Waste - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We generate 100 million tonnes of waste in the UK every year from households, commerce and industry combined.

Most of this ends up in landfill!


This is a behind the scene photo from the Channel 4 series Dumped. This series was about 11 unsuspecting volunteers left on one of Britain's biggest landfill sites. Their challenge was to survive off the rubbish the rest of us have thrown out. The Dumped series aimed to highlight Britain's mountain of waste. Every year every one of us throws away half a tonne of rubbish. With only just over 25% of that becomes recycled. The rest ends up in landfill.

Recycle more

Recycling is something that is now easily accessible to everyone. Most councils now offer kerbside recycling collection. If your council doesn’t offer kerbside collection, check out their website for your nearest recycling centre. Recycle everything you can.  Seventy percent of everything we bring into our homes can be recycled, yet we recycle only one third of it! In the UK, we use 3,300 million bottles each year, of which only 25% are recycled. Recycling just one plastic bottle can save the energy needed to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours.

Many things you may not expect can be recycled from engine oil to envelopes, tinfoil to TVs.  So before you send your rubbish to landfill check with your local authority or www.recyclenow.com to see what they’ll accept.  Recycling an aluminium drink cans saves 95% compared to making a new one from scratch. You could even get cash for unwanted items such as mobile phones and cameras.  Check on line for companies who’ll pay for your trade-ins or for charities who can profit from your ‘junk’.

The best way to reduce your packaging waste is to avoid it in the first place

Buy less packaging, particularly plastic. It depletes our oil supplies and because much of it can’t be recycled, it ends up on landfill sites.

Buy recycled products such as paper and toilet roll.  This saves raw materials and gives value to the ‘waste’ you out for recycling.

Buy concentrated products and refill packs.  Not only does it reduce packaging but it saves you money.

Use a reusable shopping bag to reduce the need for plastic carrier bags.  45% of shoppers claim to have purchased a reusable bag but only 12% use one!  Keep yours by the front door or with your shopping list so you remember to take it with you.

Food waste

An estimated 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is produced each year in the UK, most of which could have been eaten. Each year 60% by weight and 70% by value of the 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is potentially avoidable. On average every person in the UK throws away £424 worth of food each year.

18% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions derive from food production. Food ending up on landfill emits methane - a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Research suggests that about 40% (by weight) of the food thrown away that could have been eaten is fresh fruit & vegetables (which includes potatoes). 

Meat and fish, bread and other bakery products, dairy produce and rice & pasta are all in the "top 5" most wasted foods.

The fact is that we throw away perfectly good food from all food groups. Whether it’s a couple of chicken breasts which have gone past their use by date, or the last few slices of bread which have gone stale or a chunk of cheese which has gone mouldy.

To find out more go to www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Useful tips to reduce your food waste

  • Plan menus to prevent you from overbuying, store food properly and be inventive with leftovers to turn them into another meal.
  • Freeze your food.  If you have a freezable food item in your fridge or pantry you know you won’t eat before its use by or best by date, stick it in the freezer and eat it at a later date.
  • Understand the labels: Use by dates are displayed on food items that goes off quickly.  Don't use any food or drink after the end of the 'use by' date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine.   However 'Use by' does not always mean 'eat by'. If a food can be frozen its life can be extended beyond the 'use by' date. Best before dates are about quality, not safety.  So if you have a food item past its best before date don’t throw it away immediately, if it looks and smells fine it will probably still be ok to eat.
  • Avoidable household food waste unnecessarily generates 18 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
    Eliminating this waste alone would deliver emissions reductions equivalent to taking one in every five cars off UK roads!
  • Over 30% of the average household bin can be composted.  This diverts waste from landfill, reduces harmful gas emissions and provides free compost for your garden.
  • If 3kg of food waste is composted instead of being sent to landfill, 1kg of CO2 would be saved.
  • Don’t fall for the 2 for 1 offers at the supermarket. It only makes you buy more than you need and you could end up with more food waste.
  • Cycle or walk to the supermarket, you are less likely to stock up on unnecessary items if you have to carry them all the way home.
  • If you are a fruit & vegetables lover invest in a juicer, that way you can turn your fruit & veg leftovers into delicious juice!
  • Don’t bin bruised fruit & veg, just cut of the bruises
  • Don’t go food shopping on a empty stomach or you will be bound to fall for the unnecessary temptations
  • Buy loose fruit and veg, therefore you will only buy what you need. The same goes for meat & fish, if you buy it over the counter you will only buy the amount that you need. It is usually cheaper as well, try it!
  • Buy quality not quantity. That way it will be harder for you to throw anything away.
  • Keep a food diary for a month and write down everything that gets consumed and what gets thrown away. That way you will be able to see what you buy too much off and will be able to reduce it.