All things green: The 3 R’s and Freecycle

There’s a section of society (which, if you’re visiting a website like this one, probably includes you) that has known for many years how important it is to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Just lately though, I’m starting to feel like it might actually be taking root in the wider public consciousness.

I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning recently; clearing out a garage, moving the junk left on my allotment by the last tenant, that sort of thing. It used to be the case that you would take the fruits of such a task to the local tip, where it may or may not be recycled. These days however, I’ve discovered most ‘rubbish’ will be collected free of charge and taken to a new home. The Freecycle website is a wonderful tool in this regard – just post details of anything you no longer require (for example, Offered: 30 old copies of National Geographic) and you will probably have a number of people keen to collect. Even broken furniture will be snapped up by someone with a wood burner. What’s more, I have twice left a pile of faulty electrical items and scrap metal in public view (waiting to be loaded into the car) only to have them eagerly removed by enterprising (if slightly scruffy) chaps in a (more than slightly scruffy) white Transit. The value of scrap is clearly making their daily circuits of residential streets worthwhile. Interestingly, they declined my offer of two rather nice wooden chairs. Either they like to stick to their niche or they know that there is more embodied energy (and thus value) in a broken hi-fi than a hand-crafted chair.

Perhaps a less personal indicator of this ‘zeitgeist’ is that most of the supermarkets have taken the long-overdue step of keeping plastic bags under the counter until you ask for them. Just by repeatedly reminding us of the issue they are clearly having an effect on our habits.

Of course before we Recycle, we should be aiming to Reduce and Reuse (in other words, buy less stuff and try not to throw it away!) but there are very few products that cannot be saved by one of those three ‘R’s. The question is, with many decades of reckless consumerism behind us and a potentially lean time ahead, how soon will we stop filling landfill sites and begin to mine them for their wealth?!


Home Made Riddles save the day!

Here at Original Organics we’re always trying to do our bit at reducing our own impact on the environment as well as helping others reduce theirs.  We recycle as much as we possibly can; we minimise our use of energy where possible; and, we try to use as little packaging as we can get away with whilst still ensuring customers receive their orders in good condition.

One area we’ve been wanting to crack for sometime, though, is the plastic powder waste in the small factory where we make our 100% recycled compost bins.  All our composters are made using 100% recycled plastic, which comes into us as a very fine green powder.  We already grind up the rejects back into the fine powder to minimise wastage – but that’s easy.  Where it’s not so easy is the small amount of powder that is dropped on the floor in the process of manually handling the plastic from the bags of raw material into the machine.  It’s a negligible amount in proportion to the amount we use – but when looked at exclusively it all adds up!  Because it ends up on the floor it’s immediately contaminated with other dirt and debris.

Then Clive, our MD, stumbled across this article about one man who to this day continues to make authentic and handmade beechwood and mesh-wire sieves – of all shapes and sizes.  We thought they had long gone!

So, we got in touch – and solved our problem in doing so!  No other sieve we’ve found has been able to successfully sort the proper plastic powder from the other ‘stuff’ it gets contaminated with if it’s dropped – but this chap made us one which does the job perfectly.

His excellent sieves are made from beechwood and a galvanised wire mesh.  He makes them of all different shapes and sizes and used in many different industries – all from his stone workshop in the Peak District.  Amazing.

We liked them so much we’re now stocking his 18″ sieves as garden riddles.  As well as being ‘the real deal’ they are also extremely effective at improving the appearance of home made compost.  And they are of exceptionally high quality too!

You can find the riddles on our website for £22.90, just here.

WaterButtsDirect Deal of the week


Big King Water Barrel

Big King Water Barrel

On special for the next week at WaterButtsDirect we have the excellent “Big King Robust Water Barrel”.  It’s one of our highest quality butts with a 280 litre capacity and it’s available this week with a stand, downpipe connector, Freshatank disc and watering can for only £99! The usual price for just the butt, stand and connector is over £100.

Check out our Deal of the week page to see this offer!


The classiest kitchen compost caddies you ever did see?

As soon as I saw these classy caddies I just fell in love with them!  Apparently, yes it is possible to love a composting product this much…

You’ll see what I mean though (I hope!) :-

Clay Compost Bucket CaddyNew to Original Organics and available now from our website for the rather excellent price of £15.97! Available in Clay (pictured), String and Apple Green.

Let me know what you think.


My Turtle Bag… A little Gem!

Caren shows off our new Turtle Bags!

Caren shows off our new Turtle Bags!

I would like to share one of my best buys of the year……..a simple string bag or rather a  Turtle Bag! – About 5 months ago I was shopping and had run out of old plastic carrier bags to keep in my handbag, ‘just in case’. I was paying for several items in a local shop when I saw a small display of string bags. I bought one, packed my purchases in it and left.

Innocuous enough you may think but since using this wonderful bag I have been stopped in the street and asked where one could be bought from, a friend has also asked the same question.  On another occasion, I left some heavy shopping in the bag with a friendly shopkeeper to look after to be picked up later, on returning to retrieve said Turtle bag and shopping, she remarked how she could have sold the bag several times over as she had had enquiries by customers who saw it.

Having shown work colleagues ‘the bag’ interest was such that Clive, the boss, has bought in Turtle Bags to sell to our canny customers. We have already had some original ideas as to other uses for these bags, such as, ‘over winter’ storage for home grown onions! – We would welcome more original ideas.

I can only speak from experience, but would urge anyone who shops to buy at least one. My bag now goes everywhere with me as it fits easily into my handbag, it expands to accommodate more shopping than I can comfortably carry for too long and  another, more eco friendly benefit  is that I do not have to buy or use plastic bags anymore.

Oh yes – they are called Turtle bags in honour of the much endangered species their extensive use could help to save. Jellyfish are a significant part of the diet of many Turtles. Unfortunately many hundreds of thousands if not millions of ordinary plastic bags end up in the worlds oceans. Now to a Turtle swimming underwater a floating or submerged plastic bag is simply indistinguishable from a Jellyfish. The difference is, of course, that the plastic bag is indigestible; clogs up the Turtles insides and sadly condemns it to a slow death by starvation.

So buy a bag to make shopping easier, to reduce waste and to save a Turtle.


Green Cone now available from Original Organics

We’re pleased to introduce the Green Cone Waste Digester to our range of environmentally friendly products.

Green Cone

Green Cone

The Green Cone is the ideal substitute for people who want to dispose of food waste in an environmentally friendly way who have no use for the fantastic compost or nutritious liquid feed produced by a Wormery.

The Green Cone is part buried into the ground and uses the benefits of solar energy to facilitate and encourage bacterial digestion of food waste.  The waste is reduced to water with a small amount of carbon dioxide and a little amount of residue which need only be collected and disposed of every few years.

More information about the Green Cone and an FAQ can be found on the Green Cone page of our website.

The Green Cone is available for just £66.95 with £5.95 Delivery.


A rubbish book of great ideas!

Just a quickie to say we’re now proudly stocking the brand new book by International Downshifting Week founder, Tracey Smith. Entitled “The Book of Rubbish Ideas”, the 144 page paperback gives you an insightful room-by-room tour of the household and is full of great ideas helping you to reduce, recuse and recycle!

The Book of Rubbish Ideas

The Book of Rubbish Ideas

Tracey also recommends our Wormeries and Waterbutts in the Book, which is available now from our website priced at £6.99 (with free P&P!).