The waste management ladder consists of the 5 elements of waste disposal starting with the most favourable, prevention of waste and ending with the least preferred option, sending the waste to landfill.
The Waste Management Ladder
Packaging accounts for a fifth of our nations waste annually which works out as around 5 million tonnes of rubbish. Although some packaging is necessary, in recent years particularly, a lot of companies have begun to question the necessity of it. In regards to food it can be necessary as it aids in maintaining freshness and preventing it turning bad but also ensure it arrives at our supermarkets in one piece. However often excessive packaging is used which not only is detrimental to the environment but can also mean that products cost more. Many supermarkets now offer a greater choice of loose fruit and vegetables which is great at curbing unnecessary waste. Sometimes however it is not possible to manage without some form of packaging. In these cases it is not only the amount of packaging that can be the issue but how recyclable it is which ultimately determines if it has to be sent to landfill. Refillable packs as well as using larger economy sized packs which will last longer are also an easy way you can improve your environmental impact.
Reusing packaging such as using plastic ice cream tubs for food storage, glass jars and bottles for homemade chutneys or wine, biscuit tins for garage storage or buttons.
Cans and tins -rinse them out and recycle with your household recycling
Bottles and jars can be recycled. Most councils now provide glass collection weekly or monthly as a kerbside collection or otherwise you can take them to a collection point.
Cereal boxes, cardboard sleeves and boxes can all be recycled. Again most councils will take this as part of the kerbside recycling or otherwise numerous collection points exist.
Plastic bottles including shampoo and drinks bottles are widely recyclable.
Margarine tubs, plastic food tubs, yoghurt pots and milk containers all are usually recyclable.
If you are unsure if any food packaging can be recycled then simply check the packaging itself. Most will have a clear recycle logo on the back and will specify if the product is widely recyclable at the kerbside or if elements of the packaging need to go in with your household waste to be sent to landfill.
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