Keeping 80 percent of our waste out of landfill this past year

A year has past since I started monitoring our waste and recycling – so it seemed a good point to look at the stats. And I’m proud to say our guests have help us keep nearly 80% of our waste out of landfill. 78.956% is the conservative estimate – for those who hanker after spurious accuracy – but it’s probably higher because of the things we’ve given away or freecycled, which I’ve not included.

How do I figure that out?

It’s part measurement: all the ‘household waste’ – for our 4 lodges and the cottage, plus our own – has been weighed on bathroom scales. The TOTAL comes to 483kg over 12 months.

Sounds a lot, but can it be put in perspective? It’s not easy without being glib. But here’s a start. The average PERSON in the UK generates 500kg of household waste a year. Household waste is approx 31 million tonnes a year – roughly one tonne per household. (If those 2 stats – both from the same source – tie up, average households are 2 people, whereas we usually cater to family groups).

We’ve weighed up the recycling too – 609kg at the kerbside plus a further 515kg that the council won’t handle that has been taken, by us, for recycling (drinks cartons, clean food plastic, cardboard etc) or separate disposal (batteries, the odd toaster etc) or kept here for separate onsite composting (wondering what? It’s dog poo!).

Then there’s the estimates of food kept out of the bin by putting it in the compost heap (us) or the biodigesters (guests & us). Assuming our guests only keep half the UK average food waste out of their bins, that comes to 366kg of food waste going into our 5 biodigesters (0.82kg per household per occupied night, based on 2009 national statistics.

We estimate our own compost heap and biodigester contribution has been 318kg over the year – a bit high maybe, but that’s based on the average 6kg of food a 2.4 person household puts in the bin each week, and we’re 4 people plus many house guests.

It adds up to a staggering 1812kg of waste kept out of landfill.

And that warrants a huge huge thank you to everyone who has stayed here in the past year and whose efforts have made this possible. You’ve made an outstanding contribution to keeping Devon the great place you wanted to visit. THANK YOU!

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