One area of waste that became more and more apparent as we recycled more was food waste. To some extent it is inevitable that there will be some waste as we are a family of 5 and the children don’t always clear their plates.
The first thing we did was to set up a compost bowl in the kitchen for our of our fresh fruit and vegetable peelings/waste. We are lucky to have a garden big enough that we can have a compost heap. Reusing these scraps by composting them to make rich compost for the garden is definitely a win:win situation!.
Other things you can compost are:
Small amounts of brown cardboard
Bedding from small pets (gerbils, hamster etc) – will mostly be wood shavings.
Old plants (not weeds).
We have tried different methods of storing compost before it goes out to the heap and we have found our favourite is to have a large bowl and line with a sheet of newspaper and store on a shelf in the freezer. By doing this we have no issue with the bowl getting dirty, no smells and most importantly in the summer – no flies!
Reducing Food Waste
We meal plan our evening meals and our lunches tend to be leftovers or sandwiches/crackers. This means that we more what we need only and ensure we do not have fresh food that will not be used. When cooking food I do tend to cook a big batch in one go and then put the leftovers into individual pots ready to be eaten. I also stack these pots in the fridge with the oldest at the front so they are being eaten in the right order.
Its good to check your fridge every few days to see if anything needs using up. Sometimes I’ll move some containers of soup or chilli into the freezer so that I can have an omelette or salad for the next few days to use up the fresh things. Having a freezer is an amazing asset to avoid food waste!
If you don’t use a lot of bread, you can store your bread in the freezer and just remove a couple of slices at a time as needed.
Love Food Hate Waste have an amazing website full of information on how to avoid food waste. It really is worth checking out.
For the leftovers that are left on plates that cant be re-eaten there are a few options – a Bokashi bin, a Green Johanna bin or a Wormery. We haven’t taken this step yet but it is something we are considering for the future.
Give your surplus food away!
If you do have too much of something and you know you won’t use it – give it away. There are many options:
For dry food that is in date – give to your local food bank collection point.
For fresh food – offer to your family & friends.
For any food – offer on the Olio app for people in your local community.
If you have followed the posts over the last 6 days you will now be a recycling pro! Well Done!
There will still be some plastic packaging you are left with – the tops of yoghurt tops, ground coffee bags, cellophane from breadsticks etc.
One thing you could do is make an eco brick.
The idea of an eco brick is that you get a plastic bottle and inside put your unrecyclable plastic until it is tightly packed in. You then use the bottle as a ‘brick’ to make a bench or structure.
There are some guidelines you need to follow:
All plastic put inside must be clean and dry (very important).
The bottle must be bigger than 500ml (ideally 1 or 2 litre).
You need to cut the packaging into smaller pieces (I’ve been cutting ours into about inch sized squares) before putting into the bottle.
You need a dedicated eco-brick stick – to keep pushing all the plastic down to compress it as much as possible.
The finished bottle must be a minimum of 0.33g/ml.
To find out more visit the Ecobrick website you can find out lots more information on what to put in and the finer details of how you make them. You can also search on this page to see where you can drop them off, so that they can be used to make new structures.
It is truly amazing to see how much you can pack into just one bottle – I think we have put about half a kitchen bins worth of plastic into one 1 litre squash bottle.
I’ve covered kerbside recycling and your local household recycling centre, now you really need to know about Terracycle.
Terracycle is a company that recycles ‘hard to recycle’ items – often donating 1p per item to charities too.
Even if you recycling everything you possibly can in your kerbside bins and at your household recycling centre you will still find you have lots left in your bin. Terracycle can help you recycling items such as:
Toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads and packaging.
Biscuit and cake wrappers
Pens, markers, highlighters and correction fluid pots
Make up and beauty product tubes
Cleaning wipe packets
Cleaning bottle triggers and lids
Air fresheners, Air freshener cartridges and packaging.
Baby food pouches and snack packaging
Contact lenses and their packaging
AND SO MUCH MORE…..
To recycle these items you need to go on their website, select the item you would like to recycle and find your nearest drop off point. It is a good idea to have a box to collect these items so that you only need to drop off every month or two.
To take your recycling to the next level it is a good idea to have a cardboard box put aside in the house or the boot of your car for items that need to go to the local household recycling centre.
When there is a designated place for these things you are much more likely to recycle rather than just putting it in the bin.
It is easy to think that you can just ‘throw away’ items when in reality there is no such thing as away – you are choosing to send it to be buried in the land, incinerated or shipped abroad.
Items that we can take to our local household recycling centre are:
Appliances (large and small)
Cans (food, drink)
Car parts (drained of any fluids)
CDs and DVDs
Chemicals (household and garden)
Clothes and textiles
Computers and monitors
Cooking oil (used, domestic)
Engine oil (used)
Fluorescent light tubes
Food and drink cartons (including Tetrapaks)
Fridges and freezers
Glass (clear, mixed, coloured)
Hardcore and rubble
Household waste (excess)
Low energy light bulbs
Paint – oil based
Paint – water based
Paper (including newspapers and magazines)
Plastics including packaging and rigid plastics (but no films, wrappers or plastic bags)
Wood and timber
Lots of these items can be recycled in your kerbside recycling so save yourself a trip and recycle these at home! Once your recycling centre box is full just take a trip to your local recycling centre to recycle your items.
Check your local authority website for your nearest recycling centre, opening times and items they take.
The first step to being as waste free as possible is to ensure that you recycling everything you can using your kerbside recycle bins.
We have two recycling wheelie bins and two recycling black boxes. At first we didn’t realise that you could have more than one of each, it is really useful to have this extra recycling capacity – especially at high waste times such as Christmas.
In our area there are the items we have been able to recycle for quite a while:
Glass Jars and Bottles
Tin Cans and Drinks Cans
Magazines, Newspapers, Paper and Envelopes
But as well as these commonly recycled items, we can also put the following in our kerbside bins:
Foil and foil trays
Greetings cards and wrapping paper (not foil type)
Metal biscuit & sweet tins
Clothes, Shoes, Handbags & Belts
Curtains, Sheets, Blankets & Duvet Covers
Plastic Pots & Trays such as yoghurt pots and fruit punnets/meat trays
Take a look at your local authority website to see what your area takes and how many bins you can have. Just ensuring all items that can be recycled kerbside are, will make a big difference to the amount of waste that is sent to landfill.