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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – how to move away from a ‘throwaway society’

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Reducing our household waste and reversing our current ‘throwaway society’ has been a hot topic over the  last few years. With each government enforcing new and improved rules, we appear to be making slow progress.

Households have seen an increase in the number of wheelie bins delivered to their doors by their local councils. Starting off with a small recycling bin to pop in the occasional bit of junk mail or plastic milk bottle. Homes up and down the UK now have a variety of bins for different materials, but unnecessary waste still remains a huge issue.

Supermarkets now embrace the misfits

It is only in the last 2-3 years that bigger corporations, such as supermarkets have made a move and decided to take action.

It was no secret that when buying in fruit and veg, all products went through a strict quality control. All pieces of fruit sold to supermarkets had to be a certain size and shape to make the cut, however this has resulted in a huge amount of waste. In the past, fruit and veg were being discarded simply because they were a slightly odd shape, or because they weren’t as big as supermarket buyers specified.

Supermarkets are now making more of a conscious effort to offer their consumers the option to buy these misshapen items. You may also notice more locally sourced products in the store aisles, featuring fruit and veg that have come directly from your local farmers.

Ignoring the food expiration dates can help reduce waste

All expiration dates stamped on food labels are there to give us a guide of just how fresh the products we are buying actually are.

Most expiration and ‘display by’ dates are there for the benefit of supermarkets, to ensure they are sticking to strict food safety guidelines. However many households take the expiration dates to heart and throw out a great deal of good quality food, when it could still be fresh enough to use.

For items such as fruit and veg, it’s important to use your own intuition to decide whether something is still good to eat. The life of fruit and veg also depends on how you choose to store it after you take it home, items kept refrigerated tend to last longer than those kept at room temperature.

Using the correct bins can greatly cut down unnecessary waste

A recent study by GOV.co.uk recently reported that on average, 8.5 million tonnes of waste is taken to landfill, and that is only in England. If more households took a second out of their day to separate the items they throw out, that number could be greatly reduced.

Items such as food wastage, whether that is food that has gone off or cuttings from fruit and vegetables, can be disposed of using proper food and garden waste bins, or home composting. Only a quarter of local councils will separate food waste from other waste, meaning it’s important to start at home when it comes to the correct disposal of food wastage.

It’s not only food wastage that is an issue. There is a great deal of paper and plastic waste that could be properly recycled. Recycling wheelie bins are provided by the majority of councils as a standard, and by using these bins you can help to half the amount of wastage that makes its way to your main wheelie bin.

Companies such as London’s Enviro Waste aim to drive home the importance of recycling, reusing and properly disposing of waste products. It’s not simply the amount of waste we are creating as a society, but the effect that waste has on our environment as a whole. By taking the time to properly dispose of our waste we are not only helping to vanquish the idea of a ‘throwaway society’, but also helping to make our carbon footprint that little bit smaller.

 

 

Environment

How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener

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Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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