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Black Friday Thoughts

Like most of us nowadays, we have far more things delivered than we used to. If you’d suggested 10 years ago we’d have everything from cat food to screws delivered to our door, I’d have laughed. Yet that’s where we are today.

Allotment Skip

The Allotment Skip – how many useful bits can you spot in there?

It can’t have escaped your notice that today is Black Friday. This morning alone 26 27 28 emails hit my inbox with Black Friday in the subject line. I suppose it must generate lots of business or they wouldn’t do it.

All this generates a huge amount of cardboard. We’re not immune, we sell our books online and they come in cardboard boxes too. Happily, it’s useful stuff as I wrote about here: Using Paper & Cardboard in Compost and here: Mulching with cardboard or paper and grass clippings

Green Friday?

From an environmental point of view it may well be greener to buy online rather than driving to distant shops to collect. But wouldn’t it be better still to have a Green Friday where we didn’t buy anything?

We’re drowning in stuff in the west – so much so that there’s been a huge growth in storage units where people rent rooms to keep the stuff that won’t fit in the full loft. Stuff we don’t need or use – or it wouldn’t be in store.

I’m reminded of the skip that used to come to the allotments. People would dump their rubbish into skip but they’d also pick out things others had dumped that they could find a use for. Those unwanted plant pots went in and were duly fished out by someone who needed them. An unwanted plank of wood that could be cut down to make a shelf dragged off in triumph.

Time for a change?

Maybe it’s time for us to change our attitudes. We’re an affluent wasteful society of consumers yet many of our people are suffering in poverty. Maybe what we need to do is just give our unwanted stuff away. A warehouse where you can drop your unwanted goods and collect things you actually want.

Not a charity with all the stigma that attaches to living on charity to the recipients, just a way for people to share. Even if you’re well off, what’s wrong with making use of what others don’t want? Too proud to save the planet?

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
12 comments on “Black Friday Thoughts
  1. Alyson Laydon says:

    Absolutely agree. I saw something on the news about a wood store – they do take in unwanted wood and then sell or donate it on and my local B & Q were offering offcuts for a donation to their charity. Little steps, but I think it is starting to change.

  2. Cindy long says:

    I think that is a brill idea wish this could be put into practice

    • teresa deacon says:

      teresa deacon I am loving this post. I am 62 years old have an allotment and a small garden in my middle terraced garden at home meaning that everything has to go through my house. Hence it was one of the reasons I got my allotment you need at times to store a few bits and pieces though on our allotments they are pretty strict which is good. I have a dalek at home, one at the allotment and a good size compost heap at the allotment.
      My point is that for me having that extra small piece of ground I can and do all the things the poster suggests not just my cardboard,leaves grass cuttings etc but everyone’s down our cul de sac. Which in turn gives me a lovely friendly community spirit to live in For instance the other day I needed a very small piece of roofing felt for my chicken coup I asked one or two people just in conversation within hours I had enough to re-do several shed roofs. Word of mouth goes a long way. Unfortunately for them I only ever take what I will use lol.

  3. Meg says:

    Freecycle, Freegle, Nextdoor and other websites are already enabling neighbourhoods to do this. Join in!

    • John Harrison says:

      I’ve used Freecycle – great concept except it’s a bit of a faff listing what you are offering, seeing if there’s a response, arranging a pick up and then they don’t turn up. That’s why I was thinking of a free warehouse.

      I’ve not used Freegle and Nextdoor but googling them is my next stop!

  4. Sarah Tranter says:

    I get a lot of things delivered as I am disabled so it is a necessity for me. However, I try to stick with the most eco friendly companies and always recycle or compost. It is really simple for people to make small changes to help with lessening the waste we create but the big companies need to work harder and also our local councils need to recycle more.

  5. Rowland Wells says:

    absolutely rite wasteful society if its re-usable use it my wife and me are the moment braking down pallets and cutting up scrap wood for the wood burner trying to salvage some good boards

    there’s big arguments between the two of us because I want to keep some of the good planks and the wife wants to put them under the saw

    we also have re-clamed bricks slabs and quarry tiles some other discarded building materials all our cardboard goes in the re-cycle bin and all non foods in the compost bin wood ash of the wood burner back on the allotments built most of our greenhouse staging from re-clamed timber together with the 15 raised beds made and painted with paint i was given instead of in the skip

    so I think we do our bit for re-cycling its just a shame what people put in skips or on the side of the road

  6. ruth timperley says:

    In many European countries they put out their rubbish including large items such as furniture and everyone is free to come along and take it. For some reason in this country we prefer to prosecute people for taking food out of skips or pour bleach over it so it’s inedible.

  7. Rowland Wells says:

    I think to encourage people to take food out of skips or other bins is to me totally unacceptable because some of this food could be contaminated and possibly make someone seriously ill

    I know some supermarkets give groceries to food banks that’s fine and our local air ambulance sells there second furniture very cheep

    as for European putting out there rubbish including furniture for all in this country we leave our unwanted furniture on the side of the road for anyone who wants to take it and its free

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Rowland – whilst I’m sure that ‘sell by’ and ‘use by’ dates are valuable guidelines, they cause a lot of waste. I’ve seen someone throw away an unopened Brie cheese because it was 1 day past the best before date. I fished that out of the bin!!!
      Since biodigesters became popular loads of food that was skipped now goes to those. Sure, you need to be careful over food but people seem to have lost their noses and knowledge. I’m drinking a coffee with the last drop of cream from a tub. It’s 3 days past it but smells fine, tastes fine and no doubt is fine.

  8. Rowland Wells says:

    I note your comments John and your quite rite in what your saying we to have eaten food out of date before now and we know of a shop that sells out of date food and the people that shop there are not short of a bob or two either

    and I’m sure your rite people tend to through good food away that could do other’s a good turn how times change years ago nothing was wasted your mother cooked the family a good wholesome meal out of next to nothing and you ate or you went without

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