Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Branded corporate gifts that help reduce waste


 Catching up with The Green Desk's Yasmin Halai-Carter at 
UKAware 2011
This weekend saw me scoot down to London again to visit UKAware, the UK's largest and longest running contemporary sustainable lifestyle exhibition

This was my third annual visit and I have to admit, it was a great excuse to catch up with some of my old friends and have a good mooch around to see what's new.  As ever, I came away buzzing with excitement over the amazing projects I saw, but having had a press pack for the first time ever - and having been accompanied by my six year old, who is a magnet for freebies -  I also noticed I was laden down with stuff!

And it really got me thinking about all the conferences and corporate events out there, where freebies are giving out willy-nilly, to get brands right under the noses of the people with the purse-strings.  Yes, I've been used to a career packed with squashy balls, mouse mats, and laptop bags, not to mention the ubiquitous and equally useless gym-kit style bags to fetch them home in, with carrying strings that bury deep into your hands, but in recent years I've trained myself well to refuse most branded clutter.  You know...applying that age-old mantra of REDUCE!

However, at UKAware I was intrigued by the alternative options that are now available for the more eco-conscious corporate merchandiser and naturally my antennae turned towards the cool stuff that actually helps people reduce waste.  I thought I'd include some of my findings here.


If you're giving away reusable bags at your conference or exhibition stand, that's a great thing to do right?  Well, yes, it's a step in the right direction towards waste-busting giving, but wouldn't it be better if that bag was made from recycled materials in the first place!

That's where Onya comes in, with its range of branded bags that are made from recycled PET bottles.  I've been a fan of Onya bags ever since I saw them during my first visit to UKAware and I don't think you could get a bag that is more lightweight or which is so easy at being packed up.  It even comes with its own pouch and clip to make it easier to carry around.  For more details visit


It may be my inner geek shouting here, but I just LOVE these USB batteries that I discovered in my goody bag.  With a house full of remote controls, handheld game consoles, cameras and other gadgets, these energy-packed miracle workers are just the thing!  Again, I'm a long term fan and have even been known to add some to my kids' Christmas stockings and they love them too, as you just bung them into your USB slot to recharge, saving a fortune in batteries in the process.  As well as selling branded batteries, I've noticed there's also a commemorative pack for the Royal Wedding.  More info about these funky little batteries can be found at


And here's another personal favourite, the staple-less stapler, helping to reduce the office worker's dependency on steel.  This one is branded with the Green Desk's web address, which also happens to be the company that sells them.  It comes with a great quote that reads "If every office worker in the UK used 1 less staple a day we would save 120 tonnes of steel a year".  Wowzer!  For more branded products like this, as well as everyday sustainable office items can be found at

So, I'm pretty happy with the freebies that I picked up at UKAware this year.  It just goes to show that businesses don't need to give their customers ready-made landfill as part of their marketing strategy and can instead offer items that can actually save them money and help reduce their waste in the first place. You just need to find the right places to look and UKAware is just one of those places that is well worth watching for solutions that match your brand's ethics.


UKAware is now selling exhibition stands for its Bristol event, which takes place on 18th-19th June 2011.  For further details, please visit  And if you've ever wondered where the organisation sources its promotional T-shirts, just check out ethical clothing company Pier32.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Wipe Out Waste Welly Boot Camp

I love my job!  That's if you can call being a roving rubbish-busting blogger a job, I suppose it's more of a vocation.  However, no matter what you call it,  I am just appreciative of the places I end up and the brilliant people I meet in the process.

And this week my adventures took me from the East of England to the West Country, from Suffolk to Somerset, where I teamed up with a host of eco-mentors at a "Welly" Boot Camp for a national schools' award called Wipe Out Waste.  And trust me, this competition is so cool, Jools Holland has even produced the theme song.

The Wipe Out Waste programme is the brainchild of the fabulous Karen Ford, the founder of its platform organisation Footprint Friends, which was launched to raise awareness of environmental issues amongst 10-18 year olds.

Karen Ford, founder of Footprint Friends and Wipe Out Waste

Wipe Out Waste is about reaching out to these children, asking them for innovative ideas that could potentially be pitched to industry or rolled out to all schools to help eliminate waste.  And last year's winning entry is a great example of how the competition can really make a difference to participants and industries that are involved.

Ringwood School Hampshire were last year's winners.  The team is pictured above with Yeo Valley's Graham Keating and eco-mentor Giles Aspinall from The Magdalen Project.  It is thanks to their idea and their working relationship with Yeo Valley that the yoghurt manufacturer's HQ was the location for the boot camp.

I witnessed Ringwood School's pitch during last year's Wipe Out Waste finals, which was for yoghurt pots to be made from standardised plastics that would be easy to recycle across the UK.  They had already contacted yoghurt manufacturers as part of their research and Yeo Valley welcomed their questions and ideas with open arms.  The winning team has since visited Yeo Valley on a number of occasions and has become involved in discussions about improving the plastics used.  The team from Ringwood also came along to the Welly Boot Camp as mentors for this year's entrants and it was clear from conversations how both the school and Yeo Valley have benefited from the competition and the direct link-up.

Coming back to this year's shortlisted entrants (pictured below), the Welly Boot Camp was a fabulous opportunity for school teams from right across the country to meet a range of eco-mentors who coached them through confidence improvement tricks, presentation skills, media training as well as offering a chance to brainstorm their ideas with industry professionals.

Schools included: Abbots Hill School, Hertfordshire; Dixon City Academy, Bradford;  Hollyfield School Kingston; The Mountbatten School, Romsey; Sidcup School; St. Lukes, Exeter and 
St Timothy's, Glasgow.

After such an intensive programme, representatives from each team delivered a brief presentation to the rest of the audience about their experience and what they'd learned from the day.  I couldn't help but be struck by their confidence, enthusiasm and was quite overwhelmed by the realisation that standing in front of us were such an amazing range of leaders.  We often think that children are the leaders of the future, but actually it became pretty obvious that with their ambition and enthusiastic delivery these young people are actually leaders of today.

I'm now looking forward to the finals, where the shortlisted schools will each get an opportunity to use the skills they learned from this week's boot camp and pitch their ideas to a group of 'green dragons', some of whom were part of the eco-mentor team, including my lovely pal author and broadcaster (and WOW project manager) Tracey Smith, the Carbon Coach aka Dave Hampton and Good Energy's Joe Wadsworth, who are pictured below with the rest of the team.

Back row L-R, John (Professor Fiddlesticks), Giles (The Magdalen Project); Karen (Footprint Friends); Joe (Good Energy); Julian (The Environment Agency).  Front row L-R: Me; Ben (Footprint Friends); Dave (The Carbon Coach); Tracey; Robin (; Martin (New Energy Thinking); Graham (Yeo Valley)

The only people missing were the guys from media company Nice and Serious, who were no doubt off filming somewhere.  So it's a good job I'd snapped Tom and Matt at work the night before:

The results of the competition will be announced in the Summer, when the schools get a chance to present their ideas in an environment that is very similar to Dragon's Den.  Having chatted to most of the shortlisted schools, I can already see it's going to be a tough decision for the judges.

So watch this space for a summer update and in the meantime why not get prepared to encourage your local school to enter next year...or at least for now join in the Wipe Out Waste sing-song, which you can hear in the video below:

The song is also available to download via  iTunes.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Wakey wakey, it's UKAware.

(photo taken during UKAware 2009)

If you've got any free time on Friday of Saturday and can get into London, I've got a real treat for your diary, as the end of this week sees the launch of the 4th year of  UKAware, the UK's leading sustainable living show.  

Running from Friday 25th to Saturday 26th March, at London Olympia, it promises a fun packed programme of activities, seminars and workshops as well as aisles full of eco and ethical companies highlighting their products and services.

This will be the third year that I have trekked down to London to visit the show and I love it!  Not only does it give you a chance to keep up with the latest news and solutions in sustainability but it is also a brilliant opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new people too.

If you want to find out more about what's going on at UKAware this year, then your first port of call is their website, where there's a fantastic blog showing what's coming up.  Also, check out Lucy Siegle's Guardian article on Danny Carnegie, the founder of UKAware, who reveals a few unexpected things about his background.  I suppose you could say he's not your average event organiser by any means.

So what am I looking forward to the most this year?  Bearing in mind I'll have one of my kiddiwinks with me for the first time ever, I think it might be the children's activities are most likely to be the highlight this year.  However I'm also looking forward to catching up with my favourite stallholders, some lovely pals whom I've met through this blog and a few of my literary friends too, including author of The Frugal Life, Piper Terrett, Book of Rubbish Ideas author, Tracey Smith, and sustainability writer Brigit Strawbridge, who will all be busy leading inspirational workshops and panels.

Whether you're coming from a serious angle, or just want to have some fun, UKAware is definitelly one of the unmissable events of the year. 

So if you fancy coming along and want to meet up on the Saturday, then do let me know.  I've also got TEN FREE TICKETS to give away to followers of this blog, which are valid for either date. These will go to the first ten people to email me at

So go on...I know you're tempted, even if it's just a little bit........ and it really really really would be lovely to see you.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

From St Edmundsbury's Zero Waste Week to Zero Waste Europe

Zero Waste Europe - representatives from 13 European countries

I hope you're prepared for another one of those moments where I proclaim, "I would never have guessed that when I signed up to St Edmundsbury's Zero Waste Week challenge, that I'd end up throwing out just a plaster or visiting landfill or going on the BBC............... or even still blogging about it three years later.

Well, I trust that you're sitting down, because I most definitely could not have guessed that three years to the exact week that I took the Zero Waste Week challenge I would end up at an international strategy meeting in Brussels.

Trangressing away from the question of "how the blimmin' 'eck did a housewife from Suffolk end up in an international forum on the continent,  and more importantly ...who was left sorting out the recycling back at home",  I really want to emphasise what an important step, the creation of a Zero Waste Europe alliance actually is to the future of sustainable waste practices on the global platform and at local level.  Anyone who is at all interested in the subject of reducing waste should certainly keep the development of this alliance at the forefront of their awareness, and if appropriate tap into the emerging network of Zero Waste expertise that is developing across Europe.

So what is it?  At its most simple definition Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) is an alliance that brings together municipalities, companies, universities and organisations committed to work to eliminate waste in Europe.
It's about raising awareness of the philosophy, the strategies, and defining practical tools that seek to eliminate waste, not just manage it and the alliance coordinates the development of these concepts throughout Europe and organises activities to promote it.

With links to the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), which itself was created in 2003, ZWE works at a more local level, acting as an umbrella group for the Zero Waste interest groups that are starting to emerge throughout Europe.  Some of these groups were represented at Monday's strategy meeting, including the ZWUK, Zero Waste Italy, Zero Waste Catalonia, and  Zero Waste Hungary, along with waste reduction campaigners and strategists from organisations such as Friends of the Earth, WasteWatch, the European Environmental Bureau and Centre national d'information indépendante sur les déchets (CNIID). 

I could go on, but I think it's enough to say that with representation from countries that included France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and the UK, we are looking at great potential for change and sharing of best practice.

As well as coming together to define the strategic direction of the alliance, the group was also able to hear first hand about the successful experiences in developing local Zero Waste vision and practical examples within communities, ranging from villages to municipalities. 

Rossano Ercolini, founder of Rifiuti Zero Italia shared the latest update from Italy, where over 35 municipalities have now formally adopted the Zero Waste goal in a move that improves waste reduction processes for a combined population of over 12 million people. They have also developed an official Zero Waste Research Centre, an idea that demonstrates the necessity of knowledge management and research in the move towards Zero Waste economies.

The UK's Mal Williams, founder of ZWIA, ZWUK and trustee of CLYCH, Wales Community Recycling Network, outlined the success stories of Zero Waste areas in Wales, including St Arvans and more recently Presteigne,  With news that the community should achieve an 89% recycling and waste reduction goal by the end of the year.

One thing that struck me about Mal's presentation, was that aside from the practical processes and economic or sustainable benefits of Zero Waste, his vision is to implement the philosopy as a productive instrument for social change.  By rethinking the whole idea of waste management,  there are opportunities to empower ownership within communities and to redistribute wealth drawn from recyclates back into the community, supporting a movement towards renewed self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

With so much information that was shared at the ZWE and strength of collaboration that exists, I have to concede that this blogpost could not even stretch to covering it all.  Just this minor snapshot cannot do it proper justice.

However, the message that I really want to convey is that the goal of Zero Waste is certainly here to stay, as is the visionary journey towards it.  And it is thanks to the commitment, knowledge and skills of professionals and practitioners who are developing a world where the idea of waste will eventually be regarded as historic as a world without wheels.

So, if this is something that you or your oganisation supports and would like to find out more information, then I'd encourage you to make contact with your local representative body.

In the UK, your first line of contact should be the Zero Waste Alliance UK, which also happens to have its AGM taking place in April.  Of course, if you're elsewhere in Europe, Zero Waste Europe will be able to direct you to your local alliance.

Finally, would I ever dream of coming back without a souvenir of my recycling memoires?  Of course not.  So, courtesy of Eurostar and Brussels-Midi train station I'll leave you with a photo of the most colourful and fabulously designed set of recycling bins I've ever had the fortune to experience.  And look at those holes, so reminiscent of a toddlers' shape-sorting toy, I bet I could have kept my kids entertained for days!


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Guest post:: Mrs B gives up rubbish for Lent

 Melanie Bennett blogs about living, riding and eating in Yorkshire over at

Today's post comes courtesy of regular Tweeter and blogger, MrsBYork, aka Melanie Bennett, whom I first 'met' when she left a comment on The Rubbish Diet several years ago and have since met properly during a visit to the city of York. When Mel told me last week that she was giving up rubbish for Lent, I was naturally intrigued to pick up on her story and asked if she'd mind writing a guest post.  I'll now leave you in Mel's company where she kindly shares news of her fantastic challenge.

Over to you Mrs B.....
I've never claimed to be hugely religious - I'm nominally Christian, was baptised into the Church of England as a baby, attend Quaker Meeting for Worship when I can (I wish I could make it more often, that life didn't get in the way so much) but in recent years I have got into the habit of observing Lent.  It's as much about challenging myself and developing better habits as it is about making religious sacrifices.  In previous years I've given up alcohol, meat, junk food - and always felt better, in body and mind, by Easter Sunday.

This year I've decided to give up rubbish - both in terms of what I eat and what I put in the bin.  There shall be no takeaway food, and no ready-meals, between now and Easter (technically, Sundays are not included in Lent, but as I'm committed to my proper Sunday dinners we don't tend to eat such things on Sundays anyway.)  And there shall be no rubbish going into my landfill bin, or at least as little as possible.  As a long-term follower of The Rubbish Diet I like to think I'm already doing pretty well - but I do get lazy at times, and I don't always make the effort to choose well when I'm shopping, so by making a concerted effort for 40 days I'm hoping to get back on track.

So, where am I starting from?  Well, I already have:

  • A tiny bin.  When we moved to this house a couple of years ago I decided that I didn't want to give house-room to rubbish, so I bought the smallest bin I realistically could - this little guy from IKEA tucks into the cupboard under the kitchen sink and holds 14 litres of waste.  He gets emptied, currently, about once a week.  My aim is to not empty him again until Easter weekend.
My kitchen bin, spray bottle shown for scale

  • A good kerbside recycling program.  City of York council collects waste and recyclables on alternate weeks.  They take paper, card, glass, plastic bottles (though, as many other councils, not any other plastics), metal cans and foil.
  • A Household Waste Recycling Centre within walking/ cycling distance, for those things the kerbside collection doesn't deal with. It would make my life easier if the full range of facilities were available to pedestrians & cyclists though - at the moment we have to drive there if we want to recycle our tetrapak cartons!  Local shops also have collecting points for things like batteries, water filter cartridges and plastic bags.
  • Composters!  I volunteer for York Rotters, a local  composting advice service, my back yard is my trialling-ground and I've just taken delivery of my latest toy - a Green Johanna hot composter, which is suitable for all types of food waste.  I also have a standard "dalek" type compost bin, a wormery and a (rather unsuccessful, I'm afraid, & thus neglected) bokashi set.
  • Bags.  I hate carrier bags with a passion, and keep a collection of Onya bags in my handbag.  I have a couple of sets of Onya Weighs too, & need to get back in the habit of using them.
At the time of writing we're currently on the second day of Lent, the bin is empty - long may it remain so!

So you see there's always an opportunity to give yourself a rubbish challenge, not just when it's New Year or when the kids go back to school, and this is truly an inspirational idea for anyone who follows Lent.  Mel has promised to update us on the progress of her challenge and I'm looking forward to hearing her news.  In the meantime, if you want to find out how she's getting on, you can follow her on Twitter at @MrsBYork, or visit her blog Stuff and Nonsense, where she's got a great blogpost about the Green Johanna. Thanks for sharing such a great idea Mrs B. I hope it's a real success.


Friday, 11 March 2011

Ideal Home Show engages bloggers in its 103rd year

It's been at least a whole decade since I visited the Ideal Home Show.  The last and only time I came was when I was working in London in the 1990s.  Gosh that actually makes it seem much longer...especially as I now realise that it was in fact some time last century.

But there's nothing quite like being offered a press pass to get me racing to a top London lifestyle show that itself is now over a century old, and all because I wanted to have a proper nosey around the eco refit of a replica of No.1 Coronation Street.

Yes, I admit to being a Corrie fan even from the olden days of Albert Tatlock and it was very interesting being behind the scenes while William Roache, aka Ken Barlow, was being interviewed for Daybreak.  However it was the comparison between the old and the new that really grabbed me, focusing on products and solutions that are available to householders who are considering making their homes more energy efficient and eco-friendly.  And of course, it was a real bonus being able to take snaps before the busy crowds appeared....and trust me, this is the Ideal Home Show so it IS very busy!

(William Roache meeting designer George Clarke, just after the Daybreak broadcast)

The celebrity architect George Clarke, aka Restoration Man, responsible for the eco refit of the fictional terraced home took us on a preview tour of the Coronation Street house, highlighting that the challenge for the UK is that there are around 25 million older homes which are far from energy efficient, whether through lack of insulation, sub-standard boilers and heating systems or choice of appliances. Naturally that represents not just an issue with rising fuel prices, but also a major market opportunity for suppliers targeting the eco market.

(Restoration Man, George Clarke highlighting the inadequacies of Ken Barlow's heating system)

As we walked through the replica terrace, it did feel like nothing much had changed from the days when such a house would have been built, except for the odd pieces of retro technology such as the ancient old boiler (and I don't mean Deirdre Barlow) and the infamous set of flying ducks.

But moving into the refit next-door, you could see what opportunities are available, with a bit of imaginative wall-removing and addition of clever eco-features.

Out go the cramped rooms and in come the open plan designs that offer a more spacious feel for modern living.  Not only did it feel more roomy, but it was more heat efficient too with home insulation, double-glazing and under-floor heating.  George highlighted that it is what you can't see that really makes the difference and could not emphasise the importance of insulation enough.  His top tip before you do anything else, was that great insulation should be the priority.

Of course my interests as ever are in the recycling elements of modern design, and as the group of journalists and bloggers continued upstairs, I couldn't help get just a tad distracted by the kitchen worktop, which was made out of recycled glass bottles from London bars and restaurants as well as old underground Tube train windows.

(Recycled glass worktops from

I also noted that just because it's a modest sized house, plenty of room can still be made available for simple clutter-free storage (now wouldn't that sort out a space for your recycling).

By the time I reached the first floor, the eco architect was extolling the virtues of the tiles in the ensuite bathroom, enthusiastically describing how they "magically" convert Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen.  I know, I had to read that twice too.  Although I can't quite get my head around the technology I can confirm they are made from 95% recycled materials.

 (Floor and wall tiles, available from )

Now that the preview tour is over and I'm sat in the specially equpped Bloggers' lounge, perched on a stool just behind the the Corrie replica house, I can see the queues of visitors waitng patiently to take a peek at the houses for themselves.  All I can say is that if you're visiting the show and are considering an eco refit of your own - or are indeed a fan of the long-running soap - it is worth having a look around.  The tour of the house offers a great opportunity for reminiscing AND forward thinking...and if you are a Corrie fan, you may even get to hang out in "Ken & Deirdre's bedroom" and admire the creases in Ken Barlow's trousers.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Scrapping your car? Ever thought about doing it for charity?

 Tom Chance, founder of fundraising organisation Give A Car

Now don't fall off your chairs at hearing from me twice in one month will you!  Well it is March you know, almost springtime, which means I'm coming out of my winter hibernation and getting out more.  I even ventured down to London AGAIN last week, to celebrate MyZeroWaste's shortlisting in the PEA Awards, where they were just pipped to the post by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Landshare campaign.  Great news and well-deserved for the Landshare team but MyZeroWaste was also a real winner in my eyes.

The following day, while I was still in the big smoke,  I also took the opportunity to find out more about an amazing but relatively new social enterprise that I'd discovered only hours before I'd left Suffolk.  Called Give A Car, it won't surprise me if they too make it on to the green carpet of some prestigious awards during the next twelve months.  Their concept is none other than genius!

Based in Putney, Give A Car was founded in January last year by graduate Tom Chance, with the aim of raising money for charity.  Since its inception, the fundraising organisation has processed approximately 3,000 cars nationwide, distributing a whopping £250,000 amongst 250 registered charities.

And the idea is simple.  When a driver needs to scrap their car, they simply contact Give A Car, who will arrange its collection at no cost to the owner.  The vehicle is assessed and is either resold at auction or sold for salvage.  Either way, 75% of the return to Give A Car is given to the charity of the donor's choice . The remaining 25% is retained by the fundraising company to cover administration overheads.

And everyone benefits, especially charities who are always on the look out for new and inventive ways of raising much-needed funds.

So if you know a friend or relative who's about to send their old banger to a scrapyard, do tell them about Give A Car won't you.  You can find out more about how the organisation works at its website or call them on 020 0011 1664 for more details.

I'm rather getting used to my trips to London and tomorrow it's the turn of the Ideal Home Show, where I guess I'll be one of the rare breeds of bloggers specifically going along to hunt out recycling bins.  If there's anything novel that jumps out at me, I'll be sure to report back.  Yes, I know, that'll be three posts in a month, so you'd better watch out and I'd better be careful or my laundry will soon be piling up!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Saving energy on a supermarket sweep

A couple of weeks ago I attended a sponsored bloggers lunch at a sustainable restaurant in West Hampstead to mark the launch of Sainsbury's consumer energy-saving initiative, in conjunction with British Gas.

British Gas and Sainsbury's had already partnered to offer customers gas and electricity services through Sainsbury's Energy but the buzz of the day or indeed that week was the launch of a new range of products and services that can actually save their customers energy while they shop!

Yes I know, I too have got that same image of busy customers flocking to Sainsbury's and being wafted with natural fans and fruity cocktails, while the fresh young interns do the supermarket dash to fullfil that part of their training programme, leaving them suitably recharged to go about the rest of their business.  Ok, only in my own dreams then!

Cutting back to the real world, what we are really talking about here is a prime opportunity to help shoppers become more sustainable in their energy usage, through new services such as home insulation, solar panels and energy monitors.  This stuff that is normally reserved for the mysterious world of eco or sensible- living enthusiasts has finally made it onto a mainstream supermarket floor.

With six permanent energy centres and one mobile unit, Sainsbury's customers will be able to get advice instore whilst picking up their weekly shopping, and for many, their starting point will be to book a home-assessment to calculate their current energy rating.  Of course, customers are rewarded with a range of Nectar points for any of the services and products they choose.

Now what I find quite interesting about all this, is not the service offering itself...  (despite the urgency for us all to save energy due to issues of peak oil and climate change, I'm afraid that the subject doesn't quite float my daily boat)...but more so the increased opportunities that supermarkets have in influencing consumer behaviour.

With so many shoppers dependent on their local supermarkets for the bulk of their shopping, it makes sense that such major retailers can offer a range of services to help consumers become greener.  The more profitable the service is to a retailer, the more it can expand and deliver the message, and the more customers there will be sat at home saving energy and benefiting from reduced fuel bills. 

Now being one of life's dreamers, during the last couple of weeks, I've let my thoughts wander in a rather frivulous direction about the power that supermarkets have to influence consumer action and how they can actively raise awareness to help customers keep their green halos polished to a sparkle.  And I have to admit, I've seen some great examples on the Sainsbury's website about what they're doing in the particular area that does get me very excited... i.e..reducing waste.

And in this sector (with the exception of some understandable localised disappointment) Sainsbury's generally seems to be stepping up to the mark on strategic waste reduction initiatives, including reducing product packaging, leading a UK based  mixed plastics recycling trial and diverting food waste from landfill through donating surplus food to Fareshare, before even considering solutions such as anaerobic digestion.  The company is also working hard on its stock control and forecasting to reduce surplus food in the first place.

I suppose the only key things on my wish list that aren't yet fulfilled are comprehensive onsite Tetra Pak recycling banks for customers to return the ubiquitous carton in areas where kerbside collection isn't available.  And I also think that supermarkets should give their support to washable nappies and sanitary products too, to help raise wider awareness that convenient products are available in our disposable oriented culture.

But coming back to the subject of energy you don't need to be a Sainsbury's Energy customer to add loft insulation to your basket of energy-saving solution or any of their other products for that matter, but if you want to convert, bear in mind that their Green Energy solution is not available yet.  Apparently it's in the pipeline (what a relevant turn of phrase) and won't be long.  For the moment the energy-saving products are the priority.

And finally, if you're a Sainsbury's customer and you haven't done so already, you might find it useful to hunt down the low energy lightbulb recycling bank. Apparently, news on the street is that there's now a bank in every store, making it a convenient solution to recycling your energy-saving bulbs.  And you can tell how long it's been since I've popped down to our local supermarket.  I took a tourist snap for my memoirs and made a mental note that it's another service that's closer to home than my household waste recycling's just a shame I forgot to take my bulbs while I was passing.  Oh well, no-one's perfect!  Maybe next time eh!

Blogger disclosure: the blogger lunch was arranged by PR company TVC, who also covered travel expenses to the event and provided attendees with a range of Sainsbury's products as a thank you for attendance.   This has not influenced the nature of this post or indeed my opinion, as I would have attended anyway and reported back in the same way.  It just means it cost a lot less to get there, I had some food I could cook when I got back and if my hob was electric I could have monitored how much energy I used to cook it!

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