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Birmingham’s John Newson aims to produce less than one bin bag full of rubbish over 12 months

Birmingham man John Newson is so keen on recycling he reckons he can create less than one bin bag full of rubbish over 12 months.

Carefully picking through each week’s waste since New Year, John composts everything he can, separating out all cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, glass and cans for weekly kerbside collections.

And now more than halfway through his year-long challenge he has so far been left with only half a bag of squashed plastic packaging.

John, 59, of Balsall Heath, said: “People ask, ‘Why on earth are you doing this?’

“I just wondered, if you compost absolutely everything that will rot and recycle everything you can, what will you be left with? I wanted to push myself to an extreme to see how far I could go.”

He added: “If you had six children and lots of disposable nappies it would be different.

 “But I’m not doing this to score points off any other household in Birmingham, I’m just asking what could we feasibly get our recycling rate up to?

“As council tax payers we are the ones who pay for all this so we should be asking these questions.”

John is a self-employed environmental researcher and member of Birmingham Friends of the Earth. He doesn’t eat meat or fish and avoids food waste, but composts any leftovers, as well as newspaper and other biodegradable items.

He also grows his own salad and fruits, cutting down on supermarket packaging.

But so far John has found several “little anomalies” in his rubbish.

He said: “Anything made of more than one material is trouble, things that have been welded together, like toothpaste tubes.”

But he has found he can recycle margarine tubs and Tetra Pak juice cartons when visiting friends in Bristol and London.

He added: “I know of other people in Birmingham who are even more fanatical about this than I am!

“Figuring out what to do with the things you don’t need and can’t compost challenges your inventiveness and your creativity.”

Source: Birmingham Mail

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