Mrs Green’s 3R’s stories

Filed in Blog by on April 10, 2011 10 Comments
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Welcome to my roundup of some of the best zero waste stories in the net.

Each one will help you reduce, reuse or recycle more!

Reducing food waste

As you know, reducing food waste is one of my passions. Once food starts to rot in landfill, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

We’ve known for a long time that the average family in the UK throws away 1/3 of the food bought, but thanks to a new survey by WWF and WRAP, they’ve discovered that this food waste accounts for three percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Have a read of “Wasted food equals 3% of greenhouse emissions in UK” and let me know what you’re doing to reduce food waste.

Waste at events catering

Over on Rubbish Club I learned that at one national music event, enough red carpet to cover 5 football pitches was put down for the evening and disposed of the next day. In addition 2000 pieces of disposable plastic cutlery was used each day along with 500 polystyrene takeaway boxes.

That’s before I learned about all the food waste…

Read the rest of the shocking “Devastating Environmental Impact (The Horror of Events Catering)”  and let me know what you think. Do you have a ‘behind the scenes’ story to share?

health fear over recycled packaging

One of our facebook users, David, gave us the heads up on an intriguing story about recycling.

Food manufacturers have been urged to consider new packaging methods for products such as breakfast cereal after researchers raised concerns about possible health risks from recycled cardboard.

Apparently researchers in Switzerland found that mineral oils in printing ink from recycled newspapers used in cardboard can get into foods such as cereal, pasta and rice – even passing through protective inner plastic bags.

I’d love to know what you think about this. Does the cynic in you wonder who funded the research or do you think some of the claims might be a genuine cause for concern? Check out “health fear over recycled packaging.”

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    I did hear about this but the cereals I have are either in bags, which I can recycle at Sainsbury’s or in plastic bags. So I don’t worry about it. It makes you think about what they do when they recycle boxes.

  2. stephen says:

    I have noticed that burger king have 100% recycled paper bags right next to the product,perhaps it doesn’t mater in this case considering what they put in the product anyway…..”.only joking”….

  3. stephen says:

    I think catering waste at large advents are pretty much universal Im afraid , we went to a so called green advent, last year ( the Artemis gathering !)and camped out over the weekend ,and was shocked at the amount of rubbish that these people generated, after all these people are supposed have a green ethic, at the end of the weekend we tried to help the Caters cleanup afterwards, their must of been tonnes of the stuff ?…

  4. Teresa says:

    @stephen: I saw the same at Shambala in 2009 in the public camping areas but not on the crew camping areas and family camping areas and not that much in the arena and marketplace. The mark of a messy festival is when the crew sites and family camping is littered with rubbish as well.

  5. Sleepwalker says:

    I read up on the mineral oil problem with recycled cardboard and blogged about it. It looks like a genuine problem to me. I don’t see a way around it except to stop using the recycled cardboard. One of the UK cereal brands immediately stopped using it. My understanding is that food is not meant to be in direct contact with recycled packaging and that’s why cereal is in those plastic inner bags but it turned out that the longer the food was stored the higher the mineral oil level in the food and that was getting through the linings.

    On the recycling front, I haven’t found a way of getting cereal without the plastic wrapping and those wrappings aren’t recyclable. The only thing I can think of is making my own muesli or giving up cereal for breakfast. If I still buy it I’ll quickly put it into glass for storage.

  6. LJayne says:

    I must check if our cereal is in recycled packaging or not…
    I buy my muesli from traidcraft which has recyclable inner bags but I do decant that into a bigger storage container because we eat so much of it that I need more than one box of it to hand at any one time.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: Thanks Julie, they say that this contamination might even get through the plastic bags; makes you wonder why they are in there then!

    @stephen: @Teresa: Such a shame to hear about all that waste at the festivals 🙁

    @Sleepwalker: Thanks for sharing all your thoughts on this. It’s a shame there aren’t more bulk buy stores as this is the way around the packaging issue 🙂

    @LJayne: Let us know what you find out and what decision you make if they are in recycled packaging…

  8. Penny says:

    I hate waste and tend to only cook what is needed for dinner that night.If there is any left over I usually have it for lunch the next day and my compost bin gobbles up the peelings

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Penny: sounds like the perfect solution, Penny – that’s pretty much what happens here at zero waste towers too 🙂

  10. joddle says:

    Hi Mrs G,

    Thanks for picking up the Rubbish Club story in your news session – didn’t notice this piece in time to comment. I’ve moved the site to if anybody wants to read the story.

    I was incredibly shocked to see behind the scenes of events catering, and I think avoiding large scale waste it causes is something we need to think more carefully about. The problem is it seems like punters of these events aren’t given the choice to opt out of the destructiveness.

    @Teresa I found Shambala festival to be very messy and wasteful too – something that doesn’t sit well with its green ethos.

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