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January 20, 2010
Why is waste a problem?
Every year in this country, we throw away almost 30 million tonnes of household waste. That's enough to fill a queue of double decker buses that would stretch from here to Australia and back again! But how often do we stop to think about where all this waste came from and where it all goes?
Often large amounts of energy are needed to take raw materials from the ground, to make or grow the products that we buy and to transport them to the place where they are used. Many products, such as packaging, are used only once before they are thrown away. In some cases we may not even use things at all - research has shown that almost a third of the food we buy in this country gets thrown away! By doing this we are wasting natural resources, wasting energy and wasting money.
Once our rubbish goes in the bin, more energy and money is required to make sure it is transported, treated and disposed of safely. Traditionally in the UK, most of our waste has been sent to landfill, but we can't carry on burying rubbish in the ground forever, there just isn't enough space! There are also other environmental problems associated with disposing of our waste. When biodegradable waste such as food is sent to landfill it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
What can we do?
By tackling the issue of waste through reducing, reusing and recycling, we can all do our bit to help conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Keep an eye on the ‘Watch Your Waste Line' webpages for the latest tips and advice on how to reduce waste. As the campaign progresses we will be adding information on different topics including home composting, junk mail, real nappies, furniture reuse and packaging.