4 eco-friendly ways to be more mindful and with household waste
Despite the push towards recycling in recent years, the average British household is still throwing away over a tonne of rubbish each year — that’s the equivalent in weight to a small car (Recycling Bins).
And all that rubbish can have a serious toll on the environment, especially non-biodegradable plastics and textiles, which cannot be recycled and take a long time to break down in landfills.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve shared four easy ways to manage your household waste in a more mindful, eco-friendly way, including tips for recycling clothes and food, and how to avoid buying harmful plastics. Just read on to find out more.
Use products made from recycled materials
There’s no doubt that plastic can be a useful material: it’s strong, light, and often transparent, meaning it’s a convenient material for storage around the home. But, because it doesn’t biodegrade and is currently very difficult to recycle, plastic is a major cause of pollution and environmental damage. Plus, petroleum is also used as part of the manufacturing process, meaning that buying new plastic products can contribute to the environmentally damaging fossil fuel industry.
Using a product made from recycled materials means you aren’t contributing to the demand for more new plastic goods, and it also means you’re doing your bit to re-use waste plastic that could otherwise end up in a landfill. These tough upcycled boxes from Plastic Box Shop are made from post-consumer waste, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for some new storage solutions and don’t want to buy boxes made from new plastics.
Make the most of your clothes, and don’t throw them out
Many people continue to believe that used clothing and other textiles can’t be recycled and must go straight to landfill. But, there are actually plenty of different ways you could can re-use or recycle your unwanted clothes. Norfolk County Council has a number of recycling centres that will accept decent quality clothing, shoes, accessories and even certain household textiles, like towels or bedsheets. You can find your nearest centre, including information about what they will accept, on the Council’s recycling website.
If there are no recycling centres in your local area, then it might be easier to donate your clothes to a charity shop: this way, your unwanted goods will be benefitting others in the local area. For clothing which is too worn out to donate or recycle, then you could try using your cast-offs around the home as cleaning cloths and towels, or you could re-use them as textiles for craft projects.
Recycle your own food waste with a composter
Not only is throwing out food wasteful, but it’s also bad for the environment, too. Sending food waste to landfill increases the volume of CO2 emissions from refuse lorries, and it produces environmentally damaging methane as it decomposes, too. Fresh produce and other foodstuffs also tend to decompose very quickly, making your bins smelly and attracting flies, rats and other pests.
If you have a garden, then one effective solution is to recycle your food by turning it into compost. A hot composter like the Green Johanna from Great Green Systems is especially effective, as it will even recycle cooked food, including bones, meat and fish. This way, you’ll be recycling your food waste in a more mindful, eco-friendly way, and you’ll also get some nutrient rich compost for your garden, too.
Reduce waste paper and junk mail
As well as being a nuisance, unwanted mail items like flyers, leaflets and marketing material all increase the amount of recycling in your bin. When you consider the sheer volume of junk mail that most households receive, this adds up to a lot of extra paper waste. Even though this can be recycled, it’s still a pointless waste of paper, and all that extra recycling has the knock-on effect of increasing the number of refuse collection lorries on the roads.
If you’re inundated with junk mail, then it’s be much better for both the environment —and your sanity — to find ways to reduce the amount of junk coming through your door. This guide to reducing your unwanted mail from Recycle For Norfolk will tell you how to remove your name from nuisance mailing lists, and also includes tips for going digital to reduce the rest of your post.
If you’re worried about the effect that your household waste is having on the natural world, then there are plenty of solutions. These tips should help you to manage your rubbish in a more mindful way, meaning you can cut down your overall contribution to landfill waste.