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In the UK we generate approximately 37 millions tonnes of waste a year.
This Monday was the start of Zero Waste Week. An award winning annual awareness campaign founded by Rachelle Strauss in 2008, to demonstrate means and methods to reduce waste, foster community support and bring awareness to the increasing problem of environmental waste and pollution.
To celebrate this, we will showcase methods of reusing everyday items to reduce the amount of waste we create in the UK, so you can be more eco-friendly and trendy.
In the UK, we currently recycle around 60% of all glass containers, such as bottles and jars. However, Switzerland and Finland far exceed our efforts, recycling a whopping 90% of their glass containers. Unfortunately, even recycling glass has its flaws. Glass still needs to be transported to recycling plants which contributes to a increase of our carbon emissions. So instead of recycling glass, why don’t we reuse it?
Once you have finished your delightful store-bought sauce or bottled wine, wash it, and transform it into something useful or aesthetically pleasing – Here are some examples.
More clothes are being made, bought, and thrown away than ever before – clothing production has doubled since 2000, and people bought 60% more garments in 2014 than they did at the turn of the millennium. The fashion industry currently accounts for 10% of humanity’s total carbon emissions more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
To be more sustainable, why not reuse or alter the clothes you have? The material from clothes is very versatile and can be made into any new garment or accessory. Healthline has created an excellent guide on how you can convert your old clothes into a usable facemask, to protect yourself from the looming winter spike of COVID19.
Donate your clothes to less fortunate or your friends and family to reduce waste. More than half of those surveyed by ‘The Times’ admitted throwing away perfectly wearable garments, rather than salvaging them for future use or donating them to friends, family, or charity shops.
7 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK, costing the average household £470 a year. To make things worse, half of this food waste could have been eaten, according to the Food standard agency.
Food can be reused if it is treated well. We recommend you freeze your food by its use by date, if you aren’t going to eat it any time soon. Certain leftovers can also be frozen if stored properly, or be turned into your next delicious meal using BBC’s leftover recipes.
At the supermarket we tend to buy too much. You can practice portion control to reduce food waste, and if you have bought too much why not donate your excess food to a foodbank and help someone less fortunate? Brixton is home to the trendy Peoples Fridge where certified businesses leave food in a fridge for anyone to pick up food and eat at home.
Another person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Your old furniture and electronics can be given a new life. Through our partnerships with organisations like ReYooz, we are able to ensure that all reusable items find new homes, either with UK businesses or charities. In the last year 161,105 Kg of Waste Saved from Landfill, saved 213,884 Kg of carbon emissions and donated £514,274 to good causes.
If you do want to make a quick buck, you can also try selling your old furniture and electronics online using marketplaces like Ebay and Facebook marketplace.