With waste increasing at approximately 3% year on year the district council works closely with the county council to actively promote waste minimisation initiatives to its residents. Reducing our waste not only helps slow down how quickly local landfill sites will fill up but also helps the environment by reducing the amount of bio-degradable material going to landfill and consequently producing methane, a very damaging climate change gas. Government continues to increase the tax paid on refuse going to landfill so there are also considerable cost implications too.
Reducing the amount of packaging we buy is one positive step we can all make. Make sure you understand what the labelling on the packaging means. Learn more about packaging symbols.
At a manufacturing level, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been working with UK grocery organisations since 2005 to move forward the packaging agenda. Over 40 major retailers and food manufacturers have since signed up to the Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement which supports less packaging and food waste going in to the bin. The objectives of the commitment are to:
- Design out packaging waste growth by 2008 (achieved: zero growth)
- Deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010
- Help reduce the amount of food the nation's householders throw away by 155,000 tonnes by 2010, against a 2008 baseline
See WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment Case Studies (Aug 09) report which gives examples of how food retailers have worked to reduce their packaging.
If you find a specific product that you feel is overly packaged this can be reported to Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506 or visit the website www.consumerdirect.gov.uk. Consumer Direct is the advice arm of the Office of Fair Trading and the organisation works in partnership with Trading Standards who will investigate serious complaints on your behalf. To find out more about Gloucestershire's Trading Standards visit www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/glos/
Love Food, Hate Waste
This is a national campaign which aims to raise awareness about the amount of food waste which currently makes it way in to landfill. An astonishing 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the UK alone, costing the average family a staggering £420. However, it is not only the cost that is a major issue. Any biodegradable material – such as food – will produce methane gas once it has been buried in landfill, so it is critical that we only buy the food that we need.
The Love Food, Hate Waste website includes a wealth of food facts and useful tips and hints about how to reduce food waste and preserve the food that you do buy, including recipes, meal planners and food storage ideas.
Reducing Junk Mail
If you are fed up with the amount of junk mail you receive you can take a positive step towards reducing this by signing up to the Mailing Preference Service. The service is completely free of charge. Find out more here.