Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Waste reduction

One of the contradictions about reducing waste is that if you are going to declutter your home, you are actually going to compound the problem of dealing with waste as you will be adding to the pile going out.

Yesterday's post about 80% reduction makes it all sound overwhelming and yet we still have the opportunity to reduce the waste we have in our homes, while in the future at some point, it will be an obligation with penalties for those who do not.

Some points on how we reduce waste :
1. Stop adding stuff in the house ( it has to leave somewhere). Monitor what you are actually bringing in the house. Today, I have managed to bring back a book.......its relevant and I will recycle it, but nevertheless I am adding to stuff by the things I bring in.
2.Before disposing of anything in the dustbin, think about what can be reused or recycled.
If you spend some time analysing what is in your bin, it will give you a clue how you can source alternatives and the usual stuff you accumulate.
3. Look at the packaging you bring in, and the plastic bags you accumulate ;shop using cotton bags, paper bags and boxes, as well as baskets. Supermarkets will be bringing in a charge for bags in the future ( already happening in other countries). I reuse my plastic bags as inner rubbish bags in small bins but we need biodegradable bags if anything. Newspaper can be used as binliners as it is compostable. Shopping locally can be done in baskets.
4. Milk bottles are a difficult thing to deal with and we have had difficulty changing to a milk delivery in glass bottles ( easy when you live in town, not so easy in the countryside). I still get milk but in the largest bottle possible, then go and recycle it in the recycling centre).
5. If you need to buy something in packaging, go for the type that can be recycled, glass, tin, plastic, aluminium etc. On the base of the item it should give you an indication as to whether it is recycleable. Avoid anything that is plastic wrapped.
6. We compost all our green matter, grass clippings, chicken bedding, and a variety of other things in the 4 compost bins we have. Recently I added some worms to it to make it go down faster and yes, with a little help of the worms the compost is looking richer and quickly decomposes.
7. The chickens deal with leftover bread, grains, pasta, some overgrown cabbages and lettuces and in return get some extra nutrients for their egg production. They seem happy enough. The litter I use is straw and that gets added to the compost heaps on a regular basis.
8. Eggshells, get dried and then used against slugs and snails in the garden.
9. Cooked food and kitchen scraps are put in the two bokashi bins we have and I have dedicated one of the compost bins to be the bokashi bin with a view that it will be incorporated in the earth when we add it to the raised beds.
10. Some of the leftover veggies are given to the dog. She is always willing to eat anything that is leftover.
11. Catlitter is made out of recycled woodpellets and is compostable over time. I have a fourth compost heap that is for any weeds and other items I am not sure about.....it just stays out for the elements a lot longer.
12. Despite all this we still need to do more. Paper, tins, plastic, etc it all gets sorted at home so it does not end up in the landfill.
13. We give away, regift, create other things with what we have, freecycle, swap and generally look at dealing with our stuff in sensible ways.
14. We cut down trees for logs, smaller branches for kindling, the rest gets shredded as mulch for the flowerbeds.
15. Old wood gets recycled in creative ways ( wood pallets make good compost bins) and any useless wood gets taken to the recycling centre or simply burnt in the woodstove).
16. Old plastic buckets make good containers to grow things in : small yoghurt pots with holes can serve as small pots to grow plants in. Or you can make a bell with birdfood inside too.

It could go on.....if you have any unusual recycling ideas....leave a comment and share your knowledge.

There is still too much stuff. Whenever I want to put anything different in the bin, I check what parts can be recycled. It takes time and effort and yet in the future I can envisage a time when we will have to pay for the amount of rubbish that we create.

If you want purpose made containers and other recycling stuff you can check out www.homerecycling.co.uk

No comments: