The A - Z to Eco: K & L
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Date: 8 March, 2012
Working our way through from A to Z of the environment, Suzanne Elvidge continues the series with a look at K and L.
'The Keep Britain Tidy campaign was started in 1955.'
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K is for…
...Keep Britain Tidy. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign was started in 1955.
As well as campaigning against litter, it covers dog fouling and fly tipping, and even chewing gum, graffiti, fly posting and abandoned vehicles.
Fast food litter is the most common kind of litter. Litter looks bad, and makes an area look uncared for, but why is it an environmental problem?
Small animals such as lizards can get trapped inside bottles, animals and birds can suffocate inside plastic bags, eating litter can harm animals and birds, glass and cans can cause injuries, and drinks can connectors can entangle wildlife.
What can you do? Don’t drop litter – if there is no bin, just take it home with you. Next time you see a bit of litter be a litter hero and simply pick it up and put it in the nearest bin.
If litter is a bigger problem, why not organise a Big Tidy Up? And until then, follow Keep Britain Tidy on Twitter (and follow Surefish too).
K is also for Kyoto – follow this blog to get the bigger picture.
L is for….
…landfill, which follows on logically from litter. In the UK, we generate 280 million tonnes of waste a year – that’s 265 kg of waste per person that is not recycled, composted or reused.
At this rate, we could run out of landfill by 2018. We seem to be getting somewhere at last – according to DEFRA, in 2010 the proportion of waste collected by local authorities that went into landfill fell to 44%.
This has been falling since 2002, partly because recycling rates are increasing, and partly because waste generation per household is falling.
However, there is still too much compostable and recyclable material going into landfill – for example, homes in the UK throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food a year, which rots and generates methane, a greenhouse gas, as well as wasting money.
How can we cut what goes to landfill? Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost (you can compost cooked food using a Bokashi bin).
A lot of food that is still perfectly good to eat ends up in landfill because of best before dates – companies such as Approved Food sell food that is short-dated or out of date at clearance prices. Save money and save landfill!
While this isn’t an excuse for it, landfill may even end up as a resource. Advanced Plasma Power is mining landfill. The project will dig up a landfill site in Belgium and extract recyclable material, and then convert the remaining material into renewable energy.
The em[POWER] Energy Group is working with people living in landfill sites in the developing world, setting up recycling, composting and biodigester schemes and supporting schools and clinics.
Read the AB article in the series
Read the CD article in the series
Read the EF article in the series
Read the GH article in the series
Read the IJ article in the series
Suzanne Elvidge is a freelance writer and the Surefish Ethical Living Editor