We have been trying for some time to cut the waste that goes out in our weekly bin collection and are frequently surprised when we still often have 3 or 4 rubbish sacks going out. In order to see exactly what we throw away we have spent a couple of weeks breaking the waste down into categories.
We already have a composting bin, in which we put anything that will break down, such as fruit and veg waste, paper, kitchen towels and small cardboard items. In addition to this we have recycling sacks from the local council. We are able to recycle cardboard, plastic bottles (but no other plastics) tins and paper. The other waste we have broken down into food waste that cannot be composted and non food waste that cannot be recycled, mainly other plastics. We also take all the glass to the recycling centre on a weekly basis.
At the end of one week we ended up with more recycling than usual, a total of 3 sacks. In addition to this we had half a sack of food waste, 2 sacks of compost which of course eventually goes straight back into the garden and still 2 sacks of other waste.
Looking at these two sacks of other waste which cannot be recycled or composted they were made up almost entirely of other plastic such as plastic cartons and shrink wrapping. based on this it is my opinion that supermarkets use too much non recyclable plastic packaging on their products. If this makes up the bulk of our waste and we are doing everything possible to recycle/compost the rest, then it seems the problem is not with our recycling efforts but with the over use of packaging on day to day items.
Based on our little experiment we will continue to split up the waste in this way because it actively helps us to cut down on our waste and think about what we throw away. I will now be making an effort when shopping to avoid anything that includes excess packaging and shrink wrap to see if I can reduce the rubbish a little more.