Did you know that the average Londoner throws away more waste per year than residents in any other major European city? On average, they throw away 520kg a year, compared with 450kg nationally (not including recycling), which is a huge figure in itself, especially when you consider that 60% of that rubbish could be recycled. Couple this with the fact that over 50% of that rubbish will be sent to landfill – which are notorious for releasing harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases – and we have a major issue on our hands.
It’s a massive problem, but one that could be solved quite simply with a bit of time and effort. Recycling bins are ever more ubiquitous sights around the country and we should all make an effort to use them more.
In terms of reducing the harm caused by landfill, one small but significant way you can do this is by getting yourself a dedicated battery bin, particularly if you use a lot of them at home or in your office. This is because batteries leak acid and other chemicals when they’re left too long and need to be specially recycled. Unfortunately, most of them still end up in landfill. Get your home or office a small, sealable bin where they can be stored until you can dispose of them properly – it doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a small pedal bin or dedicated recycling bin for harmful items will do the job.
Of course, recycling more generally is also a fantastic way to reduce landfill. A great way to do this – and encourage those you live or work with to do it, too – is to get a set of dedicated recycling bins. These often come with different coloured lids so you can assign different colours to different recyclable items, such as blue for paper and green for garden waste.
You can also get dedicated cup collectors, which are brilliant for offices where the water cooler sees a lot of use. These reduce the volume of cups for recycling and store them more effectively so you can manage the amount of waste you throw away. They even come with a removable flask that collects any waste left in the cups so you don’t even need to worry about the mess – a great solution for introducing recycling practices to your building, reducing landfill and using your bins more productively all at the same time.