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All items from August 2021

29 Aug 2021 : Updated waste data graphs are now live #
The waste data page has been updated so that it now splits the graph up into yearly segments. This became a bit necessary because cramming everything onto a single graph was getting a bit silly. Graphs for all of the previous years are still available, check out my blog post on the matter for all the details. I've also, finally after two years, tidied up the script a bit and made it available on GitHub. I'll add the data file to the repo in due course as well.
29 Aug 2021 : New and improved waste data graphs #
I've just hit two full years of waste output data, which has given me a nice idea about how much waste I generate on a daily basis. Since I started back in August 2019 I've been updating a graph showing the results on my waste page. It's provided quite a fascinating picture. Not only has my waste output gone down over time, but it's also become more consistent.

I attribute this improvement squarely to the act of measuring my data each fortnight. The process has made me far more aware, not just about how much waste I produce, but also the sorts of products that generate more or less waste.

For example, glass is really heavy and it became clear quite early on that it was contributing significantly to the weight of waste I was producing. This motivated me to look into it more deeply, which ultimately resulted in me almost completely eradicating glass from my daily usage.

As a result of this and other changes, my daily usage has gone down from 322.80 g/day in 2019 to 154.98 g/day in 2020, and now in 2021 I'm currently averaging 123.34 g/day. Admittedly my average this year is likely to increase during the winter (and Christmas especially) but my aim is to keep it at least as low as my 2020 average.

One of the downsides to accumulating all this data is that the graphs I've been posting here have become increasingly hard to read. Placing all of the data onto a single graph has become unsustainable, so over the last week I've been updating my graph-generating scripts to make them more flexible. As a result, I'm now going to only show data for the current year on the main waste page. The data for previous years can still be viewed on the pages for 2019 and 2020, and I'll add new pages as the years tick forwards.

I've also created a new page showing the complete data set. These "all-data" graphs are plotted wider now, and while this makes it easier to read the individual entries, it also makes them impractically long and thin. The "fixed in time" preview below already gives an idea of the problem, but the graphs will only get wider, and the issue more accuate, over time. So they're really only going to be of interest for the masochistic.
Daily waste data histocurve snapshot 29/08/2021

While the full-data graph is interesting by virtue of its absurdity, splitting the graph up into annual chunks turns out to be the more interesting case. In particular, because I take readings when I take out the rubbish, these rarely actually fall on the first or last day of the year. So, how to split the readings across the year boundaries?

The solution I've came up with is to scale the readings at each end of the year in proportion to how much of the period falls into the year in question. For example, here are the actual readings I took over the 2020-2021 year boundary.

Date Paper Card Glass Metal Returnables Composts Plastic General
12/12/2020 57 515 0 0 0 449 107 322
14/3/2021 641 225 0 0 93 443 88 473

This covers an unusually long period of time because I was stuck in the UK for January, February and most of March due to Covid travel restrictions. But this is also convenient for making a more exaggerated example. So the period between 12th December and 14th March contains a total of 92 days. That splits into the two periods "12th December - 31st December" and "1st January - 14th March", which contain 20 and 72 days respectively. The proportion of time for each of these periods is therefore 20 / 92 = 21.74% that falls into 2020 and 72 / 92 = 78.26% that falls into 2021.

To manage the data split across the year, we therefore have to scale it appropriately. Each entry represents the end of a period, so the 12th December data falls entirely within 2020. The 14th March data represents the period that's split across both years. We can therefore scale this entry and turn it into two separate entries like this, scaling each of the data points based on the proportions calculated above.
Date Paper Card Glass Metal Returnables Composts Plastic General
31/12/2020 139.35 48.91 0 0 20.22 96.30 19.13 102.83
14/3/2021 501.65 176.09 0 0 72.78 346.70 68.87 370.17

To get the correct picture this has to be done at both ends of the year being plotted.

Managing the data this way makes some obvious assumptions which may not necessarily be true (it assumes I generate waste uniformly across the time period, which is obviously not the case). However it has several nice properties. The annual histograms get drawn in a way that broadly speaking matches up across the year boundary; and the annual averages also match up correctly. At least, it seems to me to be the most honest way to tackle the issue when apportioning the data across year boundaries.

Check back to my waste page over time to see how I'm getting on with keping my waste output down (or not), and whether I'm able to hit my 2021 target.
24 Aug 2021 : Waste data dump #
My latest waste data is up on the waste page. My daily average is up at 222.12g/day, which is over the magic 200g/day mark. Mostly it can be put down to Joanna visiting, which means twice as many people, but happilly not twice the waste, apparently. The main increase is in general waste.
17 Aug 2021 : Waste data dump #
My latest waste data is up on the waste page. My daily average of 177.15g is hogher than usual (my 2021 average is 111.79g/day), mostly due to a higher than usual amount of plastic that I threw away this week. That comes from the containers of some cleaning products that ran out this week.
1 Aug 2021 : Waste data dump #
My latest waste data is now up on the waste page. My daily average this fortnight was 141.07g, which is higher than my 2021 average so far, but also a decent distance below my 2020 daily average of 173.75g/day. Card use was down a fair bit, while paper use pushed things back up. Everything else was fairly standard, which I'm satisfied with.