Recycling doesn’t have to be all hard work.

A blog by @mircwalsh

Recycling doesn’t have to be all hard work.

Published – East Cork Journal – Thursday, October 11th, 2007. 

Most of us are now used to doing some little bit of recycling as part of our daily lives. Although when it comes to waste disposal we no longer have much choice other than to recycle, there are a few things that can be done to make life so much easier.When undertaking your weekly grocery shop there are several things that you can do to cut down on packaging.

recycle_bin_big1While it seems easier to just pick up a packet of peppers with a yellow, green and red pepper in it is a lot more environmentally friendly to buy the peppers individually. You are saving on packaging and also saving the time it would take to recycle the packaging.

The same applies for most fruit and vegetables including potatoes and apples. The majority of supermarkets offer the choice to buy these products unwrapped so why not save on the packaging. Local markets in particular The Farmer’s Market in Midleton sell their fruit and vegetables unwrapped we don’t question their reasons for doing this, so why don’t we don’t the same in supermarkets.

Oranges come with their own skin which people don’t eat. This skin acts as packaging to protect the fruit. For this reason we don’t need to then wrap the orange or  other fruit in further plastic packaging.

Excess packaging doesn’t just stop at fruit and vegetables it is seen on every single shelf in a supermarket. Another example of over packaging can be seen when it comes to buying juices.

While it may seem more convenient to buy a pack of small juice cartons for the kids to take to school it is a lot easier and cheaper to buy a big carton and transfer the juice into a recyclable flask for the kids. And if you want to go one step further buying juice in a glass bottle is even better and can be recycled a lot faster than a juice carton.

Everyone remembers when we used to be able to get milk in a bottle. It was delivered to the door and the bottles would be returned to the milkman and recycled. However this tradition has been long forgotten. Using bottles worked in the past and there is no reason why glass shouldn’t still be used. Pubs and clubs still send empty bottles back to suppliers. The public should have the same option when its comes to alcohol, juices, milk and other minerals.

The biggest offenders can be seen in the confectionery isles. The consumers are faced with shelves full of instant mixes for pancakes and muffins. Some of these come in 400g plastic bottles. If you look closely you will notice that the mix only fills about a third of the bottle. . This results in a lot of wasted plastic.

So here are a few products to bear in mind when it comes to packaging.

·      Buy your fruit and vegetables unwrapped.

·      Avoid biscuits that are wrapped individually within a larger packet.

·      Buy sauces like Ketchup in a glass bottle. These are cheaper and also easier to recycle.

·      When given a choice between recyclable packaging like glass or paper choose this option over  plastic.

And if you are still not convinced consider this. Excess packaging is said to add an extra 720 to the average family’s annual food bill. We are paying for packaging, which we are then in turn paying to recycle.