Rethinking our Rubbish
Waste is everyone’s problem. Throwing things into the bin may seem an easy way to get rid of rubbish from your home, but it is not the end of the story. The contents of your bin are not sorted. Instead, they are taken to landfill sites in Wiltshire, where they may take many generations to rot, if they do so at all.
It costs money to collect our waste, transport it to dumps, bury it in the ground and manage these sites. This is a cost we all bear through our Council taxes. If we care about our air, water supply and wildlife, we must care about the cost of this rubbish to our environment as well.
In 2012, according to their website, Wiltshire Council spent £4.4 million on Landfill Tax (£64 per tonne). The cost of this tax will rise to £80 per tonne in 2014. If we send less to landfill, it may help to prevent rises in Council Tax.
In 2005, Wiltshire’s recycling rate was reported as 27%. In December 2012, the Council reported that residents had recycled 50% of waste; a great improvement, but no room for complacency.
By rethinking our rubbish we not only reduce the amount of waste we create, but often save money as well. We can also turn our household waste into a resource for someone else – this directory shows just how many organisations want items that might otherwise end up in landfill.
Here are just a few ideas –
We can reduce our rubbish
For every 1 tonne of household waste that we produce, 5 tonnes of waste are created during the manufacturing stage and 20 tonnes of waste are produced when the raw materials are initially extracted (e.g. by mining or deforestation). All types of manufacturing process, including recycling, lead to a certain amount of waste. It is, therefore, important to reduce the amount of rubbish that we create in the first place rather than looking upon recycling as the answer. This directory gives many examples of ways in which you can reduce your waste. These include:
Stopping junk mail
Buying long-lived or refillable products, rechargeable batteries and energy-efficient light bulbs
Not buying disposable or excessively packaged products
Buying items in larger bottles and boxes (e.g. washing powder and shampoo) to reduce the amount of packaging required, relative to the volume that you are buying
Not buying things you don't need. I clear out/tidy cupboards and drawers regularly, which helps to stop me buying things I already have in stock and alerts me to use by/best before dates on food (Shirley Pryor)
We can reuse our rubbish
If you cannot reduce certain parts of your rubbish, the next best thing is to reuse it, either yourself or by passing it on to someone else. Sometimes an item is good enough for reuse as soon as you have finished with it. Other objects may need to be repaired or refurbished. Reuse of items prevents the need for new ones to be manufactured. Examples of reuse include:
Using the blank side of printed paper as scrap paper
Buying labels to reuse envelopes
Buying from, and donating to, second-hand shops
Repairing items rather than buying new ones
Buying and selling secondhand items at car boot or jumble sales, or on the ebay website (www.ebay.com)
We can recycle our rubbish
If an item cannot be reused it may be possible to recycle it. Although recycling creates a certain amount of waste, still has to be transported and uses energy in the process, it avoids the vast amounts of waste that would otherwise result from using virgin, raw materials to create a new product. Recycling includes:
Using recycling banks, kerbside collections and the organisations mentioned in the directory
Buying recycled goods