STOP…Have you ever stopped to think about what we are all doing to our planet, the world in which we live, the world in which future generations hope to live?
It worries me; really worries me and it makes me sad to think we are deliberately destroying the land we live in. I say deliberately because I see so much waste around me that could so easily be avoided, I see fly tipping in our beautiful countryside, I see rubbish strewn across our towns and our beauty spots disfigured because people can’t be bothered to carry their rubbish home with them or to the nearest bin!
People are starving in this world, yet in the UK alone we throw away £13bn of food each year. 7.3 million tonnes of food could have been eaten in 2015 but wasn’t because of Best Before and Use By dates. We have become so obsessed with these dates and why? Have we forgotten that years ago there were no such thing and people used their eyes and noses to tell them if something was edible or not. I don’t remember too many people dying from drinking milk that was a few days old or eating a piece of moldy cheese or bread (isn’t that where penicillin originated from?).
We have become over cautious, not just in our food, but in general. We think we will get sick if we don’t have super clean houses and perfect food, when in actual fact we are putting our lives at risk by being too clean. Yes of course there are some types of bacteria that can make you sick such as Salmonella and E. coli, but in general a few germs won’t kill us and can actually strengthen our immune system.
Want to avoid food waste? Follow these easy steps:-
- Do a weekly menu, allowing children to have a say. That way they are more likely to eat the food you buy and cook.
- Before going food shopping, make a list, then check your fridge and cupboards to see if you have all the ingredients you need to make your meals.
- Cook from scratch, much cheaper and easier than you think, try Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals. It is much healthier, fewer calories and better for your children.
- Try this website for hints, tips and recipes Love Food, Hate Waste.
- Use the food that’s in your freezer, rather than keep adding to it. This is where a weekly menu comes in as you are better organised.
It’s not just food waste though, is it? What about our use of plastics? In 1950 plastic was virtually unheard of, but now it pollutes every corner of our world. We produce over 300 million tonnes of the stuff every year and because it takes so long to degrade, we are going to be stuck with it for millions of years to come. Plastic is extremely hard to get rid of as it has to be incinerated which pollutes air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals including carcinogens.
Reduce your use of plastic as follows:-
- Carry reusable shopping bags. There are plenty of tiny ones you can pop into your handbag or pocket.
- Avoid buying bottled water. Buy yourself a refillable water bottle and if you really don’t like tap water, get a filter jug for your fridge.
- Use reusable containers for your lunch instead of wrapping food in cling film.
- If you really want to go plastic free, then check out this website. Not sure I could even go this far!
Move on to water wastage. Is wasting water a problem? Yes of course it is as less than 1% of the world’s water is freshwater and available for us to consume. We take water for granted and assume it will always be there, but do we realise there are many ways we can save water or do we even care? Some may think what difference will it make if a single person starts taking action while others don’t even realize how much water they are wasting every day.
Here are 8 points where you can save our precious water:-
- Turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth. This is by far the most common habit that people have, leading to wastage of water. Brushing is a daily activity that no-one skips doing and if every-one develops the habit of never leaving the tap running then a lot of water can be conserved. Teach your children this from a young age and it won’t develop into a habit.
- Leaky taps are very common in every household, but can waste up to 200 gallons of water in a single day! Google or YouTube will show you how to change a washer. It is not expensive or difficult, do it today.
- Shaving. Again turn off the tap, pop in the plug and use the water in the sink to rinse your razor. Gentlemen, please remember to wash out the sink afterwards. (It is a pet hate of all women – a hairy sink!)
- Choose a shower rather than a bath. It uses less water and especially if you use a timer for those people who take ages, 10 minutes is sufficient for anyone.
- Don’t use a sprinkler for your garden. Luckily we don’t have that problem in Ireland.
- Washing your car. A luxury rather than a necessity, wash it less often.
- Washing dishes by hand apparently takes so much more water. So buy yourself a dishwasher, you will also save time 😉
- Flushing the toilet. Not necessary every single time, but I think people in general would have an issue with this one!
We need to start somewhere and where better than to Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Follow the green guide to find out how.
Although the environment is something I think about all the time, what prompted me to do a blog on waste was a recent public display in Palma, Spain. The following photos were taken from the display, so I hope you can read them as there was a lot of glare from the screens.
qI make no apology for the length of this article. If you care about the environment you will read and digest every single word. If you don’t care then you are part of the problem!
We all need to take responsibility for our actions and if this blog has got one person thinking about reducing their carbon footprint then I have succeeded.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.