There are lots of ways householders and businesses can reduce waste, save money and reduce their impact on the environment, and here are a few ideas to get you off to a flying start!

Reduce your food waste

We can all help to reduce our food waste and save money – here are some top tips from the BBC Good Food Guide.

  • Plan ahead and shop for what you need. Maybe take a ‘shelfie’ – a picture of your food cupboard so you know what’s there when you shop.
  • Use leftovers. There are some great recipes for using leftover food, from the tried and tested Bubble & Squeak to a Crusty Bread Salad. More tasty ideas here.
  • Love your freezer. Batch-cook and freeze portions for meals during the week, which helps with portion control and can be cheaper, too.

You can find out even more on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Recycle your food waste

Use a kitchen food caddy to separate food waste from other rubbish – this helps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and also stops your rubbish bin from smelling. All food waste including meat, fish and cooked food can go in your food and garden waste collection. (please note: in Fenland, food is excluded from the charged for garden waste collections).

Top tip! Separating your food waste can also help to identify the types of food that are being wasted, how you could reduce food waste and save money.

Top tip! Make some tasty food from your Halloween pumpkins – here are some recipes.

Compost at home

Many of us will be out in the garden during the autumn, pruning and clearing ready for winter, so now is a great time to start composting at home!

Compost bins are available from garden centres and are made of durable plastic or timber. Some of the district councils in Cambridgeshire also sell home compost bins – check your council’s website for details or visit the Get Composting website. Buy one with a door on the front to make it easier to get the compost out of the bottom.

You could make your own compost bin from old timber or pallets – here are some ideas. Or you could just start a compost heap in an unused corner of larger gardens!

Top tip! Don’t forget you can add vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and some types of tea bags to your compost – but not meat or cooked food as these attract vermin.

Use soil improver

Visit the Waterbeach Waste Management Park and ‘dig your own’ soil improver made by composting the green and food waste collected from Cambridgeshire homes. 

Top tip! The soil improver is rich in nutrients that plants need – you could even end up growing tasty new vegetables using soil improver made from your old vegetable peelings!

Dig your own! [box/graphic]

You can ‘dig your own’ soil improver at the Waterbeach Waste Management Park! The soil improver is free to collect from our site and you can take as much as you like. You can also buy soil improver at Household Recycling Centres if this is more convenient.

How much food waste is there?

The Love Food Hate Waste campaign estimates that households throw away a staggering 7 million tonnes of food waste every year – and almost two thirds of this is edible!

According to the average family of four throws away around £700 of edible food every year. That’s around 11 meals per month!

The National Allotment Society estimates allotment holders and gardeners with vegetable patches can save up to £1,300 on their annual grocery bills by growing their own fruit and veg!

What about ‘compostable packaging’ – will it actually compost?

We get asked a lot of questions about compostable packaging. Whilst it may eventually break down and there are recognised standards for these products, it’s actually quite difficult.

At the moment, our position is that householders shouldn’t put compostable packaging in their food or garden for collection, because it is difficult to identify whether a food tray is normal plastic or biodegradable.

It’s unlikely that compostable packaging will degrade very quickly in your compost bin at home, because the temperatures are not likely to be as high as commercial composting systems.

What happens to your food and garden waste?