Recycle Your Used Products at Boots

A partnership between Boots and the MYGroup encourages customers to deposit used products that can’t be recycled at home in stores, stopping over one million items or 19 tonnes of packaging going to landfill since the start of the scheme in 2020.  

The ‘Recycle at Boots’ scheme is live in 700 stores and allows customers to deposit used beauty, health and wellness product packaging into specially designed recycling bins supplied and collected by MYGroup.  

Customers can pre-validate the products they deposit online and are incentivised by getting a voucher for 250 Advantage Card points for every five products returned to store, if also making a £10 purchase.  

Products not able to be recycled at home but that can be deposited in the bins, include those made of multiple material e.g. eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks and floss dispensers and those made of completely non-recyclable materials e.g. toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes.  

100% of the items MYGroup collect from the in-store bins are recycled in its own facilities and either re-introduced into the supply chain, or processed in-house into products through its ReFactory brand.  Products processed by ReFactory are converted into a plywood-like composite material called Stormboard, which is then used to make a wide range of products for re-sale.  These included shop fittings and warehouse storage containers for Boots, as well as children’s play equipment and furniture donated for schools and community settings.  

MYGroup is currently partnered with other large UK retailers to deliver similar, in-store return and collection schemes, including Dulux, Lakeland and The Body Shop on its ‘Return, Recycle, Repeat’ campaign.

7 Ways to Reduce Your Electricity Bill

Ofgem’s energy price cap is increasing from £1,277 to £1,971 on 1st April, adding £693* a year for people on their supplier’s standard variable rate tariff (SVR).  If you’re on a prepayment meter, you could see an increase of £708from £1,309 to £2,017.

So, what can you do to cut your energy bill?  Here are a few simple tips to save money and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • 1) Washing your clothes at 300C instead of higher temperatures, uses about 40% less energy, saving you at least £75 a year — just ensure you have a suitable laundry detergent.
  • 2) The average UK household spends £60 a year* powering appliances left on “standby” (50kgCO2e) – so switch it off at the plug!
  • 3) Turning off appliances after use, such as laptops, TVs, printers and washing machines at the plug could save you roughly £45 a year.
  • 4) Laptops typically use 85% less electricity a year than desktop PCs.  Choosing a laptop over a desktop and reducing the time on “standby” could save up to £38 per year (25kgCO2e).  Tablets have even lower energy usage:  on average tablets use 70% less power than laptops.
  • 5) Smart speakers generally cost around £8 per year (6kgCO2e) to run, with most of the cost from running them on standby.  Do you really need them on 24 hours a day?  Digital radios are similar to smart speakers and should be switched off when you leave the room, instead of leaving them on standby.
  • 6) Three quarters of us admit we at least occasionally boil the kettle with more water than we’re going to use.  Buying an ECO kettle that only boils the amount of water required can use 20% less energy than a conventional electric kettle, or even easier, just avoid overfilling and save £8 a year on your electricity bill (10kgCO2e)!
  • 7) Microwaves are often a much more energy efficient way of cooking food than in the oven.  Unlike ovens, microwaves only heat your food and not the air-space inside.

If you apply all the above you could cut your electricity bill by about £234, not bad for doing very little!

No Mow May!

No Mow May is back:

The wildflower conservation charity Plantlife returns this year to encourage gardeners to participate in No Mow May, leaving areas of their lawns uncut, to see what native plants bloom and to take part in their survey: Every Flower Counts.  

With a third of wild bees and hoverflies in decline Every Flower Counts shows the vital difference everyone with a lawn can make supporting these pollinators by cutting back on the mowing. Between 1980 and 2013, every square kilometre in the UK lost an average of 11 species of bee and hoverfly, so the dense patchwork of lawns provided by British gardens really can throw our pollinators a lifeline. We just have to let the flowers bloom.” Dr Dines

Every Flower Counts asked participants of No Mow May to record how often they cut their lawns or if they had left their lawns unmown, with the following astonishing results: 

  • Over 200 species were found flowering on lawns. The top three most abundant lawn flowers are daisy, white clover and selfheal. 
  •  80% of lawns supported the equivalent of around 400 bees a day from the nectar sugar produced by flowers such as dandelion, white clover and selfheal.
  • 20% of lawns (dubbed “superlawns”) were found to be supporting 10 times as many – up to 4000 bees a day. 
  • First ever National Nectar Score for our lawns: all lawn flowers in the survey combined produced a colossal 23kg of nectar sugar per day, enough to support 2.1 million – or around 60,000 hives – of honeybees. 
  • The highest production of flowers and nectar sugar was on lawns cut once every four weeks. This gives ‘short-grass’ plants like daisies and white clover a chance to flower in profusion, boosting nectar production tenfold. 
  • Areas of longer unmown grass were, however, more diverse in their range of flowers, with other nectar-rich plants like oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed increasing the range of nectar sources for different pollinators and extending nectar availability into late summer. 

How to participate in Every Flower Counts:

  1. Leave an area of lawn uncut and see what flowers.
  2. From 22rd May to 31st May take part in “Every flower counts” by counting the number of flowers in a random square metre of your lawn. 
  3. Visit to register, add your number and instantly receive your own Personal Nectar Score, showing how much nectar is being produced by the flowers on your lawn and how many bees it can support.

Rewildchew will record numbers in the new “wild areas” of St Andrew’s Churchyard and on behalf of Chew Magna Parish Council in the unmown areas of the playing field, Streamside and Tunbridge Close. We would love to hear your results so please share them with us via:

Instagram – @rewildchew 

Facebook – Rewild Chew, Garden by Garden

Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Nestlé ranked as the ‘world’s top plastic polluters’ for the 3rd consecutive year

Ivan Radik, Flikr, CC

This year’s Break Free From Plastic’s brand audit – “BRANDED Vol III:  Demanding Corporate Accountability for Plastic Pollution” — an annual citizen action initiative that involves counting and documenting the brands on plastic waste found in communities across the globe, collected 346,494 pieces of plastic from 55 countries.  This year’s audit also looked at the work of informal waste pickers, predominantly in the global South and impact low value single-use plastic has on their livelihoods.

Abigail Aguilar, Plastics Campaign Regional Coordinator, Greenpeace Southeast Asia says, “It’s not surprising to see the same big brands on the podium as the world’s top plastic polluters for three years in a row.  These companies claim to be addressing the plastic crisis yet continue to invest in false solutions, while teaming up with oil companies to produce even more plastic.  The world’s top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution but instead they continue to pump out harmful single-use plastic packaging.  To stop this mess and combat climate change, multinationals like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé must end their addiction to single-use plastic packaging and move away from fossil fuels”.

The latest report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation suggests these corporations have ‘made zero progress’ in addressing the plastic pollution crisis, according to Break Free From Plastic.  It says single-use plastic has ‘devastating effects’ not only on the earth but for frontline communities around the world.  Waste pickers and community members in the Global South are witnessing the rapid escalation of low-grade single-use plastic packaging.


Break Free From Plastic says multinational corporations need to take ‘full responsibility’ for the ‘externalised cost’ of their single-use plastic products, such as the costs of waste collection, treatment and the environmental damage caused by them.  The world’s top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution but instead are continuing to pump out harmful, single-use plastic packaging.  We need to stop plastic production, phase out single-use and implement robust, standardised reuse systems. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé should be leading the way in finding real solutions.”

In September the plastics industry, consumer brands and retailers were accused of ‘obstructing and undermining’ proposed legislative solutions to the plastic crisis in what has been called ‘two-faced hypocrisy’ (‘Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions’ from the Changing Markets Foundation).

In response, Coca-Cola said “While we recognize the progress we’ve made against our 2030 World Without Wastegoals, we’re also committed to do more and faster, so that we grow our business the right way. We launched the first bottle containing recycled plastic (rPET) in 1991 and had a global goal of 25% rPET inclusion in our plastic bottles that we could not sustain, a missed opportunity we will learn from. We are confident about our current World Without Waste goals, despite them being more ambitious than our previous targets. Learning from past experience, engaging in new and existing partnerships – including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – and our commitment to make a difference in the communities where we operate, will help us achieve our ambitions. Our “World Without Waste” goals drive us to continually improve, working together with our approximately 225 bottling partners in more than 200 countries and territories.  Currently bottles with 100% recycled plastic are available in 18 markets around the world and growing. In recent weeks, the local Coca-Cola businesses in Norway and Netherlands announced that they are now using 100% rPET across their portfolio. In Great Britain we are preparing to announce we have reached 50% rPET across our packaging, another step in our journey to 100% rPET in all our packs.”

Tesco Cuts 20 Million Pieces of Plastic From Christmas Range

Image: Tesco

Tesco has removed over 20 million pieces of plastic from this year’s Christmas range. Crackers, lights, cards and puddings have all been produced using less single use plastic and has stopped using glitter for all single use products and packaging. Wrapping paper, gift bags, cards and crackers are all now glitter-free and widely recyclable.    Their own label crackers are now plastic free and will include non-plastic presents and be sold without plastic in cardboard packaging, cutting over 14 million pieces of plastic from the seasonal range.

312,000 Christmas lights will instead be sold in recyclable cardboard packaging.    Packs of Christmas cards are now plastic-free, with card multipacks sold in a recyclable cardboard box, saving 4.6 million pieces of plastic a year and a layer of plastic has been removed from Christmas puddings and sponges, removing 1.78 million pieces of plastic. 

Tesco found that 74% of us have sustainability in mind when making purchasing decision, an increase of 36% year-on-year. The research also found that 51% of the nation will reuse old Christmas decorations and 32% will only buy loose fruit and veg to reduce plastic packaging.  Nearly 23% will reuse wrapping paper, while 19% will try to be more sustainable by not buying gifts, wrapping or decorations made of plastic.  

The removal of plastic from Christmas products comes as development teams across Tesco have been looking for ways to use less plastic as a part of its 4Rs packaging strategy: To Remove it where it can. Reduce where it can’t.  Reuse  more. Recycle  what’s left. This will see Tesco remove all excess and non-recyclable material from its business.

Is the War on Plastics a Distraction?

Kate Ter Haar, Flikr CC.

An article by 13 environmental experts cautions that the current ‘war on plastics’ is detracting from bigger threats to the environment.  The experts say that while plastics waste is an issue, its prominence is overshadowing greater threats, such as climate change and biodiversity. The authors call on the media and others to ensure the realities of plastic pollution are not misrepresented particularly in public dissemination of the issue.  

They argue that much of the communication around plastics waste is based on data that does not always represent the environments that have been sampled.  The aversion to plastic associated with this could encourage the use of alternative materials with potentially greater harmful impacts.  The authors warn that the public’s concern has been “exploited politically” and that legislation including banning cosmetic microplastics, taxing plastic bags and financial incentives for using reusable containers and the promotion of products as being ‘green’ for containing less plastic, risks instilling a complacency in society towards other environmental problems that are not as tangible as plastic pollution.

The unprecedented engagement of the public with environmental issues, particularly plastic pollution, presents a once in a generation opportunity to promote other potentially greater environmental issues.  This is a key moment to highlight and address areas such as our throw-away culture in society and to overhaul waste management but if prioritising plastic waste continues the opportunity will be missed and at a greater cost to our environment.

Saving Electricity – Hot Tips!

Saving electricity – simple ideas to get started!

~Turn off the lights:  do it whenever you leave the room and fit energy efficient bulbs. They’re more expensive initially but they use much less energy and replacing all bulbs in your home with these could save about £40 a year on your electricity bills, so they’re well worth it. 

~Unplug your chargers: leaving your phone, tablet or laptop charger plugged in when you’re not using it drains money from your pocket — you’re just paying for it to waste energy by getting warm.

~Switch off your TV: when your TV is on standby it’s still using energy. It is calculated that UK households waste on average £30 a year powering appliances they’re not even using.

~Move your sofa: furniture pressed up against a radiator stops heat reaching the room, so move things an inch or two away and better air circulation will have your room getting warm and cosy much faster.

~Close the curtains: when the sun goes down, heat starts to escape, so drawing the curtains or closing the blinds, will help to keep the warmth in — especially if you have draughty, old-fashioned sash windows.

~Fit foil panels: it’s surprisingly easy to add reflector panels behind your radiators to bounce more of the infra-red heat rays back into your room – so less warmth gets lost through the wall.

Rural Britain Leads the Recycling Revolution – But Could Do Better!

GotCredit on Flikr, CC

Rural Britain leads the recycling revolution but could improve its uptake of green tech.

A poll of over 3,000 Brits (Institution of Engineering and Technology) found people living in villages and hamlets typically adopt more everyday green habits compared to those residing in cities and towns.  90% of rural dwellers recycle their plastic (versus 71% of urbanites), 56% recycle food waste (versus 44%) and 94% take their own bags to shops (versus 81%).  If we are to hit the Government’s net-zero target by 2050, other incentives need to come into play to enable consumers to transition to greener lifestyles.  According to the findings, rural regions also shoulder more environmental responsibility, with 63% believing it’s up to the individual to address climate change, compared to just 50% of those in urban areas.

However, when it comes to green tech, people in towns and cities take the lead, with 45% of residents having green energy tariffs, versus only 30% in rural areas. Urbanites tend to have a better understanding of and be more likely to have installed green technology in their homes.  Looking at the technology they knew about, compared to rural dwellers a greater number of urban respondents have solar panels (32% vs 9%), battery storage (41% vs 8%), smart technology/digital assistants (42% vs 17%), heat pumps (36% vs 6%), alternative gas heaters (37% vs 4%).

National and international recycling habits

A UK and worldwide wide survey of people’s views on recycling and a range of green topics gave the following interesting results.

~Recycling:  just 36% of Londoners recycle their food waste, compared to 86% in Northern Ireland and 80% in Wales and only 68% of Londoners recycle their plastic compared to 91% in Yorkshire and the South West

~Green consumption:  78% of Londoners take their own bags to shops but this rises to 95% in Wales and 94% in the South West.

~Green travel: Londoners lead the charge when it comes to electric vehicles with  35% of EV/Hybrid owners based in the capital, compared to just 1% in Wales and Northern Ireland, while about 49% of pure EV owners were based in London.

~Green Homes: East Midlanders tend to have the ‘greenest’ homes in the country, compared to the national average, with around half of those aware of the technology installing heat pumps (47%vs 19%), battery storage (49% Vs 23%), smart technology/digital assistances (45% Vs 29%) and four in ten with solar panels (38% Vs 18%).

It is interesting to see patterns in the way different areas and regions of the country have adopted environmental practices.  Cities have always been tipped as being more progressive, which is demonstrated by the fact that people living in urban areas are more likely to adopt green technologies. However, urbanites are less likely to embrace and put more physical day-to-day green habits into practice.

If we are to hit the Government’s net-zero target by 2050, other incentives need to come into play to enable consumers to transition to greener lifestyles.  The survey shows that the public know that change is needed and know what can be done – but they often require practical reasons to make that change.

Two of the biggest challenges we face – decarbonising heat and transport – will require changes to be made to our everyday lives and it is essential that people are engaged in the process and can see the benefits of green solutions so that we don’t leave anyone behind.

Global results: on a global basis the research showed contrasting adoptions of green habits across the world.  Americans fall behind overall in the study, with just 42% believing we have an individual responsibility to address climate change, compared to 55% in the UK and 59% in Germany and the UAE.  At 92% India leads the way on most green habits, including taking your own bags to shops, with the UK close at 87% and the USA at 58% coming in last.  At only 39%, Americans are least likely to avoid products with unnecessary packaging for environmental reasons, compared to 49% in the UK and just 27% in the USA eating locally sourced meat for environmental reasons, compared to 37% in the UK.

The UK is improving its uptake of environmental measures but could do a lot better to help the UK meet it obligatory 2050 carbon reduction target.

Operation ‘Empty Plate’

What Can We Learn From the Programme to safeguard China’s food security and minimise food waste?

Su-lin, Flikr

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, reliance on imports, floods and tensions with the US, food shortages are becoming a real possibility across China.

Experts project a national shortfall of 130 million tonnes by 2025, highlighting the need for immediate action. President Xi Jinping has declared that wasting food is no longer an option and his latest national campaign, ‘Operation empty plate’, aims to drastically curb food waste by contravening Chinese hospitality customs and encouraging a new set of practices.

Part of the initiative, “N-1 ordering” is intended to stop rampant over-ordering, encouraging those eating out to order one meal less than the number of diners.

Another recommendation is that restaurants offer half-size and smaller portions, while also accommodating take-home bags and to-go boxes for the leftovers. 

The president’s aim is to make food waste a national priority by strengthening legislation, supervision and education and in turn, to reduce significantly food waste across China.

So what can the UK learn from ‘operation empty plate’? Surely a food shortfall is not a concern that we need to consider?  Unfortunately, food poverty is already a significant issue in the UK and according to research, we are one of the world’s worst culprits for food waste. Each year we throw away an estimated 10 million tonnes of food – approximately 150 kilograms per person! 

Alongside the financial implications and risk to our food security is the catastrophic impact on the environment.  When food is left to decompose in landfill, it generates gases 21 times more harmful to the environment than CO­2. When you consider the scale of this problem, it’s clear that we – like China – must do something to curb our food waste.

So what can the UK do to tackle the problem? 

First: improved education, food waste is not simply a problem for politicians to solve, it is an issue we must all tackle by educating the public and businesses nationwide about the consequences of wasting food and make it a national cause.

Second: embrace new ways of thinking to minimise waste. Following the food waste hierarchy is key – prevent waste in the first place, re-use what we can, redistribute surplus and divert scraps to other uses (such as animal feed). Some progress is being made via national waste reduction campaigns, adoption of charity redistribution schemes and numerous initiatives to reduce waste throughout the supply chain.

Third: provide a solution for the fraction of food waste we cannot prevent. Things like gristle, bones and shells are ideal feedstock for food waste recycling that turns discarded scraps into green electricity and gas. For businesses, recycling unavoidable food waste can give a 53% cost saving compared with traditional waste management alternatives.

Finally: strict legislation – as in China – to make the above ideas part of our everyday lives. A national ban on food waste to landfill is a key part of a more sustainable society and would make our ‘throwaway culture’ a thing of the past, penalising those who fail to follow the rules, benefitting us all. 

We can learn from the aggressive stance taken in China and follow best practice, implementing national change to make wasting food a thing of the past. 

There are clear environmental, financial and food security benefits to changing the way we approach the issue — if we do not act soon the consequences could prove devastating.

New Sustainable Food Shop for Chew Magna

Sadly, James and Rhia Gardiner Bateman recently lost their father – and in his memory, have decided to open a new healthy food store in Chew Magna High Street, where the travel agent used to be.

James and Rhia are passionate about great produce. Both having been been raised in the Chew Valley, they are keen to source as much of their stock as possible from local suppliers.

“Refill, Reuse, Replenish” – they will be encouraging people to bring their own containers to refill, and will also be supplying sustainable methods of packaging in store. The elimination of plastic packaging is a big thing for JAR’s – the name reflects this and is also an amalgamation of James and Rhia’s names!

Consumer-led suggestions and feedback are very important to this keen team, as they want to supply just what the community would like to see.

There will be substantial range of whole foods in dispensers with scoops (pulses, baking essentials, dried fruits, nuts, cereals, rice, pasta and other wonderfully organic and healthy delights). Just bring along a container and you can buy the exact quantity you require.

Fresh foods will include beautiful breads in-house on a daily basis; assorted sourdoughs, focaccia, vegan/non-vegan pastries, and home-baked savoury offerings, as well as a range of organic fruit and vegetables.

Coffee is a huge pastime and hobby of James’ – he is thrilled to be offering specialty coffee for takeaway with his pride and joy, a La Marzocco machine. As well as Espresso-based beverages, there will also be a choice of alternating guest filter coffees. 

Also, working closely with James’ friend’s oat milk company, Minor Figures (brewed locally in Shepton Mallet), they will have one of the first refrigerated Oat Milk Dispensers nationwide in the shop.

This is great news for those of us in Chew Magna who have had to go into Bristol to find organic health foods or loose dry goods – we wish them well!

Click on the site title, GreenChew, to return to the blog.

New Mushroom Root Insulation

Kirill Ignatyev, mycelium, the roots of fungi.

Insulation made from the roots of fungi

A partnership between bio-tech firm Biohm and local social enterprise Onion Collective has developed a project to “reinvigorate” Watchet in Somerset. The mill there closed in 2015 with the loss of nearly 200 jobs – almost a fifth of the town’s workforce. 

Insulation moulded from the long, thread-like roots of fungi, is expected to be produced for 10 houses a month.  The roots of the mushrooms, or mycelium, not only “outperform petrochemical/plastic based” materials in thermal and acoustic insulation but is also “safer and healthier”. 

The underground mycelium root structure is is fed with waste and by-products from industrial processes and farms nearby and the process creates insulation panels.  See the BBC link for more details.

BANES Study on Residents’ Carbon Emissions

Department of Energy and Climate Change

BANES – Carbon emissions from households and citizens

BANES commissioned a study to provide an evidence base to inform the Council’s future planning to enable BANES to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Key findings of the study showed:

Emissions and income

Across the UK the wealthiest households produce, on average , more than three times the carbon emissions of the poorest 10% of households.


The average income of UK air passengers is about £60,000, over twice the national average.  In BANES frequent flyers are concentrated in certain neighbourhoods; parts of Chew Valley, Bathavon South, Saltford, Widcombe & Lyncombe, Bathavon North, Bathwick and Lansdown;

Private car usage

Some areas have households with a high dependency on cars for commuting but in many of these neighbourhoods the average distance travelled to work is less than 10km and are more concentrated in the Wards of Southdown, Keynsham South, Westfield, Keynsham North and Odd Down.  These areas could be the focus of attempts to encourage people to change their mode of transport from personal car to forms of transport with lower carbon emissions;

In Publow and Whitchurch, Chew Valley and Mendipmore than 20% of households own three or more cars.

Household fuels

Analysis suggests the highest income households produce more than twice the emissions from the consumption of energy in homes, mostly for heating, than some of the poorest homes;

This trend was bucked for the very poorest households, who were shown to disproportionately live in some of the least efficient dwellings in the UK (rated in EPC bands F or G) and thus the hardest to heat;

In parts of Bathwick, Bathavon South, Clutton and Farmborough, Timsbury, and Publow and Whitchurch, dwellings in EPC bands F and G, comprise up to 50% of all dwellings;

Efforts to reduce the emissions from dwellings should be focused, at least in part, on the lowest incomes households living in the least efficient dwellings, in order to tackle carbon emissions and fuel poverty.

Click the site title, GreenChew, to get to the blog.

New enzyme cocktail digests plastic waste

Image made by CMCNEWG from a waste plastic image by Meaduva.

New enzyme cocktail digests plastic waste ‘six times faster’

A discovery by a University of Portsmouth team is seen as a ‘leap towards beating plastic waste’. The scientists who previously re-engineered the plastic-eating enzyme PETase, have created an enzyme ‘cocktail’ that can digest plastic up to six times faster. 

A second enzyme found in the same waste dwelling bacterium that lives on a diet of plastic bottles, has been combined with PETase to speed up the breakdown of plastic.  PETase breaks down polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common thermoplastic, used to make single-use drinks bottles, clothing and carpets, back into its building blocks, creating an opportunity to recycle plastic infinitely, reducing both plastic pollution and the greenhouse gases driving climate change.  PET takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment but PETase can shorten this time to days.

The same team have combined PETase and its ‘partner’, an enzyme called MHETase, to generate much bigger improvements; mixing PETase with MHETase doubled the speed of PET breakdown and engineering a connection between the two enzymes to create a ‘super-enzyme’, increased this activity by a further three times, a total of six times faster!.

The original PETase enzyme discovery raised the first hope that a solution to the problem of global plastic pollution might be within grasp, although PETase alone is not yet fast enough to make the process commercially viable to handle the tons of discarded PET bottles littering the planet. 

Combining it with a second enzyme and finding together they work even faster, means another leap forward has been taken towards finding a solution to plastic waste.  PETase and the new combined MHETase-PETase both work by digesting PET plastic and returning it to its original building blocks, which allows for plastics to be made and reused endlessly, reducing our reliance on fossil resources such as oil and gas.

The appliance of science wins again!

Waking the Nation to Food Waste

JBloom, Flikr.

WRAP to trailblaze a week of action in March 2021 to ‘wake the nation up’ to the environmental consequences of wasting food

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced that the inaugural ‘Food Waste Action Week’ will run Monday 1 to Sunday 7 March 2021 and bring together organisations from retailers to local authorities, restaurants to manufacturers and beyond.  WRAP will work with a variety of partners to show that wasted food is an issue that affects everyone – and the planet. Wasted food contributes 8-10% of total man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while roughly one third of food produced around the world is wasted.

Since the landmark Courtauld Commitment (2005) and Love Food Hate Waste (2007) the UK’s annual food waste has reduced from 11.2 million tonnes to 9.5 million tonnes.  WRAP is reinforcing its work in citizen food waste prevention, which will be a key focus for the Food Waste Action Week.

The climate emergency continues to matter to UK citizens, meaning that partners have a crucial opportunity to support the Food Waste Action Week and appeal to people’s hearts and minds.  Reaching citizens of all ages with this message is essential for creating lasting change and reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030.  

The Week will also focus on the Hospitality and Food Service sector, looking at what changes they can implement to ensure as little food as possible is thrown away.  Building on the success of the 2019 Stand Up For Food month the week of action will shine a light on how Hospitality and Food Service businesses across the UK can reduce the 1.1 million tonnes of food wasted annually – a almost unbelievably, much of which comes from food ordered but not eaten!  

The WRAP CEO said: “The climate crisis remains one of the biggest and most urgent challenges facing humanity and wasted food is a significant contribution to climate change, something we need to address together. WRAP has the data and research to demonstrate the reality of the issue – what we need is for partners to get this date in the diary, and join us in the Food Waste Action Week activities to make wasting food a thing of the past. WRAP encourages any partners who are interested in taking part in the Food Waste Action Week to get in touch to discuss the plans for this ground-breaking, cross-industry event.

Food is a precious resource; working together, we can prevent it being needlessly wasted and protect the planet.  So local pubs and restaurants, please get engaged!

Money-Saving Expert’s Energy-Saving Hints and Tips

Image by Heartlover1717

Money Saving Expert offer a range of services and one involves energy saving tips ’n’ tricks.  The link above takes you to their website where they asked their customers via Facebook and Twitter energy queries to tell them their energy-saving tips ‘n’ tricks and then they asked the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to tell them if they actually work.  There are some surprising questions and even more surprising answers.  

Here are a few examples:

Q:  Should I leave the heating on low all day even when I’m out, or turn it up only when I need it?

A:  Not a clear cut Yes or No, as it depends on the particular circumstances – check it out.

Q:  Should I put clingfilm on the windows?

A:  Yes! Clingfilm is normally used to wrap sandwiches but it can help keep your home warm. Putting a sheet on your window traps a layer of air that can help stop heat escaping. Other films also work – check it out.

Q: Should I keep the hot water boiler on all the time, or turn it on and off as needed?

A:  Yes if you have oil, gas or LPG central heating but no if you use an electrical immersion heater on Economy 7 or 10 tariff, where overnight use is cheaper – check it out.

Q:  Should I leave lights and appliances on, or turn them on and off each time?

A:  Yes.  Turn off lights when leaving a room, regardless of how long for and be mindful of how many lights you have on at any one time. Avoid leaving TVs and other devices on standby – but savings may be small. 

Q:  If my heating is on, should I keep doors open or closed for each room?

A:  It’s better to keep doors closed for the area you want heated.

Tree Planting in Chew Magna

A small group of socially distanced parishioners planted 100 trees up at the King George V playing fields on Thursday. The trees which were donated by the Woodland Trust include Oak, Field Maple, Wild Cherry, Rowan, Silver Birch and Willow. 

Over the next 50 years these trees will absorb around 100 tonnes of CO2 which is equivalent to the CO2 produced by one gas boiler over the same period. So we need to plant a lot more trees and at the same time improve our house insulation, turn our thermostats down and switch to greener ways of heating our homes. 

Information on ways to improve your Energy Efficiency is posted under ‘Energy’ in the tabs above. More information to follow!

Energy At Home Advice from BANES

Energy at Home provides information on energy related home improvements and grant/loan schemes.  Signposting to approved contractors and installers for Bath and North East Somerset residents considering the Green Homes Grant scheme can be found on the Trustmark website.

 Find out:

– how to tackle damp, mould and condensation problems;

​- which energy saving improvements may be most suitable for your home e.g. heating, insulation and renewable energy technologies;

​-  whether there are any grants or loans available to help cover the cost of installing energy saving improvements 

Freephone 0800 038 5680 ​Or 01225 396444 if you prefer to call a landline.

Tesco and suppliers cut 200,000 tonnes food waste from operations

Image: GDS Infographics

Food waste from supermarkets and their suppliers is a major source of waste that needs to be addressed urgently, as it contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  The Covid pandemic has also shown that food supply chains need to be examined to make them more robust.

The supermarket chain Tesco has been publishing its own food waste data for the eight years and challenges other retailers and food companies to do likewise.  Working in partnership with 71 of its largest suppliers around the world, Tesco reports it has cut 200,000 tonnes of food waste from their combined, worldwide operations in the last eight years.

Working with its own-label suppliers, Tesco has cut 125,000 tonnes of food waste over the last three years and worked in partnership with 11 of the world’s biggest household brands – including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Nestlé and Unilever – who report a further cut of 30,000 tonnes from their operations.

Following this lead, all companies should be setting food waste reduction targets and publish their data.

According to Tesco and members of the global coalition, Champions 12.3 the combined effects of climate change and Covid-19 have made tackling food waste more urgent than ever.  The coalition warns that food waste accounts for 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and that unless we act now, we will undermine our ability to tackle the climate emergency.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has exposed what it calls ‘weaknesses’ in the global food system, driving up food waste, impacting farmer incomes and increasing the number of people who go to bed hungry.

The UK government and its counterparts around the world are being asked to embed food loss and waste reduction into post-Covid plans to bolster supply chains.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO and Chair of Champions 12.3 says that one third of the world’s food is going to waste, while one in nine people go hungry.  If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.  In order to halve global food waste by 2030, more must be done with more urgency than ever before.

Progress is being made, with the UK cutting food waste by 27% since 2007 and hundreds of companies, doing their part but there is still more to do and even more companies need to set food waste reduction targets and publish their data.

A good start but more is needed to be done by other food manufacturers and by consumers to reduce food waste.

4.7 million Brits admit throwing phone away in a waste bin

Image by Kevin, Flikr

In a study by YouGov for Vodafone, 4.7 million people (7%) in the UK admit to throwing their old phone away in a general waste bin instead of recycling or trading, showing how Brits are missing out on £6.9bn of potential savings by not trading in their existing handsets as they upgrade;

Despite the potential savings, 88% of Brits have never traded in a phone before, with the vast majority massively underestimating (by over £100) what a handset could be worth if traded in when choosing a new handset;

third of Brits who don’t trade-in decided to skip savings and keep their old handset as a back-up – but nearly two thirds (58%) say they’ve never used them.  Nearly 60% of households in the UK have between one and three unused devices sitting at home unused;

Security and privacy are big concerns for Brits who don’t trade-in, with a quarter saying they wouldn’t trade in for this reason.  Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of people (25%) who have traded-in say they didn’t receive as much for their phone as they were promised;

E-waste is the fastest growing waste in the world and Vodafone has launched its trade-in tool to help overcome the issues that have put people off trading in their phones.  It is estimated that 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were generated across the planet in 2019projected to reach 75 million tonnes by 2030, 9 kg for every person in the world;

E-waste has great value, with the raw materials contained in the global e-waste generated in 2019 were worth approximately €50.8 billion;

Less than 18% of this global e-waste was officially documented as recycled last year, with the rest either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way and this is despite 71% of the world’s population being covered by e-waste legislation;

This results in a huge loss of valuable and critical raw materials from the supply chain and causes serious health, environmental and societal issues:  we need to do a lot better to preserve our limited resources of rare metals if we want to continue having mobile phones!