It has been estimated that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Whilst this may sound shocking to some, I imagine it is not a big surprise to the Canal and River Trust team who have been rolling out their huge restoration and repairs programme (worth £45m) recently, which has involved a four month long survey of litter. Even when not running this programme, the Trust spend an average of £1m per year on removing rubbish from British waterways; money which could, of course, be much better spent.
What has been found in our waterways?
Alongside the usual litter offenders, such as plastic packaging, bottles, cigarette butts, and plastic shopping bags, the Canal and River Trust have pulled the following items out of our waterways in recent years:
In the UK we are a nation of banana lovers – in fact, bananas are our most-loved fruit, but sadly they are also our most wasted food, as the majority of us enjoy eating our bananas before they have fully ripened. So, what do we do with all our overripe bananas? Sadly, many end up in the bin, and then in landfill. There’s no need for this to happen to any banana though; there are so many things you can do with a black spotted banana. We have collected eight ideas below for you. Don’t chuck ’em – use ’em!
You could make…
Peel your bananas and chuck them in the freezer in a reusable, freezer-safe container. Once they are frozen, remove them from the freezer and blend in a food processor to create a dessert which has an uncanny resemblance to ice cream, and isn’t overly banana-like in flavour either. Add other foods in at the blending stage to change up the flavour, such as peanut butter, cinnamon, or strawberries.
You may have heard talk of coconut oil, and wondered what all the fuss was about. After all, for many years we were told that all fats are bad. Now, it has come to light that this is not the case, and saturated fats, which were always frowned upon in the past, aren’t the artery-cloggers they were once portrayed to be. In fact, our body needs ‘good fats’, which is what coconut oil is; it is packed full of healthy fatty acids too, including Lauric Acid (which also exists in breast milk!)
So, what are the benefits of using coconut oil?
It has been discovered that coconut oil offers many health benefits for the human body, including antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. So, whilst ingesting it is good for you, so is applying it to your skin. The best part about it all? Buying one product in bulk to perform all of the tasks below means you are cutting down on your waste output significantly! Imagine how many bottles and containers you are cutting out if you just use a large jar of coconut oil for all of the below. Coconut oil is, therefore, a great choice if you’re wanting to move towards a zero waste lifestyle. Let’s take a look at how you can use it.
You’ve got to the bottom of a pot of jam, marmalade, mayonnaise, or olives. Now what do you do with the jar? In our house we often reuse our glass jars for other food storage: wholesale nuts and seeds, the remains of a tin of baked beans, or some leftovers from dinner. However, what if you don’t need another glass jar? What if your kitchen cupboards are full? We’ve listed 25 ideas below of ways to utilise your empty jar. Which will you try?
Fill your glass jar with some fresh water and fill it with fresh flowers from your garden to create a lovely, free vase.
Make a batch of jam, marmalade, lemon curd or chutney and gift it in your jar. Jazz the jar up with a label and some pretty ribbon. Your recipient will love it!
You might be surprised to learn that the bathroom produces a lot of waste, but it really does: shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, shower gel bottles, hand-wash bottles, soap packaging, disposable razors, facial wipes, bathroom cleaner bottles, toilet roll inner tubes… you get the idea. In fact, most of our bathroom waste can be recycled, but research suggests most of us don’t even think about recycling when it comes to the bathroom. However, why not go one better than that and cut down on the waste so it doesn’t exist in the first place? The planet will thank you! It’s just about breaking habits.
It’s a little known fact that us Brits wear just 70 per cent of the clothes that we have stored away in our wardrobes, which leaves us with a total of 1.7 billion unused items. On average, a consumer keeps their garments for three years, but even more shocking than this is the fact that something might be frequently worn in the first year, and then phased into the stockpile of unworn clothes later on. That is why the average British closet is so overstuffed: we don’t wear all of the clothes we own.
The spending habits of the average person in the West have changed dramatically over the last hundred or so years when it comes to buying clothing. Between 2002 and 2003, for example, people in the US spent, on average, four per cent of their income on clothes, whereas back between the years of 1934 and 1946, clothing used up 12 per cent of people’s incomes. The current average expenditure per item in the USA is $14.60. Don’t go thinking that we are all consuming less though. On average, just one person in the UK will produce 70 Kg of textiles waste per year – that is a lot of clothing. Cheap, fast fashion means we are spending less yet buying more.
This competition has ended, and the winners were Angela Evans and Sophie Jayne. Thanks to all who entered.
Composting has great benefits for you and the Earth, including: dramatically cutting your household waste levels, lessening the amount of waste being sent to landfill, and creating a nourishing matter for your garden plants – saving you money, as you won’t need to buy any special products from the garden centre.
Here at Forge Recycling we are keen to encourage UK residents to get composting, and because of this we are giving away not just one but TWO compost bins for your garden. Two lucky winners will have a Blackwall 330 litre black compost converter delivered to their gardens, courtesy of Forge.
These bins are made from recycled plastic, and are guaranteed for 15 years, so you’ll have many years of composting ahead. Their dimensions are 100cm (H) x 80cm (W), and they require no assembly.
If, like me, you get infuriated and uncomfortable about litter in areas you frequently pass, perhaps you would like to organise a litter pick to clear the area of rubbish and return it to its lovely, natural state. Planning a litter pick is a bit harder than it sounds, so below we have gathered some useful tips and created a step-by-step guide for you.
Choose a spot
Choosing a spot won’t be hard; the reason you want to organise a litter pick is probably because you keep walking or driving past an area that is inundated with rubbish. It might be some woodland, at the side of a canal, on farmland, or on a town centre street. It could be the street you live on!
Check to see if there is already a local group
This handy tool by LitterAction lets you search for litter picking groups in your area. You could also have a search on Google. If there is a group near to the spot you’re wanting to pick, get in touch with the group leader and see if they would be interested in picking the area you have chosen. If so, join them. If not, follow our guide below. Continue reading How to organise a local litter pick
Statistics tell us that adults in the UK are slowly but surely getting better at recycling – especially since the introduction of the fairly recent plastic bag charge, which has forced people to think about their actions – but what about our children? Waste and recycling is tackled by the National Curriculum in schools from Key Stage 1 now, but we all know that kids tend to learn some things better through example rather than simple spoken word. Meaning, if you don’t engage your child in recycling at home, they are less likely to be interested in it, or do it themselves when they are older.
So, how can you get your child into recycling at home? Follow our tips below.
Lead by example
Children love to pretend to be adults, so if your little one sees you reusing and recycling at home (and when you are out and about) they are far more likely to want to do the same, and learn more about what it is you are doing. Pique their interest early on, and normalise your actions.
Make recycling fun
Help your child to learn about recycling in a fun way by setting up a home recycling centre, with different boxes for each type of recyclable. This will be a great game for a small child. Label each box, and let your child explore the world of recycling through learning about the different types and choosing which box to place each item in. Why not make up a song about recycling which you can sing when you’re doing this? Continue reading How to get kids into recycling
Due to the devastating flooding that has blighted Leeds and other parts of the country, Forge Waste & Recycling has placed a large skip on the corner of Kirkstall and Haddon Road – just outside Café Enzo.