Thursday, 26 January 2012

A Day of Rubbish

It's easy to think about the big environmental problems and feel like there's nothing one little person can do but eventually the green pennies add up to green pounds. It's been a while since I looked at my day-to-day actions and how I can green them, today I kept track of all the rubbish I created, what from and whether I really needed to. 

I had an early shift at work so a quick breakfast of porridge and a yoghurt at 6:20am was a good start. With a drink of orange juice this left rubbish of the yoghurt pot, the bag the porridge came in and the orange juice carton (typical that today was the day the carton got finished!). The foil top to the yoghurt was recyclable, but the rest was for the bin, because we don't have tetra pack recycling in Preston. I've been using up an impulse buy of those portioned up porridge packs but soon I should be back to cardboard packaging which can be recycled. 

At work no more rubbish until lunch time. I'd brought a packed lunch in a reusable box so no waste packaging there. Except when I made the lunch the bread was in a plastic and cardboard wrapper, the sandwich filler was in a glass jar and the fruit I took was wrapped in plastic when I bought it from the shop. Often I make my own bread and then I only need to recycle the mix's paper packet. Also my normal fruit comes from Riverford in paper bags which can be used to put food waste in for composting, I'd just run out so had to buy some from the local Co-op. Planning ahead could avoid this so I need to make sure I plan my fruit to avoid wasting packaging. The glass and cardboard can be recycled but there was still a lot of plastic for the bin. I did remember to take my fruit rubbish home for the green waste bin though, as there's no composting at work.

Once I got home I had another yoghurt (more plastic and foil) and then later reheated leftover lasagne from last night. This is great because I didn't need to cook anything, reheating for a few minutes in the microwave is a lot greener than cooking a whole new meal. But the salad which went with my dinner made more plastic waste and if I'm strict I should include half of the rubbish from making the lasagne in the first place. So one tin can and some more plastic from the meat. 

Another yoghurt (I'm a bit addicted at the moment!) later and my total day of rubbish is a few bits of foil, glass and cardboard recycling but quite a lot of plastic that got binned. I normally think I'm careful about packaging when I shop but there's still a lot of unrecyclable plastic being created. Maybe there just aren't any options which avoid this plastic but I'm sure I can get my rubbish down and recycling up more. If we all threw away one less piece of plastic a day the UK population would be throwing away 22.6 billion less bits of plastic a year, and that doesn't sound that small to me.

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