laura outside shop

It’s officially Recycle Week (25th September to 1st October) and as you’ll know if you read Friday’s post (here), Zero Waste Scotland have challenged me to double the amount that I recycle this week (and onwards). I, in turn, am challenging you to join me. One of the ways that you can really increase your recycling efforts, is by shopping smarter when you are in the supermarket.

Shopping more consciously, with recycling in mind, can help reduce food waste and make home recycling easier. The average household in Scotland produces 4.8kg of food waste per week. This is made up of 1.9kg of unavoidable waste, such as eggs shells, peelings and bones, and 2.9kg of avoidable waste, like meal leftovers. You can reduce the amount of food waste your household produces by planning out your portions better and then buying only the amount of food that you need to make them. If you cook at home, follow a proper recipe and use measurements (especially for things such as rice and pasta) instead of just estimating the amount that you think people will eat.

widely recycled bottle

Another tip is to choose packaging that’s made with recycled plastic. This really helps the environment as it takes 75% less energy to make a new bottle from recycled plastic compared to the energy needed to make one from new materials. If this isn’t possible, at least try to make sure that the packaging you do buy has a Widely Recycled logo on it, so you can recycle it at home when it’s empty. You can find out the meanings of the symbols on bottles on the Recycle Now site.

recyclable juice cartons

It’s so important to choose recyclable glass jar, plastic bottle or Tetra Pak packaging (where to recycle Tetra Pak cartons in your region can be found in their site’s locator here, but most councils will take them in your cardboard/paper bin or in your local community bins), as laminated juice pouches, e.g. Capri Sun, can’t be recycled.

A lot of brands offer refill packaging now too – meaning that you just buy one product and then refill it with easier to recycle refills. Things like pumps from liquid soap bottles aren’t easily recycled, so instead, top up your hand soap by purchasing refill bottles, which are easier to recycle with your council’s kerbside programme.

You can also use your trip to the supermarket to recycle other items such as clothing. Most major supermarkets have community recycling points in their car parks and stores, where you can drop in a load of textiles or batteries, for example.

egg shell pixabay

Now that you are shopping smarter, you just need to remember to seperate what can be recycled from what has to go into your general waste bin. This can be particularly tricky when it comes to food waste. In your at-home food waste caddy, you can put in tea bags and coffee grounds, uneaten food, raw and cooked meat and fish (including bones), dairy products, bread, cakes and pastries. However, things such as egg shells cannot be recycled.

I’ve always been pretty good at recycling bottles, glass, paper and cardboard; but food waste is something that I definitely need to improve on. This is something that I’ll be paying particular attention to this week, as I do tend to just chuck uneaten food into my general unrecyclable waste bin.

How much do you recycle?

This is a sponsored post with Zero Waste Scotland, but all opinions are my own.

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