Category Archives: Recycling

Information about what you can recycle, how you can recycle it, and where you can recycle it.

Waste to Energy vs Recycling?


Some time ago we wrote about Sweden turning their trash into cash by incinerating their waste to turn it into heat and power.  They were (and still are) so successful that they need to import waste in order to feed these incinerators.

However in the past few years the debate has raged over whether WTE plants are a good thing for the environment or if in themselves they hinder the recycling process? The diagram at the top shows that Incineration/Waste to Energy are more preferable to simply dumping waste in landfill but falls behind recycling, reusing or reducing.  Those who oppose WTE have the view that once you have burnt the waste, that resource is then gone forever but we all know that not ALL waste can be recycled so the option of WTE must surely have a place in the process.

Europe has led the way politically by making the use of landfill sites uneconomical and aims to eliminate all landfill sites by 2050 – whereas in the United States, the public perception is that of a vast country with limitless availability of landfill space.  Coupled with the lower fuel costs this makes the transport of waste to landfill sites a cheap option for disposing of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).


In 2015 there were 87 WTE sites in the US in 20 states with 11 of those being in Florida.  In the same year the first WTE site built for 20 years opened its doors in Palm Beach County, Florida and is the largest in the United States.  This $672million facility is expected to decrease the use of landfill sites in the area by 90% and will extend the use of the landfill facility by 30 years, whilst at the same time generating electricity for 44,000 local households. Currently over 50% of US MSW goes straight to landfill.

The Palm County facility also has an educational center with exhibits and interactive touchscreen games which showcase the facility and educate people about recycling.

So how might WTE hinder the recycling process? For a start, building a WTE facility is a huge financial outlay.  In order for investors to get a return on their money, they need to tie the local municipalities into lengthy contracts to supply them with waste for incineration.  This obviously reduces the incentive to provide facilities to separate out waste for recycling as there is a commitment to provide waste for burning.

How might WTE help the recycling process? Many of these sites are seen as huge unwelcome facilities that nobody want at the end of their street.  They are disconnected from the local population who leave their waste out for collection and then think no more about it and what has happened to it.  In Denmark a brand new facility just outside Copenhagen called CopenHill (or Amager Bakke) is close to completion (expected in the summer of 2018) and will be the most efficient waste-burning and energy-generating facility in the world.

The plant will produce 25% more energy than the plant it will replace from the same amount of waste.  It will provide both heat and energy for 160,000 households across Copenhagen. The incineration process will also recover materials that are not otherwise able to be recycled.  Metal segregation from bottom ash will be sold for road construction thereby replacing other virgin material.

CopenHill facility, Copenhagen

However, where this place differs from other WTEs is that on its roof will be an artificial ski slope (although Denmark one of Europe’s flattest countries, skiing is a very popular pastime), a small grove of trees and the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall.  CopenHill expects to receive 57,000 visitors each year.

The facility will also strive to create a relationship between consumers and their waste. A huge smoke stack will puff out a steam ring across the city’s skyline with each ton of CO2 that is emitted from the plant. The aim is to educate the local population and make them aware that SOMETHING happens to their waste and to transform people’s perceptions about public utility buildings. If a facility becomes part of the local community, people are more likely to want to know what goes on inside and increases their awareness of the process as a whole, which must be a good thing?

So what side of the debate do you sit now? Denmark incinerates 50% of its waste materials but also has a high rate of recycling its food and organic materials, so incineration does not necessarily mean less recycling if the mindset of the population is geared toward this.

However, WTEs do produce an end waste product of ash (once any recoverable materials have been removed) and these will eventually end up in a landfill, so the process is not ultimately as efficient as recycling.  However you look at it also, burning waste is not a form of renewable energy – not like wind, tides or solar – and no scientist would support this statement. But Florida (and several other US states) do consider incineration as “recycling” and award credits accordingly.  See if your State awards credits for WTE.

So Waste To Energy offers a partial solution for waste management, particularly where there is no political or economic support for it but cannot truly be classed as contributing to renewable energy or recycling.  Is the Danish facility with a ski slope a smokescreen to deflect attention from the creation of another Waste to Energy plant – no matter how efficient it is?

Green Waste Enterprises has a Four Point Plan the 2nd of which includes the call to legislate to improve recycling laws.  Given that in the United States, responsibility for regulating recycling is devolved to State or Local Government this in turns leads to a disjointed approach.  Do you know what your local approach is to waste management?


Green Cleaning – Plastic Free

Do you want to reduce the amount of plastics you use?  There’s a lot more you can do besides taking your own bags to the supermarket or a reusable drinks holder out with you. The cupboard under your kitchen sink is probably packed with products in plastic containers………well why not Make your own cleaning products?
There is really no need to purchase ‘wonder’ pre-packaged cleaning products. Try making your own with products you can buy in bulk, and usually in cardboard. You’ve probably got all the ingredients in your cupboard.

All purpose cleaner: 

Fill an old spray bottle with vinegar and water. 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water.

All purpose disinfectant: 

Fill an old spray bottle with 3 cups of hot water, 3 teaspoons of borax and 10 drops of eucalyptus, lemon or lavender oil.

Clean a burnt fry pan: 

Fill pan with a layer of water, add 1 cup of vinegar, bring to boil. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda (note: it will fizz). Empty the pan and scourer.

Clean microwaves: 

Combine 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 cup water in a microwavable container. Boil mixture for 3 mins. Let it stand in microwave for 10 mins. Wipe inside of microwave with a damp cloth.

Clean mirrors: 

Pour a little vinegar onto a scrunched up sheet of newspaper and wipe mirror. Dry with a clean sheet of newspaper.

Clean toilets: 

Sprinkle bicarb / baking soda into the bowl. Rinse with vinegar and scrub.

Cleaning rags: 

Instead of buying cleaning rags wrapped in plastic recycle old towels, flannels and sheets that are well passed their used-by date. Cut them us, use, the wash!

Descale your kettle: 

Half fill the kettle with water, drop a couple of slices of lemon and boil. Repeat once. Dry with a cloth.

Fabric softener: 

Add one cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. 

Make your drinking glasses shine: 

Soak in a solution of vinegar and water. Dry with a cloth.

Remove rust (from tins): 

Rub with a peeled potato dipped in bicarb / baking soda or salt.

Remove rust (from cutlery): 

Polish cutlery with a paste of bicarb / baking soda and vinegar.

Remove soap scum:

  1. from a shower screenFill an old spray bottle with vinegar and spay the screen. Leave for 3-5 mins then wipe with a clean towel, scrubbing lightly.
  2. from a shower screen: For stubborn screen stains squeeze some homemade toothpaste onto a sponge and scrub.

Soak and whiten nappies/diapers: 

Dissolve 1/4 cup of bicarb / baking soda in warm water. Soak overnight. Wash nappies as normal. Saves you a fortune on disposable nappies/diapers too!!!

Unblock a drain: 

Pour 1/3 cup of bicarb / baking soda into drain followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Immediately seal the drain with the plug. Leave 1 hour and pour boiling water down the drain.

Washing dishes by hand: 

Add 4tbs of baking soda to the hot water.

Washing dishes in dishwasher: 

Mix 1 cup borax, 1 cup bicarb / baking soda and 1/2 cup salt. Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the “soap/tablet” compartment. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the “rinse agent” compartment.


Game, Set and Match!!

Professional tennis tours are not always played on green courts. Thousands of people fly around the world to play or watch the game which does not on the surface give the game a sustainable credential.   However, the four pinnacles of tennis, namely the Grand Slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York are attempting to impart a culture of recycling, sustainability and efficiency on the game.

1)  The Championships at Wimbledon see a huge amount of waste: from empty champagne bottles to tea bags and left over smoked salmon. This waste is sent to a Material Recovery Facility for recycling, or non-recyclables are processed at an ‘Energy from Waste’ facility. This means that 96% of Wimbledon waste is diverted from landfill.

wimbledon 2

2)  With the introduction of a simple two-streamed waste bin system at the All-England Club The Championships has seen waste recycling rise to 53% of all waste.

3)  The All-England Club makes use of a water recycling plant and 95% of all water used is recycled.

wimbledon 1

4)  Wimbledon is the largest annual single event sports catering operation in Europe with 350,000 cups of tea and 230,000 glasses of Pimm’s served to the tennis fans. Plastic waste is a primary concern, however, as 250,000 bottles of water are sold during the tournament.

5)  The air management system in “Centre Court” processes 143,000 litres of air per second to optimise playing conditions and eight litres of fresh air per person per second is pumped into the court, even when the roof is open!

6) Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream are locally sourced from inside a 100 mile radius, nearly all of the strawberries coming from Kent having been picked at 5.30am on the day they are served. In total, 28,000kg of strawberries are consumed during the fortnight (which is equivalent to 112,000 punnets) with more than 7,000 litres of cream!


In Paris the Roland-Garros event became been the first French sporting event to have ISO 20121 certification in May 2014 and only the second event ever after the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Other than tennis, the focus at last year’s tournament was sustainable transport with a car pooling website operating for visitors and the installation of a solar-powered electric bike charging point.  Hybrid and electric cars making up more than 60% of the tournament’s fleet of vehicles meant it was certified as low-emission and the decision to stop washing the fleet with water saved a total of 226,00 litres.   The French Tennis Federation launched an initiative to redistribute leftover meals to charities.  15,000 meals were handed out in 2014 alongside food already distributed by French supermarkets.

The highest-attended annual sporting event in the world is The US Open Tennis Championships.  In 2014 the tournament started a carbon balancing initiative where it offset more than 2.2m miles of travel emissions from players attending the event, as well as all the fuel used on-site at Flushing Meadows.  The tournament continued a composting program which saw 425 tonnes of food collected and re-used in agriculture and landscaping initiatives.  More than 12,000 gallons of food grease from the US Open’s kitchens and food stalls, will be converted into biodiesel fuel.

The Australian Open held at Melbourne Park is in the middle of a £350m redevelopment plan.  Its’ goal is to become one of the most sustainable sports and entertainment venues in the world.  A key focus is to minimise the effects of the brutal Australian sun and building roofs have been coated in shiny coatings that reflect over 70% of the sun’s heat.  This keeps buildings cooler during hot days and onsite solar installations provides around 42MWh/year.  This is enough to power seven Australian houses all year round.   Tennis Australia has attempted to reduce travel impact by partnering with the city of Melbourne to allow Australian Open ticket holders free access to public transport on that sporting day.



Being Sustainable – in 10 easy steps



Environmental science is all about finding ways to live more sustainably, which means using resources today in a way that maintains their supplies for the future. Environmental sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.

  1. Reduce household energy use

    Energy conservation is itself a source of energy. Here are several simple ways to reduce your household energy use:

    • Turn off appliances and lights that you’re not using.

    • Install energy-efficient appliances.

    • Use a programmable thermostat that lowers or raises the temperature when you’re not home.

    • Set your thermostat lower than usual in the winter and bundle up.

    • Open windows to allow a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning.

    • Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
      light bulb

  2. Eat locally

    A powerful way to live more sustainably is to eat locally. The convenience of supermarkets has changed how people think about food. You can stroll through aisles stocked with fruits, vegetables, and other products from all over the world any time of year. But these products consume huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to get from those global locations to your corner supermarket.

  3. Dispose with disposables

    Previous generations didn’t dream of single-use razors, forks, cups, bags, and food storage containers, but these days, you can find a plastic version of almost any object and then throw that object away after you use it.
    single use plastic

    Many of the environmental health issues today stem from toxins released into the environment by trash. Even trash that’s properly disposed of, such as that in a landfill, requires careful monitoring to ensure that dangerous chemicals don’t enter the surrounding environment.
    single plastic bag

    When you make a purchase, consider the item’s life expectancy: How long can the item be used? Will it have more than one use? When you’re done with it, will it end up in the trash? Start investing in reusable products for the items you most often throw away.

  4. Plant seeds

    Try growing your own food. Simply plant a few seeds in a corner of your yard or in a container on your porch or windowsill. You don’t need acres; a few square feet on a patio, along the driveway, or in a window box can provide enough space to grow edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
    kitchen garden

  5. Recycle

    Recycle as much as possible! If your neighborhood or apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling pickup, either find a drop-off location or request the curbside service. Buying products labeled post-consumer lets companies know that recycling is the way to go!

    For other items, such as CFLs, batteries, mobile/cellphones, and electronics, find an appropriate recycler. Many local stores accept used batteries over the counter, but be sure to ask where these materials go for recycling and avoid companies that ship electronic waste overseas for unregulated “recycling” and salvage operations.

  6. Resell and donate items

    Items that you no longer need can get an extended life through resale and donation. By extending the life of any product, you help reduce dependence on disposable or cheaply made single-use products that end up in landfills.

    Providing your items are in good condition and are compliant with safety standards there are many charity/thrift shops that you can donate to, so your items not only continue to be used but they benefit others by generating funds.

    You can try reselling on Ebay or similar and make yourself some extra cash.  There are also many reseller or goods-for-free pages on Facebook where you can get in touch with people in your own area and give your goods a new lease of life.

  7. Drink from the tap

    Dependence on bottled water has added more than a million tons of plastic to the waste stream every year. One reason people rely on bottled water is because they believe it’s safer and better tasting than tap water. But most municipal water supplies in the U.S. provide safe, clean, fresh water (and many bottled waters are just bottled from city water supplies anyway).
    tap water

    If you don’t like the flavor of your tap water, consider the one-time investment in a filtration system. If you like the convenience of bottled water, purchase refillable bottles and keep one in your fridge, one in your car, and one at the office. Encourage your employer to install filters and offer glasses or reusable bottles at work, too.

  8. Save water

    An easy way to live more sustainably is to conserve household water use. Consider installing water-efficient toilets or dual-flush toilets that let you choose whether to use a full flush (for solid waste) or half-flush (for liquid waste). Newer clothes washers can automatically sense the smallest level of water needed for each load.

    Smaller changes, such as switching to water-saving shower heads and adding aerators to your sink faucets, are also effective ways to significantly reduce household water use.

    To conserve water outdoors, use landscaping adapted to your local environment. When buying plants, look for drought-tolerant species and varieties and be sure to plant them in proper soil and sun conditions to reduce their need for excess watering. Set up sprinkler systems so they don’t water the sidewalk, the driveway, and other paved, impermeable surfaces.

  9. Rely less on your car

    Using fossil fuels to support one person in each car on the road is clearly no longer sustainable. Investigate public transit options in your town or city, such as a bus or train or find out if your company operate carpool service for staff. When traveling close to home, walk or ride your bike.
    cycle to work

    Many workers in the UK now benefit from the Government Green initiative “Cycle to Work Scheme”.  Cycles and safety equipment can be obtained through an employer as a salary sacrifice.  This means there are substantial savings on average of 32% on the cost of equipment.  So a cycle valued at £800 would actually only cost £544.

  10. Purchase fair-trade products

    When you purchase items that are imported from all over the world — particularly coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, chocolate, and fruit — look for the fair-trade certification. This designation tells you that these items were grown using sustainable methods of agriculture and that local people are receiving fair prices for the goods they produce.
    fairtrade logo

    Items that don’t have the fair-trade certification may have been produced unsustainably and may be the product of exploitative labor practices that don’t benefit the local people.

We hope this has given you a few pointers on how live more sustainably.  It doesn’t involve a major change to the way you do things and it most certainly

won’t cost you the Earth.


How Healthy Are We?

Earth Day 2017 is on Saturday April 22nd.

Diet and exercise define our body shape and can determine our future health.  To stay healthy, we think about what we eat or drink and take action on how much.  Likewise the health of the Earth is determined by how we treat it – whether we feed it properly or starve it of resrouces; whether we work out or let it go flabby?


We can damage our bodies by overeating and also by undereating.  We also damage the Earth if we strip it of the natural resources it needs to thrive – such as the Rainforests.  If we continue to strip away the Rainforests at the current rate of 32 million acres per year we will increase the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere by 20% (according to figures from WWF).

Oceans are under threat from us feeding it with our pollution which not only affects the sealife but also enters the food chain and ultimately affects us.  Global warming also affects the availability of fresh, clean water for human, animals and agriculture.

Coral reefs (the rainforests of the oceans) are critical marine habitats – but oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

coral_58171_360124We exercise to keep our bodies functioning efficiently.  The Earth needs protection from the Sun’s harmful ultra violet rays to carry on functioning efficiently.  It is more than 20 years since scientists discovered a gaping hole in the ozone layer.  The efforts made to ban or reduce harmful chemicals have initiated a gradaul recovery of this hole; but like exercise, once you stop it’s so easy to fall back into bad habits.

Finally, we all need sleep to stay healthy as a lack of sleep leads to fatigue, lowers your immunity making you more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes and heart problems.   The Earth is increasingly fatigued as we drain it of resources without allowing it to replenish itself.


Overfishing of the oceans has a devastating impact not only on the supplies of food for us all but also on the economies of the coastal communities that depend upon this resource.  We cannot continue to take more fish out of the ocean than can be replaced.  We also cannot continue to ignore the Earth’s fatigue when we choose to use fossil fuels instead of exploring renewal energy sources.

pv panels
photovoltaic solar panels

We sustain our body by nurturing it and looking after it – and many of us take pride in doing so.  Does not the planet that we live on and depend upon for our very existence deserve the same consideration?


We all have a part to play in this endeavour – just like the choices we make in our everyday lives have an impact on our own health – other choices we make have an impact on the health of the planet.  You can choose to buy foods that have come from a sustainable source, or you can choose to reduce your use of plastic bottles and bags – simple steps and achievable.  Just like going to the gym, you start off slowly and gradually build yourself up until staying healthy is a way of life and you can’t imagine ever living any other way.

Without a healthy Earth there isn’t a healthy anything!

Happy #EarthDay2017



From Cars to Crocodiles

Driving along the A59 through Ormskirk, near Liverpool, UK the last thing you would expect to see a life size giraffe or elephant looking at you.  You would not believe that a few short weeks before these magnificent sculptures were just pieces of scrap metal discarded mainly from the car industry?


Pangea Sculptures was set up in 2014 after Ian Unsworth saw the sculptures being sold by the side of the road while he was on a trip to Africa. He became fascinated with the designs and met with the artist, Moses, in his community in Nairobi. Ian bought a couple of pieces for himself and made arrangements to ship a container of these beautiful animal sculptures over to the UK to see if other people had the same reaction to them as he did, and was delighted when the sculptures sold within weeks.

ian unsworth

The company name, Pangea, comes from the old name for the supercontinent that existed millions of years ago before geological changes split it in to the land masses that we are familiar today; an appropriate name for a company so closely connected with the long history of Africa and the people and animals that live there.

Since 2014 the company has gone from strength to strength, exhibiting the unique sculptures at large exhibitions and shows across the UK and trading from a purpose built showroom in Lancashire where visitors can see the sculptures in detail.  Although the life sized pieces are more suited to making in a statement in a corporate setting, Pangea Sculptures also sell their pieces in several smaller sizes right down to miniature that would not look out of place in your home. Businesses can also hire pieces on a daily basis for themed events, or even weddings!


Moses and his artistic team, The Ark Collective, create powerful and striking true-to-life metal sculptures that are cherished by art lovers all over the world.


Moses is head artist at the Collective in Nairobi and started producing the sculptures from recycled metal with the help of just two other designers. Every animal sculpture is created by hand with incredible skill and attention to detail using reclaimed materials discarded from the car industry and other sources, which would otherwise be wasted. Materials are bought by the pallet load and then painstakingly sorted, cut, shaped and welded to a unique armature to create these stunningly realistic and often life-size works of art.


Since Pangea Sculptures was set up the sculptures have come to the attention of a wider audience, creating a ripple effect of change in Moses’ community. As demand has increased, Moses has trained and guided more designers and the Collective now supports over thirty highly talented artists and craftsmen. This is now a sustainable business which Moses has been able to invest in, doubling the studio space, buying specialist equipment for his team and bringing employment opportunities and security to his community.

When Ian and Moses first met the sculptures were being produced in very basic conditions and with little safety equipment. Things have changed considerably in the last couple of years as the workforce has increased and now the designers have much better facilities, proper safety equipment to use when they are welding the sculptures and an improved range of tools to use.


There are plans to build a larger workshop near the original site so that the artists can expand the range of sculptures that they are able to safely create and house. The new workshop will be a real focus of village life, sustaining a community of over 400 people and having the potential to change the lives of many more.

Moses is committed to training his young artists and giving them a lifelong creative skill; each sculpture is worked by hand taking hundreds of hours to complete, and no two pieces will be exactly alike. The artists produce a wide collection of animals from tall and elegant giraffes and magnificent life-size elephants to gorillas, rhinos, hippos, a frog chorus and even a reindeer. The character of every animal is captured perfectly and the beautiful completed pieces are then shipped to the UK where they are hand finished and lacquered.

What a great example of one man’s vision bringing about a change in so many people’s lives whilst at the same time making scrap materials into something beautiful and unusual.  Another example of Making Waste Worthwhile!!


Ryan’s Recycling – Making Waste Worthwhile!

At Green Waste Enterprises, one of our core values is to promote recycling and to educate people about the benefits of it for the environment.  We have campaigned long and hard to reach this goal.

We were totally blown away, therefore to find out about 6-year-old Ryan Hickman from San Juan Capistrano, California.  If there is one thing he loves, it’s sorting. So when, at the tender age of 3, his parents, let him come along to return some water bottles at a recycling center, he was thrilled to help.

“He likes to sort pretty much anything, and he liked putting the bottles in the machine,” Damion, said in a recent interview with The Capistrano Dispatch. “He probably got two or three bucks, and he was so excited about it. And of course then he got to sort his change, so that meant more sorting.”

There was no stopping Ryan after this and as soon as they got home Ryan told his Dad that he wanted to collect everyone’s recyclables.  He even got his Mom and Dad to hand out garbage bags to all his neighbors.

ryans recycling 2

That was the beginning of Ryan’s Recycling Company, established in 2012 in the family’s backyard. In the past 4 years he has already earned more than $10,000 by collecting cans and bottles from about 40 “customers” in five different neighborhoods.

Of course, being only 6 years old Ryan has to rely on his parents, grandmother and aunt to drive him around to collect his recyclables.  Ryan’s sorting facility consists of eight large trash cans that he sorts containers into—bottles and cans, plastics and glass, they all have their place. Ryan has learnt the difference between the types of recyclables and why it is important to keep trash separated.   Then every few weeks they visit the recycling center to cash in his hoard.

ryans recycling3

Since starting his business, Ryan has recycled 49,000 pounds of waste, 200,000 cans and bottles and has donated over $1,600 to charity.  The rest of his earnings have gone straight into a college savings account.

In a YouTube video posted last July, Ryan’s Dad asks if other people should start recycling to help save the earth.  He knows how important it is to keep trash out of our oceans to protect the environment and also the creatures that live in and around the oceans.  He worries that the birds at the beach might eat the trash and get sick or die.

Ryan is an example to us all.  If just one little boy can have get this much done, just imagine what we could achieve if WE ALL did just a fraction of what Ryan does.

“He’s very passionate about it, and he likes to get everybody else passionate about it as well,” his Mom said. “I think he’s rubbed off on all of us now. You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there.”

This is exactly what we are trying to promote at Green Waste Enterprises.  Ryan has shown that if you start young enough, then recycling just becomes a way of life.  He doesn’t recycle because his Dad told him to do it……….he does it because he knows it is the right thing to do……….and he understands the benefits of it.  Well done Ryan……….



with thanks to Allison Jarrell, Capistrano Dispatch


New Year Green Resolutions

Have you made and broken your New Year Resolutions already?  Did you vow to lose weight or learn a new language maybe?  Well why not sign up for these Green Resolutions that are not only good for YOU but good for the PLANET.

  1. Walk, run or cycle to work.

    Not only is it better for the environment, but not using your car to for your morning commute will help you out on your resolution to lose weight.  A brisk walk of more 30 minutes each day will lower your BMI and help to get rid of all those Christmas inches on your waist.  Feeling fitter and healthier puts you in a good mood too!  Many employers now operate a Cycle to Work scheme where you can get tax breaks to obtain cycles and safety equipment.

  2. If you have to drive…..

    Switch to petrol or even better an electric car.  The UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer has said that diesel should be phased out to cut the tens of thousands of deaths caused each from air pollution  Diesel cars emit more nitrous oxides (NOx), which can cause health problems for people who have lung and breathing problems.  But petrol cars also emit higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2).  This has fewer immediate health risks than NOx but as it is a greenhouse gas this causes big problems for the environment as a whole.  Air pollution contributes to at least 25,000 deaths in England each year through heart attacks and other respiratory diseases.
    A greener alternative to using your own car is to join a car pool with colleagues from work.  There are also a number of ride-sharing apps that you can sign up to like BlaBlaCar or UberPool which is a taxi service that matches up people travelling the same way and is hoped to launch in London by the end of this year.

  3. Reduce the amount of meat you eat

    There is growing evidence that the amount of meat we eat has a direct effect on the environment as it takes the same amount of energy to produce 1kg of meat as it does for 3-10kg of vegetables.  According to the Vegan Society, their numbers have doubled from 150,000 to 300,000 in the last 9 years.  It is now estimated that around 12% of Britons now follow a meat free diet.  However, if you can’t give up meat completely, you can cut back on your meat consumption for a few days a week and try some alternative vegetarian meals instead.

  4. Grow your own!!!

    Growing, transporting, packaging food together with clearing the land for growing, accounts for as much as 30% of Britain’s carbon footprint.  And there is a certain satisfaction in eating something you have grown yourself isn’t there?  You only need a small patch in your back garden.

  5. Take your own bag to the supermarket

    In October 2015 the UK Government introduced a compulsory 5p charge for single use plastic bags.  Since then the number used have fallen by an estimated 85%.  In the first 6 months usage fell from more than 7 billion a year to less than half a billion.  This was a saving of almost 41,000 tons of plastic – roughly 300 blue whales.  It just needs a bit of planning to make sure you keep your own shopping bag handy in your bag or your car’s glove compartment.


  6. Choose your cosmetics wisely

    Microbeads are now in lots of everyday products like face and body scrubs.  It is hoped that these will be banned by the end of this year under new Government proposals.  The beads get flushed into rivers and oceans in their billions with an estimated 86 tons in the UK alone each year just from facial exfoliants.  If you add these to the plastic bags that also end up in rivers and oceans and over time, gradually break down into microplastics you end up with a real danger to marine creatures and birds who end up eating the microplastics which causes damage to them as they are not able to digest them but can also end up as part of our food chain.

  7. Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea

    When you fill the kettle to make your tea or coffee, only fill the kettle with enough water for your immediate use.  Most kettles nowadays have a gauge showing how full it is and you will cut down on the amount of energy used to boil and reboil water
    If you use coffee pods, make sure you recycle them – don’t just throw them with the general trash that ends up in landfill.  The UK spending on coffee pods rose by more than 30% in 2015 when we drank £109m worth.  If buy your coffee in a carton to go, make sure you recycle this also.  Last year, fewer than 1 in 400 high street coffee chain cups were recycled.  Starbucks even announced that it would offer customers who bring their own coffee cups a 50p discount.

  8. Turn your home green

    There are many greener, natural alternatives to chemical cleaning products.  Here are a few

    • Kitchen surface stain remover – make a paste from salt, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda.  This will leave a natural “lemon fresh” scent also.
    • Toilet cleaner – Use a can of cola to clean your toilet – YES REALLY!!!  The drink contains carbonic, citric and phosphoric acids which are often found in household cleaning products.  Leave the liquid to sit in the basin for an hour, then use a brush to clean and flush away.  You can also use vinegar as an alternative as it works in a similar way.
    • Wood polish – heat grated beeswax, lanolin, sweet almond oil and lavender essential oil in a pan then leave it to cool.  Clean wood floors with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar.
    • Removing limescale – put 1/4 pint of vinegar in the kettle, fill up with water, bring to the boil and leave it overnight.  The next morning rinse out well and fill, boil and discard the water twice before drinking.  You can remove the limescale encrusted on taps if you soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap it round the taps and leave for an hour.  Just wipe with a damp cloth after.
    • Cut your fuel bills (and help to save the Planet) by being fuel efficient.  A cheap way to do this is to invest in some draught-proofing keeping those icy winter chills at bay.  You might also get some thicker curtains which you should make sure are drawn at night to help keep you cosy.    Some of the more expensive ways would be to consider getting a new boiler, loft or wall insulation and even solar panels.  There are many grants available to help with insulation depending on the age and type of property you have.
      pv panels
      photovoltaic solar panels

We hope we have given you a few ideas on how to make this year a Greener Year  We would like to know if YOU have any tips to share with us.  Please comment below.


Let’s Make This The Year of Recycling

According to a recent Ipsos survey of over 1,000 US adults (one of the world’s largest market research organizations), nine in ten adults in the US  (87%) report that they recycle, though only half of adults (51%) recycle every day. Roughly a third (36%) tend to recycle less frequently, while13% admit that they never recycle.

Who Does Recycle?


It seems that willingness to recycle is linked to education, age and location.

Why Do We Recycle?

IMG_3946.JPGIt is good to see that most adults recycle as it is good for the planet – reducing landfills, saving trees and conserving energy. Many also believe that recycling has economic benefits, such as creating jobs (45%) and making money (33%). According to the EPA, for every 10,000 tons of solid waste going to landfill, 1 job is created.  If the same amount of waste is kept out of landfill it can create 10 recycling jobs or 75 materials reuse jobs.  If the US were to achieve a 75% recycling rate by 2030, this could create between 1.5 and 2.3 million NEW jobs.

Fortunately, very few are unsure of the benefits (3%) or do not see any of these as advantages.

Reasons NOT to Recycle?


Though many acknowledge the many benefits of recycling, the top reason given for not recycling is that it is not accessible or convenient to where they live (25%).  This should be seen as a failure of state and local government for not making recycling more available to them.

Some give the excuse that it takes too long or that they just forget, that they aren’t sure what is recyclable and what isn’t (8%).  This is also a failure to EDUCATE residents by providing them with simples accessible information you see below.

top 10 in the bin.jpg

A minority thing that recycling costs too much and very few report that ideological concerns prevent them from recycling more often, such as feeling their efforts wouldn’t make a difference (3%), not thinking it’s important (2%), or not understanding the environmental benefit (1%). At the same time, a majority (52%) reports that none of these barriers prevent them from recycling.


We need remove the uncertainly surrounding recycling to target those 50% who throw things away without making an effort to recycle.

How and What Do We Recycle?

Nearly three quarters (72%) report that they recycle to most at home, either through curbside recycling (46%) or by taking their recyclables to a local recycling center (26%). Just 6% say that they recycle most at work, though this proportion jumps to 11% among full-time workers. One in ten (10%) say that they recycle elsewhere and 12% report that they do not recycle at all.


The most commonly recycled items include plastics, such as water bottles and packaging (69%); metals, such as soda cans and soup cans (64%); newspapers (56%); other paper products such as cardboard boxes, magazines, junk mail, etc. (56%); and glass, such as jars and juice bottles (49%). Fewer report that they most recycle electronics, such as CDs or old computer parts (14%) or other items (4%).

While majorities say that they recycle plastics, metal and paper products, there does some to be some confusion about which items can be recycled and which cannot. While majorities understand that cell phones (78%) and motor oil (67%) can be recycled, many are unaware that other, less typical items can also be recycled, such as trophies (36%) and crayons (36%). Conversely, many may be trying to recycle items that are not actually recyclable, such as pizza boxes (77%) and juice boxes (73%). Waxed paper and cardboard that is contaminated by food cannot be recycled.

Similarly, many adults are unconscious of the fact that certain household items are often made from recycled paper. A third (34%) report that they would be most surprised to learn that cat litter can be made from recycled paper, followed by greeting cards (8%), egg cartons (6%), and phone books (5%). However, nearly half (48%) say that they would not be surprised to learn that any of these items are made from recycled materials.

Perhaps some of these misperceptions about what can be recycled and what can’t stems from a lack of information. Nearly half (47%) say that they haven’t learned anything about recycling in over six months and 12% report that they have NEVER learned anything about recycling. At the same time, some are exposed to this information more regularly, with 13% reporting that they are flooded with information about recycling and an additional 29% saying that they learned something about recycling in the month.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted May 2-5, 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,004 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if the entire population adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.A


Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree!!

It’s the time of year when Christmas trees go up, becoming the centrepiece of our family festivities. We will adorn their branches with twinkling lights and colourful baubles and place our lovingly wrapped gifts underneath. As such a focal point in our celebrations, getting the tree right is important. But what are the pros and cons of choosing a real or artificial tree? 

This weekend many families will be heading up to the loft or to a Christmas tree farm to find their perfect pine. It’s been a tradition since the Victorian era but today we are spoiled for choice.

From cost to carbon footprint what should you consider when choosing your tree?

Dr John Kazer, at the Carbon Trust, says an average artificial tree was made of plastic which comes from oil. This accounts for two thirds of its carbon footprint.

Another quarter of its environmental impact comes from the industrial emissions produced when the tree is manufactured.

He said a 2m artificial tree has a carbon footprint equivalent to 40kg of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than twice that of a real tree that ends its life in landfill – and more than 10 times that of real trees that are burnt.

“So if you have an artificial tree at home you would need to reuse it for at least 10 Christmases to keep its environmental impact lower than that of a real tree,” he said.

Mr Kazer said the way in which a real tree is disposed of was “much more significant than where it comes from”.

The Carbon Trust estimates that for a two metre real Christmas tree with no roots, the carbon footprint is equivalent to 16kg of greenhouse gas emissions if it ends up in landfill.

This is because the tree decomposes and produces methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, according to the trust.

“If you burn your Christmas tree on the bonfire, plant it or have it chipped to spread on the garden, that significantly reduces the carbon footprint by up to 80% or around 3.5kg CO2e (greenhouse gas emissions).”

Burning the tree emits the carbon dioxide that it stored up when it was growing so there would be no net increase, he said.

So real trees have much lower carbon footprints than artificial Christmas trees. But what else is there to consider?

Stephen Evans, managing director of Christmas Tree World based in Wigan, sells both real and artificial trees.

His artificial trees can be found in airports, universities, stately homes and hospitals.

“Our artificial trees are flame retardant which is a major thing for big public buildings,” he said.

“When real trees dry out they become quite flammable.”

He said hospitals use artificial trees because some patients have allergies. The company also supplies Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

House manager Kate Ballenger said: “Whilst we do grow our own trees on the estate, it’s important that we also use artificial trees to limit the risk of insects being bought in that would damage the collection inside the palace.”
Artificial trees have some benefits for large buildings but what about the average household?

One of the greatest benefits of an artificial tree is the cost, said Mr Evans.

“You can use them year after year so the money saving is enormous,” he said.

“You can bring it out of the loft each year instead of the hassle of going out and getting a real one.

“Artificial trees have improved so much that they actually fool people into thinking they’re real.

“Pre-lit trees are increasing in popularity. The lights are put on better that you could ever do it at home.

“Also artificial trees don’t drop needles all over the floor.”

But for Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, there is something about a real tree that cannot be replicated.

“It’s the look, texture and smell of the real tree that makes it so special,” he said. “Just like us, each one is unique.

“The process of buying a real tree, going out with your loved ones, friends and neighbours and selecting the perfect size, shape and colour for your home creates the most wonderful memories.”

The answer lies in the tree’s carbon footprint, how many times it is reused and how it is disposed of.

Other factors to consider when choosing a tree include cost, effort required, fire safety, allergies and insects.

This story was prompted by Kathie Walters who asked the BBC “Is my artificial Christmas tree good for the environment or are real trees better?”