Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Salford City Council launches food waste scheme

Salford City Council (SCC) has begun a new weekly food waste collection scheme as part of a recycling overhaul, to help increase recycling rates and ‘reduce the costs of sending waste to landfill’. This comes after SCC’s plans to invest in improved food recycling facilities for all Salford residents were approved in 2010.

Weekly Collections
Under the new scheme, residents are being asked to deposit their food waste into pink-lidded garden waste bins, which were delivered in March, or 23-litre external food caddies if they do not have a pink-lidded bin.

Salford residents have been encouraged to deposit their food waste in garden waste bins rather than the weekly refuse collection bin since September 2011, but, until now, the food waste bins had been collected fortnightly. Under the new policy, collected food waste will be sent to be recycled at Rochdale, Stockport, Tafford or Bolton’s In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facilities. The recycled compost will be used as fertiliser throughout the northwest.

According to SCC, the new service ‘will allow [residents] to recycle more and could reduce the cost of waste disposal by over one million pounds a year’. The changes to food waste collections will run alongside fortnightly collections of blue bins (paper, cardboard and drinks cartons), brown bins (glass, cans and plastic bottles) and black bins (non-recyclable waste).

“Much easier to recycle”
Speaking of the launch of the new scheme Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment, said: "Food waste typically makes up a third of the average household bin where people don't recycle or compost it. It currently costs the city over £17 million to send this waste to landfill and if we don't change this will continue to go up each year. It makes perfect sense to change the service to boost recycling and save money.

Adding that weekly collections will ”make it much easier to recycle, not least because all the bins will be collected on the same day from now on”, Merrett went on to outline the frequency of collections under the changes to the recycling scheme

“Food and garden waste goes in the pink-lidded bin or outdoor food bin which will be collected every week. Paper and cardboard which goes in the blue bin and glass, plastic bottles and cans which go in the brown bin will be collected every two weeks. Anything else, which can’t be recycled at a household waste centre, goes in the black bin, which will be collected every two weeks.”

Monday, 22 April 2013

Council introduces half-size rubbish bins to encourage residents to throw less out

Residents in Brixton, south London, will now be given the new waste bins by Lambeth council, which is trying to bring down its disposal costs and the amount of non-recyclable waste people throw away. The common 240-litre containers will be replaced with 140-litre bins, which campaigners say are far too small for an average family's weekly refuse.

It is thought that any extra rubbish left besides the smaller bins will not be collected.

Rushmoor Borough Council in Hampshire introduced the smaller size bins three years ago, with residents accusing them of "punishing" householders in the borough who used a survey to demand their bins were emptied each week.

People living in flats in Brixton will keep their full-size bins, according to Brixton Blog.

Households will also be expected to use two new food waste bins, a small indoor one and a larger outdoor one. These will be emptied once a week, reported the blog.

A council report revealed plans to avoid removing recyclable items that were placed in waste bins – this measure would be introduced “after a reasonable period for adjustment and education”, it said.

According to Lambeth Council, residents put more than 9,000 tonnes of recyclable material into refuse bins every year - higher than most other London boroughs.

The report also said that bringing in these smaller 140-litre wheelie bins would initially cost just under a £1 million as a start-up cost, but save £415,000 per year in disposal costs. 


Friday, 19 April 2013

Top tips to reduce food and money waste

1. Write a list!
Menu plan your meals for a week. Check the ingredients in your fridge and cupboards, then write a shopping list for just the extras you need.

2. Stick to the list!
Take your list with you and stick to it when you're in the store. Don't be tempted by offers and don't shop when you're hungry — you'll come back with more than you need.

3. Keep a healthy fridge.
Check that the seals on your fridge are good and check the fridge temperature too. Food needs to be stored between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius for maximum freshness and longevity.

4. Don't throw it away!
Fruit that is just going soft can be made into smoothies or fruit pies. Vegetables that are starting to wilt can be made into soup.

5. Use up your leftovers.
Instead of scraping leftovers into the bin, why not use them for tomorrow's ingredients? A bit of tuna could be added to pasta and made into a pasta bake. A tablespoon of cooked vegetables can be the base for a crock pot meal.

6. Rotate.
When you buy new food from the store, bring all the older items in your cupboards and fridge to the front. Put the new food towards the back and you run less risk of finding something moldy at the back of your food stores!

7. Serve small amounts.
Serve small amounts of food with the understanding that everybody can come back for more once they've cleared their plate. This is especially helpful for children, who rarely estimate how much they can eat at once. Any leftovers can be cooled, stored in the fridge and used another day.

8. Buy what you need.
Buy loose fruits and vegetables instead of prepacked, then you can buy exactly the amount you need. Choose meats and cheese from a deli so that you can buy what you want.

9. Freeze!
If you only eat a small amount of bread, then freeze it when you get home and take out a few slices a couple of hours before you need them. Likewise, batch cook foods so that you have meals ready for those evenings when you are too tired to cook.

10. Turn it into garden food.
Some food waste is unavoidable, so why not set up a compost bin for fruit and vegetable peelings? In a few months you will end up with rich, valuable compost for your plants. If you have cooked food waste, then a kitchen composter will do the trick. Just feed it with your scraps (you can even put fish and meat in it), sprinkle over a layer of special microbes and leave to ferment. The resulting product can be used on houseplants and in the garden.

Ever-brighter lamp recycling results in the UK

The UK's lamp recycling rate jumped from 29.4% in 2011 to 39.5% last year - thus continuing the annual improvement seen since data were first recorded for the sector in 2008, notes Recolight, the domestic e-scrap compliance scheme for the lighting industry.

Calling the results for 2012 'particularly strong', Recolight asserts that the increase in the recycling rate partly originates from a reduction in the tonnage of new lamps put on the market but without a corresponding reduction in tonnages of lamps recycled.

Figures released by the UK's Environment Agency show that the domestic lamp recycling rate was 23.2% in 2008, 24.1% in 2009 and 26% in 2010. For 2012, the UK business recycling rate for all e-scrap sectors was 'just 5%' compared to the aforementioned lamp industry result of just below 40%, it is observed.

Recolight's ceo Nigel Harvey comments: 'The lighting industry has set the benchmark for business WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) recycling; the 2012 figures demonstrate that we are well on the way to meeting the first set of higher targets outlined within the recast WEEE Directive.' 

At Emerge we collect fluorescent light bulbs as well as IT+WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment). We can offer a comprehensive waste management solution for organisations and schools across Greater Manchester. Tel. 0161 223 8200

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Way to Discern Trash from Treasure

The saying goes, “one person’s trash is another’s treasure,” and with Goedzak, treasure is a whole lot easier to find. Goedzak, meaning good bag in Dutch, is a special garbage bag for items that are still useable, making it easier to discern what is trash and what items can be repurposed or enjoyed by another person. The bags are transparent, so those passing by can see the goods inside and treat themselves to something “new.”

Created by the Dutch design company Waarmakers, the idea for Goedzak came out of a research project entitled Design for Altruism, whose goal was to create a product that will positively benefit others. Waarmakers are currently working on distribution of Goedzak in the Netherlands. Here’s hoping that this good bag will become a treasure-seeker-staple across the globe. 


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Fresher for Longer

EMERGE Recycling

A major study into food waste by WRAP  has revealed some interesting attitudes to packaging. The results have lead to a new campaign to help dispel some myths and educate people on how best to keep food fresher for longer.

 The study, which is called Consumer attitides to Food Waste and Food Packaging found that more than half those who participated in the research unpack food when they get it home, believing that it is better preserved outside its packaging.

WRAP says: 
"On the 5th March Love Food Hate Waste launched Fresher for Longer; a call to action to keep our food at its best for longer in the home, therefore wasting less and saving money. Only 13% of us realise that the packaging our food comes in can help us keep it fresher for longer at home and 61% of us mistakenly think that keeping food in its original pack will make it sweat and go off quicker. From zip locks to breathable fruit and veg packs modern packaging has been cunningly designed to help keep food at its best."

Amongst the materials produced for the new campaign are a How do I store my...? Wheel with advice on how to store bread, fruit, potatoes and vegetables.

A series of humorous  postcards have been produced which should provide a memorable reminder about how to store different types of food. For example, potatoes are best stored in a dry, cool dark place, and the postcard says: 'I want to sit in the dark with you'.

The materials, and the report can be downloaded from this web address: