Five greener resolutions to try in 2020
Like many of us around the country, you probably started 2020 with the best of intensions – eat healthier, go to the gym, learn a new language or even spend less time on your phone. The bad news is that many of these New Year’s resolutions won’t even make it past January let alone see another Hogmanay.
The good news is that it’s never too late to create a new habit. Here are five ideas to kick start your greener resolutions for 2020…
Adopt the mantra: refuse, reuse, recycle
Although we don’t recommend starting your mornings staring into the mirror repeating “refuse, reuse, recycle”, adopting this little mantra is a great way to think about how we consume products in our everyday lives. It’s also known as the ‘waste hierarchy’ – a rank according to what is best for the environment with preventing waste in the top spot.
Refuse…try to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Turn down that paper napkin with your sandwich or say no to a carrier bag by bringing your own.
Reuse...how can you get the most out of an item? Could you give your old couch a new lease of life and re-upholster it or donate to a reuse organisation, hold on to glass jars for refills, buy second hand clothes?
Recycle…if you’re unable to refuse or reuse then recycling the materials you throw away means they can be used to make new products.
Be a better recycler in 2020
Make a point of checking what your local authority can and can’t collect and set up a collection system at home to make it easier and quicker to separate your items.
Find out what else can be recycled out with your household recycling collection – this could be at your local recycling centre, your supermarket or schools and nurseries as many now have Terracycle schemes available that collect items such as crisp packets and baby food pouches.
Ask for a takeaway box for restaurant leftovers
Every year, 53,500 tonnes of food is wasted from Scottish restaurants, costing an estimated £64 million. Around 34% of this is estimated to be ‘plate waste’ – that’s good food left behind by the diner at the end of the meal to you and me.
According to research by Zero Waste Scotland, people are keen to be offered a ‘doggy bag’ at the end of their meal, but two-fifths are too shy to ask for one.
Make it one of your greener resolutions for 2020 to ask for a take-home box next time you can’t manage to polish off the lasagne or the chicken bhuna has you filled to the brim. Just keep in mind these food safety top tips:
- Food should be refrigerated within two hours
- Don’t freeze
- Reheat food until steaming hot
- Only reheat food once
- Don’t keep or reheat rice
- Eat within two days
Say no to single-use
Whether it’s baby wipes, coffee cups or water bottles, pledge to give up a single-use item that you use a lot. If it sounds like a scary thought, aim to go a week or even a month without the item to start with – you’ll find that things like carrying a reusable cup with you on the morning commute or keeping washable wipes around the house quickly become a good new habit.
You might find that at this moment in time you can’t live without it, and that’s fine too. Just try to reduce your use. It’s about finding out what works for you.
Do a general waste audit to discover what you throw out
Even with the best of intentions some waste is unavoidable, but most people don’t know how much rubbish they actually throw out. There’s only one way to find out and the results may surprise you!
One way to conduct your own waste audit is to empty the contents of your general waste bin onto newspaper after a defined period and then take a note of the items that you’ve chucked out. Or, a slightly less messy method is to take a note of items that you are throwing out as they go into the bin. You could mark down specific items or go for broader terms such as plastic film, Tetrapaks or textiles.
Once you’ve collected your items it’ll give you a better idea of what you are throwing out so that you can spot any areas that you can reduce your waste. By being aware of your non-recyclables you’ll be able to see what items you could swap with more sustainable items