Waste and Recycling |Collab with Katie

waste and recycling

As I was growing up, we did not encounter the same issues with recycling as we do today. We had one dustbin and it was emptied weekly. Nothing had to be sorted or washed. There was no head-scratching as to which bin we should be using or even which bin to drag to the kerbside. In fact, the dustman used to walk into our garden, heave the round metal dustbin onto his shoulders and take it to the dustcart, empty it and return it to us.

I grew up in a small village where we had a butcher and a baker (possibly a candlestick maker), a greengrocer and a deli. My Dad was a farmer so we were never short of fresh fruit, and my parents grew their own veg.

Food waste (of which there was very little) went in the compost bin. Shopping was not a hobby either, like it is for some people today. I expect Mum had her favourite shopping bag for taking to the village, because I don’t remember having a whole drawer dedicated to plastic carrier bags.

Our family of four produced hardly any rubbish.

Fast forward to today, and my husband and I have THREE wheelie bins – how did that happen??! We have a black bin for general waste, a blue bin for paper and cardboard recycling, and we recently acquired a brown bin for metal and glass. The black bin and the brown bin are full size wheelie bins and the blue is slightly smaller.

We live in a flat with a communal garden, so in our block we now have no less than twelve bins to accommodate somewhere outside the building. There is such a thing as bin blight, and you can read more about what the National House Building Council think of it here.

Part of the problem also is where we put the rubbish indoors before it goes outside. We don’t want to walk downstairs just to bin one item, but our kitchen is tiny and there is very little space for one bin at most. Obviously we are doing our bit, but it isn’t easy.

Why and how has rubbish production increased?

Most people will say that the main reasons are due to packaging, and the increase of single use items.

The amount of packaging has increased on food items as companies try to keep things fresher for longer, but too much of this packaging can’t be recycled (or it is confusing which category it falls in). Some packages for instance are mixed such as foil lined card, or cartons with a plastic lid. Until there is clearer guidance actually on the packet, I fear much of this will continue to be put in the general waste or the wrong recycling bin.

Internet shopping is another habit which has also increased the amount of packaging used. Companies want to make sure their products do not get damaged during shipping, because they want to avoid the cost of a claim against them and having to replace the item.

There are many sectors where single use items have replaced reusable items. One of those being in the field of medicine. For hygiene reasons, things that would have been sterilised and reused are now single use. I can remember in my Veterinary Nurse days having to scrub and sterilise everything, but friends in medicine will confirm that most things they use in the course of their work are now disposable.

So what can we do?

The way we live and our habits will change over time, that is quite natural. We need to slow down some of our habits though and rethink how we reuse items. Not everyone can make the change, but if as many people as possible do whatever they can, then we should all reap the benefits.

  • Mend and make do
    • is that item really broken beyond repair?
    • can it be passed on to someone else or donated to a charity shop
  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Reduce food waste
    • meal planning
    • freeze leftovers
    • make compost
  • Check the packaging before you buy
    • the easiest packaging to recycle is glass and tin cans
    • the most difficult is plastic
  • Buy larger packs if possible because they use less packaging in the long run
  • Shop local
    • support small shops and market stalls
    • say no to plastic bags
    • buy less online (even click and collect will increase the amount of an item’s packaging)

As the title says, this was a collab with Katie of It’s The Spicy Bean, so if you would like to read her thoughts about recycling, then please click the link below:


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No Responses

  1. Ree43 says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing the information. Waste management has changed drastically over the years, that’s due to the fact that we are producing far more waste now than we did 20 years ago. The more we can reduce and return to how we use to shop in the past, the quicker we can address start to resolve some of the problems we’re faced with today.

  2. nieeesha123 says:

    When I was little recycling was almost non existent! We threw away Everything. Luckily now I live in a city that makes recycling easy.

  3. lonieshap says:

    Absolutely love this post! It’s becoming a real problem where I am too. My family tried switching from plastic bags to paper bags for the sake of the environment, but it didn’t last long because the stores soon stopped even bothering with paper. I think if we were more adamant about it in my area, good changes would stay.

  4. Love this! I have so much anxiety about how things are going. I don’t know why I’ve never thought of making directions on how to dispose of or recycle products on the packaging clearer… my brain always goes to having to learn to read the recycling symbols better. Great post! Going to have a read of Katie’s now.

  5. Susanne says:

    Lovely post!!!! I’m beginning to believe that plastic will kill us before climate change or wars or multiresistant bacteria or whatever. Plastic is slowly killing the sea, and who even knows how much plastic is into our food?
    I’ve started to do what I can to reduce waste – especially plastic. When you start doing this, you become even more aware of how much waste is produced out there. It’s scary stuff. There’s so much companies could and should do in this matter! I travelled from Dublin airport the other day and had breakfast there. And the amount of single use items there – incredible and so unnecessary.
    Thanks for good information and inspiration on this topic!

    • mariexceline says:

      Hi Susanne. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I definitely think being aware is the first step. Companies have a huge responsibility towards reducing packaging because I really don’t know what can be recycled sometimes.

  6. alisonw30 says:

    Loving the gifs, I was slightly mesmerized by the tomatoes for a minute or two there! Love how much info you have included in this post. I hadn’t even thought about some of the single use stuff you mention (e.g. medical). I’m definitely going to try more to do my bit x

  7. Geraldine says:

    oh my gosh I LOVE all the gifs here Marie!! This was a great collab, you guys, and so important!! My family ttries to reuse bags as well as donating unused items or mending them!! I visitd Canada and it’s amazing how much more disciplined they are with recycling and everything, I think America needs to adhere to recycling and being eco friendly more haha

    • mariexceline says:

      Thanks Geraldine 😃
      I think the a lot of the world needs to look at what we waste and see how things can be reused and recycled. Everyone should do their bit if they can. When you see some people living in true poverty and others just wasting everything it is sad.

  8. ashleyleia says:

    My city is pretty environmentally friendly. Food scraps need to go in the compost bin, and they’ll fine you if you put them in your regular garbage. Quite a few stores charge for plastic bags, but I still get them sometimes to use as garbage bags. My parents aren’t very diligent about recycling, and it drives me crazy whenever I go to visit them.

    • mariexceline says:

      Our supermarkets charge for plastic bags. I think some local authorities fine people here if the wrong thing goes in the wrong bin, but sometimes it’s hard to know what is what when it’s not clearly labelled.
      My parents live in sheltered housing and their community aren’t allowed to recycle because the very elderly ones get it wrong. My parents take as much to their local recycling bins though.

  9. Paula |The Value of a Moment says:

    Thank you for all the great info and tips!! I didn’t know that glass is the easiest packaging to recycle, I’m going to start being mindful of that when I shop!

  10. Lavrax says:

    This was so informative! And I loved all of the gifs, my favourite bit hehehe. Going over to read Katie’s now. What a great collab!

  1. 22nd November 2018

    […] Welcome to another collab with the lovely Marie! I feel quite strongly about waste and recycling, so jumped at the chance to write my own little piece when Marie suggested it to our group. You can read her take on things over on her blog.  […]

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