Pace Says Reduce & Re-Purpose

In these challenging times it’s easy and understandable to feel that the climate and environmental crisis should take a back seat. However, some of the key ways that we can make a difference to the environment as individuals and communities are relevant to living under the influence of a global pandemic.

The empty shelves in our supermarkets show how fragile our food supply is and as services we take for granted are not available, we need to think creatively about consuming only what we need and making the best use of what we have.

PACE (Practical Action for Climate and the Environment) Manningtree wants to help with some simple and hopefully useful tips.

With Colchester Borough Council recently stopping the collection of kerbside recycling, what do we do with all those items we normally put in our red and green recycling bins? First we need to REDUCE the amount of recyclable items we create:

  1. Take empty fabric conditioner and similar bottles to a shop for refilling rather than buying new, e.g. at the Wholefood Store in Manningtree. One customer has been re-using the same bottle for over 20 years!
  2. The demise of the milkman was premature – you can get bottles of milk (and fresh juices among other things) delivered to your door, just like days of old. Simply wash and put the bottles out for collection and re-use. Have a look at:
  3. Switch the way you receive paper bills to online-only so you don’t get them through the post.
  4. Don’t buy individual cans of beans and pulses. Instead, buy dried beans and soak/cook them yourself. They go much further than a can – 100g of dried beans is equivalent to a 400g can.
  5. Buy staples such as oats and toilet paper in bulk. Greencane will deliver 48 toilet rolls to your door with no packaging other than the cardboard box they are packed in.
    The recyclable items we do end up with can be RE-PURPOSED for all manner of things:
  6. Composting – a limited amount of paper and cardboard can be put in your compost bin. If you don’t have a compost heap, why not start one? Watch PACE’s helpful five-minute video here: Even if compost isn’t your thing you can give it to a keen gardening neighbour who is.
  7. Tin cans can have holes punched in the bottom and be used as plant pots, as can yogurt pots.
  8. Plastic food trays and punnets can be used in place of seed trays when pricking out seedlings and fit well on a sunny windowsill.
  9. Cardboard toilet and kitchen roll inners can be used to start off parsnip or sweet pea seeds for growing.
  10. Use the bags that cereal comes in to wrap sandwiches or food that is stored in the fridge.
  11. Children can use packaging to create rockets, castles, space stations – this is great for scene building with Lego figures.
    In these difficult times, PACE believes that the mantra should be Reduce – Refuse – Re-purpose before you even think about recycling. Let’s take the time that we have to think before items go in the bin, even if that bin is normally taken for recycling. In the short term this will help us and in the long term, it will hopefully create habits that will help the planet.

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