Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
Amy Sims (Communications Manager) gives expert video advice on: Why is recycling important?; What items of household waste can be recycled?; How can I reduce the amount of waste I produce at home? and more...
Why is recycling important?
Recycling is important because our landfill sites are filling up fast. 19 million tons of household rubbish gets land-filled every year. While 18 percent of household waste is recycled, 80 percent of what is in our bins could be recycled. Recycling means making something new from something old; for example, newspapers from old magazines. Although the process uses energy and water, it doesn't use nearly as much as making a product from scratch. Recycling also reduces the amount of raw materials that have to be extracted from the earth.
What items of household waste can be recycled?
Many items you consider household waste can be recycled. You should check with your local council to find out what materials can be recycled in your area. Plastic, glass, paper, textiles, metal, batteries, tin cans, foil, and many other materials may be recycled in your area. What you recycle can be transformed into something new very quickly. Within six weeks, glass bottles can be recycled into house insulation, and plastic bottles can be made into a fleece jacket.
How should items be prepared for recycling?
A small amount of preparation is needed before you recycle items. Bottles and tins should be rinsed clean, but to conserve water you can clean them out in washing-up water before you tip it out. Boxes, plastic and cans should be crushed down to minimize the space they take up.
What are kerb-side recycling schemes?
Many local councils now provide kerb-side recycling schemes. This is where the council provides you with one or more recycling bins, and then they collect these bins at different times. If this is available, the council should tell you what goes in which bin, and when the collection dates will be. Some councils collect garden waste, some collect food waste. You just need to call them up or log onto their website to find out what's available in your area.
What are recycling banks?
Recycling banks are large containers where you can put glass, plastic, clothes and other recyclable materials. They can be found outside of supermarkets, municipal tips and local amenity sites, where you can take a wide variety of household items to recycle.
What is composting?
Composting turns organic waste into food for the soil. You can compost anything that has lived and died, ideally food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, tea bags and coffee grounds. Making good compost is like baking a cake. You need some basic ingredients combined in the right way. Firstly, you need a balance of organic material, then a good structure to allow air to circulate and some warmth to speed up the process. You can simply make a pile in the garden and cover it with an old carpet or you can opt for some form of a bin. You can make your own bin by scewing sections of waste wood together to make a box like structure, but there are many types of home compost bins to buy and many local authorities have special offers to supply low cost bins.
What facilities do you need to begin compositing at home?
There are several different ways you can compost your waste at home depending on what you want to compost and how much space you have. You can get a normal compost bin from the local garden center, or your local council, or you could even make your own. These will compost soft garden waste such as grass clippings and raw vegetable peelings, tea bags and egg shells. If you don't have access to a garden, then a wormery could be a great solution. Worms can eat their own body weight in kitchen waste every day, leaving you with really good soil conditioner. You can purchase worm bins from most garden centers or check out the Wiggly Wigglers website. If you don't have any outdoor space and you want to compost in your kitchen, Bakashi could be a really good answer as well. It's a mixture of bacteria, yeast and fungi in a powdered bran form, and you simply add one or two handfuls of it onto your food waste in a sealed bin. The mixture ferments the organic matter down, and there's no mess and there's no smell, and then you can add your waste directly into the soil or a normal compost heap that will break down very rapidly. Also, check out Wiggly Wigglers to find out more about Bakashi.