Connect with us


Stepping Away From A ‘Throwaway Society’ : Reduce, Reuse, Recycle



Stepping Away From A 'Throwaway Society' : Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In recent times the reversal of our ‘throwaway society’ and the reduction of our household waste has been a hotly discussed subject. Progress is slow as each government introduce new and improved rules.

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 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.




Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations



green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

Continue Reading


How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions



auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.


The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

Continue Reading