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Share with Tetra Pak your top tips for creative and original environmentally - friendly things in the home: you could win a £250 voucher! NOW CLOSED

(113 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Apr-14 11:11:09

We have been asked by the team at Tetra Pak, (the world's leading supplier of food processing and packaging systems) to find out your top tips for reducing the impact your home and life has on the environment. They would love to hear the creative things you do to recycle and reduce the amount of waste your family produce.

Tetra Pak says, "you may know that our company was founded upon the principle that 'a package should save more than it costs'. Our cartons are found on shop shelves and in kitchen cupboards all over the country. They hold everyday items we all depend on, from fruit juice and milk to chopped tomatoes.

"As well as this, our cartons offer a number of environmental benefits; not only are they made primarily from wood - which is a renewable resource - they are also widely recyclable across the UK. With over 90% of UK local authorities now offering a carton recycling service, and 57% of local authorities helping people to recycle their cartons from home, recycling Tetra Pak cartons has never been more straightforward.

“In addition, the special layers in our cartons mean that they protect the goodness of contents inside for longer, reducing waste without any need for added preservatives. They also don't need to be kept in the fridge until opened, meaning they can be stored in your cupboards for added convenience".

You may also know that Tetra Pak has launched a new interactive recycling map to help you find out more about carton recycling in your area.

Find out more: www.tetrapakrecycling.co.uk/locator.asp

To help promote the recycling of its own cartons - Tetra Pak would now love to hear about your most creative and inventive tips and tricks for being 'green' at home.

Maybe you learnt an amazing tip from Mumsnet, or came up with your very own way of, for example, reducing food waste in your home? What’s the most creative way you've found to recycle your household waste? What family activities have you done to make recycling fun for your children? What would you recommend to other families to make recycling even easier? What everyday household objects were you surprised to find that you could recycle?

Whatever it is, please share it on this thread – add your comment and you’ll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £250 voucher for John Lewis/Waitrose.

Thanks and good luck!
MNHQ

moonegirl Wed 30-Apr-14 20:42:45

we've involved the children in recycling since they were small and they now recycle their rubbish without being asked (age 3 and 5)
we use cloth nappies as we worry about landfill.
we have a compost bin and encourage the children to join in, they love to look at the worms!
we also seperate all the materials when recycling taking off paper labels from bottles etc which is easy to forget.
it does annoy me though that a lot of packaging isn't currently recyclable at the moment, surely it would be best to try and rectify this?

MakkaPakkasSponge Wed 30-Apr-14 21:53:41

I was amazed to learn how efficient it is to recycle aluminium compared to producing it from scratch. Its one of the few genuinely 100% recyclable materials so in theory we could get to as point where we've mined all we need and we just need to recycle it from then on. Fascinating, and its made me more careful about recycling cans and foil.

tinypumpkin Wed 30-Apr-14 22:15:12

We do have a section in our garage with bags for each of the recyclable things (e.g. tins, plastic) and a big box for cardboard. Even the two year old knows that we recycle smile

I also use lots of plastic containers for storing leftovers. I also cut out bits from children's boxes for crafts (e.g. Hello Kitty from the Easter Egg box. The rest of the card gets recycled too of course).

Use my old paper from work for child 'art'.

Roseformeplease Wed 30-Apr-14 22:36:39

I think we have a lot to learn about recycling from our parents and the war generation.

We save up jars and swap a dozen or so for a jar of jam from one of the village jam makers.

We compost everything we can. We grow fruit and freeze that, or store apples in the dark and then have our own fruit all winter, composting the remains to grow more fruit. Our compost also takes cardboard, egg shells and all peelings.

We waste very little food but have a leftover night once in a while when we all end up eating different things. We also eat a lot of soup and curries made from leftover meat, veg and gravy.

We recycle everything we came travelling 50 miles to do Tetrapack which we store in a special bin which fits in the car. We never, however, make a journey without several things to do: optician, recycling, shopping, dentist etc.

We are getting a log burner so we can heat the house on waste wood etc.

Clothes are either passed on to friends, sold on eBay or they go in the school's ragbag bin, raising money for school trips. Books go to a local bookshop that raises money for local charities and also does book swaps. We wear things for years and years and buy a lot 2nd hand in eBay.

Our councils is not great at recycling so we can have plastic, tin and paper / cardboard collected but everything else we have to take ourselves so we have separate bins for each other type of thing and then take it in ourselves.

We watch my MiL saving wrapping paper, card and reusing them but, to be honest, I don't want my presents in creased old paper or my card cut out of an old one (she cuts off the picture side and uses it as a postcard). This is a step too far but many of our savings / food waste ideas were the way our parents lived during the war.

TheSpottedZebra Wed 30-Apr-14 23:09:13

I love this thread!
When the DC were young we ate a lot of soup. That seemed to develop into an 'activity' where they can 'help'. Now all limp veg, tasteless carrots, gluts from the garden etc are the makings of soup.

Channelling my late granny here, but I always make the DC do their drawings on both sides of the paper. OK, I make them fill up the page. And I write shopping lists on the backs of envelopes. Which then get recycled.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 01-May-14 08:00:09

How about water conservation? Last summer I fitted guttering to the shed roof and a downspout into a water butt & 13yo DS also rigged up a length of hose-pipe into the bathroom and syphoned bath water into an old dustbin. We also keep an old 4 pint milk container next to the kitchen sink and save that 30 seconds of cold water before the hot water comes through. Perfect for watering hanging baskets.

I've got a thing for glass jars. I love putting tealights in them or making my own candles. So, every jam jar, mayo jar, chutney jar, and nutella jar gets saved and washed out in this house!

MadMonkeys Thu 01-May-14 08:30:55

Bottles/boxes etc become kids toys before they get so destroyed they go in the recycling - the kids think bottles are the best bath toys and boxes from biscuits, cereals etc are great in their play kitchen. Big boxes make great play houses!

Card that isn't too brightly coloured (not keen on the dyes) go in the compost (the insides of loo rolls, boxes etc).

Mushroom trays etc can be used to grow cress and other herbs on the window ledge.

Any pretty packaging, shiny paper, catalogues can be reused as cutting and sticking material for DD1.

We have virtually no food waste by strict meal planning, freezing and getting better at dishing out appropriate portion sizes.

Blu Thu 01-May-14 08:37:20

This summer I am building a 'living wall' on our garden fence.

Basically making a fence of old pallets, tipped on their sides . One of those that have very widely spaced slats, or ese remove every second and third slats to make gaps. Then, with the slats running horizontal, on the underside of the remaining parallel slats, pin or nail the membrane you use to stop weeds.

Now you have a rack of narrow 'window boxes'. Fill with soil / compost, plant strawberries, herbs, small trailing plants.

mrshuggybear Thu 01-May-14 09:31:41

We keep boxes, yoghurt pots, jars and toilet rolls for crafts like the castle we made recently. My daughters who are 2 and 4 both understand now what they recycle, bin and put away for our craft time. We also have a compost bin which they find fascinating. They know to look at things and think what can we do with this before we throw it away.

stealthsquiggle Thu 01-May-14 10:16:51

The biggest difference to our recycling (apart from our local council introducing wheelie bins for mixed recycling clouding glass, which is great) has been getting chickens.

They happily dispose of all table scraps, gone off food and manly abandoned cat food. Their nest box is filled with shredded paper. In return they fertilise the lawn and rake the moss out of it as well as providing eggs.

I am afraid we don't have much recycling of card, etc for DC craft purposes. If they need something I will fish in the recycling bin for them, but we cannot possibly keep everything "just in case" (I do most shopping online, so there is a lot of boxes/ packaging) or we would drown in the stuff.

I do recycle all worn out jeans and the like, though - using the fabric to make bags, mostly - it's fantastic, versatile, tough fabric and the harder the jeans have been worn the more interesting the fabric comes to look.

BertaVanStyles Thu 01-May-14 10:34:42

I love recycling, and I think the councils could do more to help recycling general waste the way I'm used to it from Germany, where I originally come from. In Germany we get different bins for Paper/Cardboard, Plastic/Tins and everything else that can be recycled, general waste (everything that can't be recycled) and "natural waste" (sorry, not sure of the term right now) - potato peels, egg shells and so forth, whereas here I do not get much choice to recycle, we have to put everything in one bag to get it collected (I do seperate cardboard though, but I feel it's not enough).

At home I love to recycle. I use baby food jars of all sizes and food glass jars with lids to store lentils, sesame seeds, barley and so forth.

I have used empty pringles tubs, washed them properly to get rid of left over crumbs/residues and upcycled them with fabric, now they are nice vases for various items (my knitting needles!). I have used old glasses and upcycled them with decopatch (can buy cheaply) to make them look pretty and decorative.

When we go shopping I plan ahead so I use up all of the perishable items up during the week, so for example no vegetables or meat get thrown away. Leftovers from the night before are next day's lunch!

When my washing up liquid runs on low, I fill up the bottle with water to make it last longer (same with shower gels/shampoos).

Also, freecycling is a great idea. If I have good items I need to get rid of I usually offer them to my local freecycle network so I don't have to throw them away. Vice versa, I also look on freecycle for items I might be able to use - for example: a lady had given away polystyrene beads from a bean bag sofa, I collected them and made a bean bag sofa myself with children's curtains I bought for £2 on a bootfair. The beads would have gone in the bin otherwise! sad

There are so many ways to recycle and reuse, I think more people should do it!

erin99 Thu 01-May-14 10:41:44

I never knew we had a tetrapack recycling point so close to our house!

We use household paper and packaging for lighting our woodburner. A lot of wrapping paper is often so full of plastics and metal it's useless for burning, which made me think twice about how recyclable it is. When we're feeling virtuous, we use brown paper or tissue paper instead, either with a ribbon or decorated by the children with stampers.

We buy big cartons of fruit juice and water it down into reusable bottles for lunchboxes.

Albiebee Thu 01-May-14 10:45:44

I too follow my mother's (and grandmother's example) there's a top shelf in the kitchen where clean empty jars live ready to make the next lot of jam/chutney/marmalade, these are re-used umpteen times (unless I give them away as presents, then I run out of jars!)

My rice/pulses/baking ingredients all live in old recycled instant coffee jars, the ones with the pop-off glass lids. Stick pretty labels on them with the name of the contents and cooking time (i.e. Brown Rice 20-25 mins) and they keep everything tidy and airtight. The plastic bags rice etc comes in always splits and spills, so this solves that problem nicely. Haven't bought the coffee in question in years though!

thesoupdragon44 Thu 01-May-14 11:13:58

We like to recycle as much as we can from home, we do the obvious recycling of papers and plastic, but also I use freecycle for things like left over paints and things we no longer need. even down to coat hangers. My old clothes and rag go to the local scouts who rais money to help the group and all good clothes go to charity. Even our food scraps go in my wormery, so very little goes to wasn't. Coffee and tea bags make great plant food!

I reuse oldyogurt pots as paint pots. Coffee grounds and egg shells are put on the garden. Old Bonne Maman jam jars are water tumblers

MoralFibres Thu 01-May-14 13:40:08

I'm right into reducing food waste from my home. I roast butternut squash or pumpkin seeds to have as a healthy snack; dry any mushrooms that are close to their expiry date in the oven to dry then (they keep for months and months that way!); freeze black bananas to make cakes or smoothies with; and so on.

My top creative food waste tip is to rinse soft berries such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries in one parts vinegar to three parts water and then dry thoroughly, and store in an airtight box in the fridge - and they can last over a week. The vinegar helps kill any bacteria that degrades the fruit!

AndHarry Thu 01-May-14 14:54:10

Maybe you learnt an amazing tip from Mumsnet, or came up with your very own way of, for example, reducing food waste in your home? What�s the most creative way you've found to recycle your household waste? What family activities have you done to make recycling fun for your children? What would you recommend to other families to make recycling even easier? What everyday household objects were you surprised to find that you could recycle?

I was surprised that I could recycle clothes hangers. Every so often I annoy the customer services desk at our local supermarket by bringing a bag of hangers in for them to recycle grin

We get old furniture collected by a local charity that refurbishes it and sells it to give jobs to homeless people in the town.

Carrier bags are always kept and reused as bin liners. Now that we all have reusable carrier bags for food shopping I don't get the same amount any more and have started to have to buy bin liners hmm

Our children are a bit little for recycling yet but I used to love going to the tip with my parents (in the days before kerbside collections for recycling) and dropping glass bottles into the right holes!

flamingtoaster Thu 01-May-14 15:30:45

We've always recycled a lot as we have great kerb side collections. We don't really have food waste as I don't overload anyone's plate - they can always ask for seconds. I batch cook to save power and freeze cakes and buns. If there is anything that might be in danger of not all being used I freeze half of it immediately.

Plastic ice cream cartons are re-used for storage etc. - and recycled if we have enough spare. Books we no longer need to to the Hospice shop - as does clothes and anything else suitable. Shredded paper goes into the compost as does any veg/fruit peelings.

Water used to wash vegetables is used for watering the garden in dry weather - as is any water used, e.g. to rinse a glass.

theresacoo Thu 01-May-14 16:16:09

I don't buy things with lots of packaging. When throwing rubbish away, we check to see if we can reuse it. We keep plastic tubs from takeaways. Buying in bulk saves on waste.
We read Sunday papers online now rather than the mass of paper we used to get with certain papers !
My kids collect yogurt pots, boxes, odds and ends to make junk robots and creative stuff.

BeCool Thu 01-May-14 16:29:16

Reusing packaging is well and good but it still ends up as waste eventually.

While I prefer to used lids, or chopped up milk bottles etc for my DC's painting and other activities, I would rather a solution where we as inner city residents can drink milk (for example), and not dispose of at least 3 large milk bottles a week. The plastic bag options are interesting but I've never seen organic milk packaged this way.

A revolution in how we deal with this one basic household item could have a MASSIVE impact environmentally across the nation & world.

I try and reduce incoming packaging - but it is very hard.

Becool, it'd be great if we could fill up milk containers from a pump, like petrol, charged by volume.

BeCool Thu 01-May-14 16:47:33

InMy indeed it would. Don't know if that would be a realistic alternative for bio security/contamination reasons.

But certainly I'd be happy to buy in a bag and use a refillable jug at home. There must be better solutions?

There are big everyday problems that remain to be solved.

rachaelsit Thu 01-May-14 20:09:29

I re-use butter/marg/coleslaw tubs for lunches or snacks at work. I do this until they are no use and then I'll recycle them. Saves buying tubs.

Jinty64 Thu 01-May-14 20:18:11

We meal plan to avoid any food waste and freeze left overs. Fortunately our Labrador ensure nothing is wasted.

Ds3 loves a trip to the bottle bank. I think he prefers it to soft play.

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