Landfill is a big issue for the environment, particularly here in the UK where we are so desperately short of spaces to put it. Each year, we chuck out over 26 million tons of household rubbish, more than half of which gets buried underground. Two-thirds of landfill is biodegradable, leading to large quantities of greenhouse gasses being released as it decomposes and thus speeding up global warming.
If that’s not bad enough, there’s the potential for local environmental pollution caused by bacteria and chemicals seeping into the soil and rainwater where they can get into the food chain. Add to this the cost of disposing of such enormous quantities of rubbish and you can quickly see why it's so important to do your bit to reduce it.
So, how do we make a difference? Actually, it’s not that difficult. A few changes here and there can have a considerable impact, especially if more of us take up the challenge. Here are five easy ways you can help reduce landfill.
Since the introduction of the 5p plastic bag levy, the bag for life has become ubiquitous. Indeed, we’ve found 101 other great uses for them besides just doing our shopping. If it has been so easy for us to get over losing the plastic shopping bags, surely it is just as easy to buy a bottle for life and ditch the disposable water bottle?
In the UK, we use 36 million plastic bottles every day and 16 million of these end up in a landfill. So, instead of sending your kids to school with a throwaway bottle, buy them a fashionable bottle they can keep. You can do this for your gym bottles too, there are even specially designed ones you can use for cycling or jogging so you don’t have to carry them. You’ll also find that using tap water instead of bottled water can save you quite a bit over the year.
Having a clear out doesn’t mean you need to throw things into the skip. There are plenty of ways to make sure unwanted household items avoid the landfill site. Before you get rid of anything, ask yourself if it can be upcycled. A bit of inventiveness and a tin of paint can work wonders on old furniture.
If you are going to get rid of an item, try to see if it is of any value to someone else: sell it on eBay, have a garage or car boot sale, list it on Freecycle. Who knows, you might get a little money as well as helping out the environment.
If you must throw it away, do it responsibly. When you take it to the local council waste site, don’t just put it all in one bag and chuck it in the landfill-headed general rubbish skip, instead, separate it so that it can be recycled.
For years we’ve been in the habit of putting used teabags in the food recycling and coffee pods in the rubbish bin. That practice, unfortunately, has become a bit of a problem. With a huge increase in the numbers of people using coffee machines, the number of plastic and aluminium pods being thrown away has reached staggering proportions. In the UK alone we use over 350 million a year. In Germany, some local councils have even banned their use in public buildings – not surprising when you consider they can take 500 years to biodegrade.
There is, however, a happy solution for environmentally conscious coffee lovers who want the convenience of the humble coffee pod – the compostable pod. Here at Moving Beans, we’ve created a biodegradable pod that fully composts in a mere 16 weeks. This means you can now put your coffee pods in the recycling with the tea bags – which will also make it less of a hassle when you’re making a brew.
As you can see, if you want to help reduce the amount of waste going into the UK’s landfill sites, there are quite a few things you can do: give your old clothes to charity, cut down on food waste, buy a reusable drinking bottle and reuse or sell on your old household items. And if you find this thirsty work, grab yourself a great cup of coffee, knowing the pod can be recycled too.
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