Thursday, August 30, 2007

10 ways to reduce rubbish

Plastics for the Home
Plastics for the Home

Admittedly, I have been plastics kid. Who would be without plastics, as a child of the sixties. My barbies were out of some sort of plastic. Gradually the stuff appeared everywhere, wrapped in plastic, I even had a plastic coat in its heyday to ward of the rain, plastic shoes, plastic cutlery, plastic lampshades in bright orange. ( OK you can guess my age now).

Honestly never gave it a second thought, it was normal to have everything around in plastics, they made everything from it and everything was great. Up until now.......

1. Check what is in your bin

Get scientific and check what exactly you are collecting that needs to be thrown out. Record what you throw away during a week and think about how you could reduce this. By avoiding disposable products and reusing, repairing and recycling where possible you will be amazed at how much waste can be avoided. Check your local council website to see what can be recycled and where.

2. Separate your rubbish into items that can be recycled and those that cannot be recycled.
There are 5 groups of waste that can be recycled : paper, glass, aluminium ,steel and cans, and organic waste. Find out where your local collection points are and recycle where you can rather than putting them in your bin with the rest of the rubbish. have a go at reducing your rubbish bin contents by 50%.
3. Encourage those around you to recycle and reduce. Think when you are out shopping what you are bringing back and how you will have to deal with the waste created. Check the services available in your area and if they are not available, write to the Council and ask about better services.
4. Avoid products that cannot be recycled, so avoid plastics if at all possible. Find out from your local council what they are doing about reducing plastic waste. Re-use plastic bags and use permament shopping bags and baskets while out shopping.
5. Avoid fast food and its packaging. The energy used to produce and pack convenience foods is high. Avoid food packaging that is foam packaged and covered in plastic. If you do eat fast food, check with the manager how and what they recycle of the packaging on offer. If they do not recycle, question why not and decide whether ethically you want to support this sort of business.
6. Reuse as many household goods as possible :old cotton sheets have been turned into choir cravattes in our village, but can make good dusters, floor cloths, baby bibs, cushion covers, patchwork, wheatbags and so on. Charity shops will take clothes and goods and many community groups are open to receiving your stuff with open arms. Freecycle the rest. We pass on clothes, toys and books to other families in our area, as we have generously received in the past. Think before you buy, we have been successful in finding a drumkit and offered storage with free usage for it while the owner has no room to store it. The result is free use of a drumkit that will be returned at a later stage.

7. Dispose safely of your waste, do not just burn it in your garden. Check with the council for safe waste disposal of motor oil, paint chemicals and other toxic materials.
8. Compost, use a wormery or bokashi bin, or all three.Check whether your council has a scheme where compost bins are provided free of charge. Bokashi and wormeries are available from wiggly wigglers. If you have no garden, find someone who has or take on an allotment.
9. Use recycled paper products when possible. Make notepads from scraps of paper, reload your computer with sheets that have bene printed on one side, reuse envelopes and buy address labels to stick over envelopes so they can be reused.
10. Use the mail preference service to have your name removed from mailing lists which will reduce your energy consumption too and give you more time.


Polly said...

All good advice. :-) I'm working on removing plastics from our life too. I was a child of the fifties and I can remember a time when plastics were not as common place as they are today.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent, no-nonsense list.

Anonymous said...

Recycling is great but the emphasis must be on reducing AT SOURCE - does big business really want to do this.

Downshiftingpath said...

I cannot speak for big business but I think small business can attempt this space