Christmas is over for another year and the great new-year clear-up is underway, at least in our house. When I think about all the wrapping paper, left over food, unwanted gifts, Christmas trees and all those food containers – that’s a lot of waste. So what can we do about it?
Paper, card, tins and glass are easily recycled and many councils will collect and recycle real Christmas trees, but if I lived near the Linton Zoological park, I’d send my tree there – they end up as toys for the lions.
And the Christmas leftovers? A not-for-profit café in Bristol gets its ingredients from household leftover donations and the skips of major retailers. As well as throwing away perfectly edible food, supermarkets have been criticised for only selling fruit and veg that fit a certain standard. As a result, UK farms throw away tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables. Thankfully, at least one UK supermarket has seen sense. Asda is trialling “wonky veg” for sale at a reduced price. Let’s encourage them and ask other stores to do the same. You could also volunteer for the Gleaning network UK,which collects “ugly” food from producers and redistributes it to those in need.
All this got me thinking about recycling in General. It turns out pretty much anything is reusable or recyclable if you have the imagination. Chewing gum, printer cartridges, cigarette butts, toilets, dentures, human and animal hair , sheep poo, even dead pets! I was surprised to learn that disposable nappies need not end up in landfill: Millions of nappies are thrown away everyday, each taking over 500 years to decompose. But this needn’t happen, Knowaste turn nappies, feminine hygiene and incontinence products into things like pet bedding and construction and manufacturing components. Spread the word and ask your council to consider developing collection services.
If that sounds a bit gross, how about recycling the water from sewage into drinking water? Or powering vehicles from liposuctioned body fat? Looks like Eddie Izzard was right – Recycle, the possibilities are endless.