A pocket sized book packed with superb information on getting the most from what we use, where we buy it from and what we do with it. Another superb Green Books Guide.
The sheer volume of waste produced in the UK is staggering, every hour we produce enough rubbish to fill the Albert Hall, everyday Trafalgar Square could be filled to old Nelson's nostrils.
It wasn't always thus, in the 1950's our waste bins looked very different. The majority of homes were heated with coal so ash and clinker made up the majority of our waste until the Clean Air Act changed our home heating. There was very little plastic, as blister packs and processed food were a rarity. Food was predominantly bought loose and wrapped in paper, which was then used to light the fire. Most bottles were returnable with the small deposit ensuring that enterprising kids kept the streets and bins free of them in the search for pocket money, the milk man took the empties away. The rag and bone cart patrolled the streets picking up rags, old furniture and bones for bone china and bonemeal.
The advent of the supermarket, convenience food and fast living has fundamentally changed the way we consume, what we consume and how it is packaged. Plastic wrapped vegetables, packaged processed food, milk in cartons, drinks in plastic bottles and can. Every thing is packaged and presented in an eye catching way to encourage purchasing on crowded shelves. On average supermarket shoppers spend £470 a year on packaging, a sixth of their annual food spend.
Nicky Scott's Reduce Reuse Recycle is one of the most comprehensive guides available on how to both avoid packaged goods and what to do with what remains. Every possible purchase is listed from Aerosols to Yoghurt pots with ideas on how to reduce, reuse and recycle where appropriate. The Guide is full of useful hints and ideas as well as links to resources and organisations that can help reduce the waste your produce and maximise the utility of what you buy.
The three Rs of a greener home economic is not about sacrifice, nor for that matter expense, it is about concentrating on what we really need, so much of which is not actually materials but real engagement with what we do. It is about cutting down spending on what we don't use, like packing, getting maximum value both for ourselves the next user so that what we do buy is the best quality we can afford. This is book is a great little pocket guide to how we can get the most from what we do have to buy and make everything have a longer more productive life.
Nickly Scott is the author of `Composting For All' and `Composting: an easy household guide', both published by Green Books. He is on the management team of the National Community Composting Network.
Every home should have a guide like this, a superb effort once again Nicky.