5 ways to avoid waste in the home
Posted 14 October 2016
Sustainability and conservation of the environment have quite rightly become headline news in recent years. But curbing our energy usage, paying attention to our recycling practices and reducing the food we waste in the home can be difficult when the modern lifestyle leaves many of us so time poor.
If you are short on time but keen to do your bit, cutting down on waste is a good place to start. Here are our top five tips for your reading pleasure.
1. Use your freezer
Food waste is a big problem in the UK. Research has shown that, every year, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food – and over half of this could still be eaten. In order to avoid this, get yourself reacquainted with your freezer. Try freezing fresh produce that is just about to turn, and you have a great option for smoothies and juices in the future.
Smoothies are a particularly good way to use up fruit and veg that’s just about to go off. Turning your fresh produce into a flavoursome drink mask the soggy texture that can put you off eating an overly rip banana or avocado, for example.
If smoothies aren’t for you, try cooking big batches of soup or stews and freezing them in plastic containers. Not only is this a great way to avoid waste, it also gives you the option of simply defrosting and microwaving a homemade meal on days when you’re too tired to cook – a more environmentally-friendly (and less costly) option than ordering a takeaway.
2. Refill containers
Alongside food waste, unnecessary packaging is another big contributor to household waste figures. Fortunately, cutting down on extra packaging can be easily done – even though it seems to be beyond our control. When buying fresh produce, always purchase items loose wherever possible.
Local farmers’ markets are a great option for this, as they will allow you to use your own container for items such as berries and peas - items that are always heavily packaged in the supermarket. If you live near a whole foods shop or bulk purchasing shop, refill glass jars with goods such as rice, flour and oil. Not only does this remove the need for extra packaging completely, but glass jars and bottles make a beautiful aesthetic addition to the kitchen.
3. Avoid disposables
It may seem obvious, but avoiding disposable products wherever possible can be a difficult task. From paper plates to plastic bags, we throw away many tonnes of disposable items each year as a nation. Use a tea towel or dishcloth for surface cleaning, rather than wasteful wipes. Invest in a heavy-duty water bottle, as well as a travel coffee mug if you’re a coffee shop fan. If you absolutely must purchase disposable items, make sure you’re buying them from recycled materials – and recycle it yourself after use!
4. Repurpose worn out items
Old clothing and broken possessions don’t need to be consigned to the bin – turn them into something else instead. Sites like Pinterest are full of brilliant craft ideas if you’re a creative, but a lot of the time you don’t even need instructions to find a new use for something you once would have thrown out.
5. Just say no
When you are offered free items, whether they are from friends or businesses, it might seem wasteful to turn them down – but in fact, the opposite is true. Do not accept any items that you simply do not need. How many times has a free or reduced item sat gathering dust in your home, only to be eventually thrown out? These freebies are sure to find a good home with someone else, so cut down on waste by simply saying no.
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