, if you are passing.

I've recycled the cardboard box from a laptop which had an inner cardboard box too.  Out went the warranty booklet and various other leaflets, and now the recovery disks and the user manual (kept even though it is unopened!) are now taking up much less space on my bookshelf.  A large box from a printer, plus the box from my Kindle have gone to a recycling bank I was passing and that has freed up a good bit of space!

Then I went through the boxes of software which were taking up half a shelf.  First, I recycled two cardboard boxes from some software I no longer use along with the user guides.  I've sent the CDs for recycling too.  There's a collection bank for media in a car park in my nearest town.

Then I looked at the boxes for the software I do use.  A lot of software comes in a large box with an inner that houses a small plastic case or even just a CD.  I checked to make sure the product keys were on this inner packaging or on the discs themselves.  And that means I can recycle the large cardboard outers.  The software now takes up a lot less room.

The over packaging typical of software products.

Add to that, the cardboard document wallet beyond repair and it all weighs in at 10,669g.

My total for three weeks is 48.001kg