There’s no getting away from it… UK households produce an astonishing amount of waste; a combined total of 30 million tonnes every year in fact. That’s the same weight as 600 Titanic ships. Heavy!! And much of it ends up in landfill (or the oceans…).
Chucking our rubbish in the bin makes it very easy indeed for us to forget all about it - however, much of our waste is worryingly going to long outlast us.
Your crisp bag from lunch? It could be here for another 80 years.Those nylon tights with the ladder in? They’ll take 40 years to break down. And those dead batteries from your remote control? They’ll need 100 years to degrade.
Many of these items will end up in landfill. Here they will slowly decompose without access to oxygen (it’s how modern landfill is built - to ensure surrounding waterways and soils don’t become contaminated). These conditions mean huge amounts of methane are produced daily by our landfill sites - and it’s one of the worst climate-change gases around.
Yes, this does feel daunting but there ARE many quick and easy steps we can all take TODAY to reduce our waste and help reverse the fate of our planet. The great news is that people are keen to change.
One recent study (Brandbean 2020) found that 70% of us are now purposely buying products with less plastic and 64% of us are actively looking for items that use recyclable packaging.
If you need a little inspiration, here are just a handful of swaps you can quickly make.
Use beeswax wraps and silicone baking mats in place of aluminium foil (which NEVER degrades).
Carry a bag for life and refuse single-use plastic ones.
Swap your shampoo and soaps for refillable options or bars without plastic packaging.
Choose cloth nappies over disposable (which take up to 1000 years to rot) - even if only for part of the week.
Swap out sandwich bags for washable cloth bags or sandwich tins.
Switch to loose-leaf tea which can be home composted (tea bags often have plastic in).
Set up a compost in your garden for vegetable waste and freeze unused food.
Luckily our smol dishwash and laundry boxes are fully recyclable or will compost down at home in just 12 weeks. Our refill spray sachets are also home compostable so you can also add them to the mix! Why not give it a try?
Shredded card works best but it’s fine to simply rip it up or cut it up into small pieces instead. Soaking it with a little water will also help speed up its decomposition.
Remember, there are very often alternatives to the plastic-heavy products packed into supermarkets by large multinational manufacturers. You DON’T have to always accept these items into your household. You’ll often then be supporting a small independent business into the bargain which is an important consideration for many nowadays.
Each small change we make adds up to a big difference and is a step towards less waste. Your planet will thank you.
big is dead, long live smol.