The average British household produces a tonne of waste each year – that’s 31 million tonnes of household waste across the UK. All this rubbish has to be dumped somewhere – and despite the fact we’re recycling more than ever, Britain’s landfill sites are filling up fast. Britain is one of the European countries that has pledged to reduce its food waste by 50% by 2030. Want to do your bit?
Here are 7 tips for reducing household waste.
Plan your meals
An eye-watering £2.4 billion-worth of out-of-date food is thrown out by British households every year – what a waste! Bamboozled by all the special offers, and short on time, shoppers often over-fill their trolleys with products they don’t need. One way round this is to plan your meals, so you only buy what you need to cook. You can do this on a daily or weekly basis, whatever works for you – and buying online may reduce the temptation to throw special offers into your trolley. You may also find that theming your nights helps you plan – Pizza Monday, Taco Tuesday, Pasta Wednesday and so on…If this all sound rather complicated, you can download an app to help you cope! Try Menu Planner on iTunes, or the free Pepperplate Recipe, Menu and Cooking Planner.
Rotate the food in your cupboard, fridge and freezer
Did you know you’ve had a packet of potato waffles at the back of your freezer for the last year? And six packs of risotto rice in your store cupboard…Put new products away in the back of your cupboard, fridge or freezer, moving older products to the front, and that way you’re more likely to get round to eating everything before it gets past its use-by date!
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Stop the junk mail
You’ve stuck a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your front door but still the pizza delivery fliers keep piling up on your doormat. Short of sticking them straight in your paper and card recycling box, what can you do to get rid of them – for good? You can start by filling in the Royal Mail’s Door to Door Opt Out form, which means you won’t receive any of the unaddressed marketing mail that the Royal Mail are paid to deliver. That won’t stop people who go door-to-door marketing their own businesses – a letterbox sticker stating clearly what mail you’re happy to receive and what will go straight in the bin is your best bet for them. For comprehensive advice on stopping junk mail, visit www.stopjunkmail.org.uk
Choose reusables instead of disposables
From disposable contact lenses to kitchen roll to facial wipes, there are loads of little hacks that make life that bit easier and quicker – but do create a lot more waste. For example, eight million disposable nappies are thrown away every day in the UK alone – and they can take hundreds of years to degrade in landfill. One way of reducing household waste is to replace disposable items with reusables when possible. Suggestions include: razors, kitchen towels, sanitary products and of course nappies.
Invest in a wormery
Most households have ‘kitchen waste bins’ now – but let’s face it, a bin of mouldering food that’s collected once a week isn’t a pleasant thing to have around the house, particularly when it gets hot in summer. A wormery lives outside, and not only do the afore-mentioned worms eat all your rotting old fruit and veg, but they create fantastic fertiliser to use on your garden at the same time. You can make your own or buy a ready-made one – try Wormcity or Wiggly Wigglers.
Sign up to a vegetable box scheme
The amount of plastic waste generated by the UK is around 3 million tonnes annually – more than half of which is used packaging. For health and safety reasons, most fruit and vegetables come pre-packaged in plastic, which leaves the problem of disposing of it. One way round this is to sign up for a fruit and vegetables delivery scheme – you’ll receive a cardboard box filled with fresh produce, and just as importantly, no plastic packaging. You never know – it might even inspire you to grow your own fruit and veg, with no waste worries there at all!
Bin the bin
Not for the faint-hearted – but getting rid of your kitchen bin will force you to recycle, compost or reuse! Are you brave enough to take this step…?
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