Food Waste

Food Waste recycling: “It’s never as hard as you think”

By Elena Suckling

Elena Suckling reconsidered her relationship with food after being inspired by Going for Gold through her work with the Community RePaint team at Resource Futures. Now the recycling bin no longer hides under the kitchen sink in her flat and she’s started shopping more locally.

I hate to admit it (especially as I work for Resource Futures), but recycling my food waste always seemed like a chore that I’d get around to doing one day. From my days of being a student, all I can remember is the piles of food waste we tried to recycle in our shared kitchen, only to forget about them until they had grown their own ecosystem inside. Plastic? I recycle it. Paper? I recycle it. Glass? Of course, I recycle it. So why it took me so long to start recycling my food waste, I’m not so sure.

I heard about Going for Gold through work and had a look out of curiosity. I found the website friendly, simple to understand and interesting which piqued my interest, so I signed myself up for a few goals to start with. I’m passionate about making a difference in as many ways as I can. With reducing food waste popping up as an option to tackle, it seemed a good thing to try. I already had a food recycling container hiding under the kitchen sink. The breakthrough that cracked my lazy view on actually using it was seeing I could now use any kind of plastic bag or even newspaper to put inside the bin which helps make Recycling Day a breeze. I was instantly hooked. It was amazing for me to see how quickly the bin filled up – it made me feel really guilty for my previously uneasy relationship with recycling food waste.

This increasing pile of food waste was partnered with my new desire to shop local – another action I’d spotted on the Going for Gold website. Instead of visiting my local supermarket, I started picking up fruit and vegetables from my local veg shop at a much cheaper cost, which also has had much less of the dreaded unnecessary, plastic packaging. The vegetables have lasted much longer, the garlic bulbs are huge and I have picked up seasonal vegetables that I hadn’t come across before. I’ve started considering the money I spend on local products as a vote to the organisation I’m buying from, and voting as often as possible… 

Making these small but fundamentally big changes in my lifestyle has made me wonder what else can I do, especially as they were much easier to start and continue than I originally thought. Living in a flat was always an easy excuse for why I couldn’t start or continue these kinds of behaviours before. But as I still live in a flat I promise anybody in a similar mindset, it’s never as hard as you think. Use your pennies to support local, ditch the packaging as an added bonus and get more for your money. Putting out one more box on recycling day is no chore, and now I know I’m sending that food to the right place. 

Order food recycling containers from the Bristol City Council website.

Not keen on the council food caddies? Get inspiration from Paul on simple alternatives

Elena Suckling is a member of the Community RePaint team who run a UK-wide paint reuse network sponsored by Dulux. The network aims to collect leftover paint and redistribute it to benefit individuals, families, communities and charities in need at an affordable cost to brighten their spaces and their lives. The network is run on a day-to-day basis by Resource Futures, an environmental consultancy in Bristol.

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