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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:

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!

InMySpareTime Tue 29-Apr-14 11:26:03

We reused DS's formula tins (he had a dairy allergy so we used formula for cooking) to store all kinds of things:
Dry foods such as flour, sugar and pasta.
Magnetic letters
Small DIY things like screws or nails
Buttons, ribbons, scraps of fabric etc.

They are great at keeping things dry, they're airtight, pest-proof, you can paint the outside and write on the tins with marker pens.

We recycle, reuse or re home most of our waste, and barely half-fill a small wheely bin with waste every two weeks.

One thing I'd like to see improved re. recyclability is cardboard cartons with metal bases (used for eg Pringles or Cocoa powder). I'd like a way to separate the two components to recycle them separately, as currently we use the bread knife or a saw.

CMOTDibbler Tue 29-Apr-14 14:42:04

My tip for food waste reduction is to have a large bag in the freezer to which you add wobbly carrots, ends of beans, ends of onions etc and then make it into curried veg soup.

You can do the same for fruit and make frozen smoothies

ShatnersBassoon Tue 29-Apr-14 14:48:38

We make paint pots from 4pt milk jugs. You slice the top section off with a craft knife, leaving the handle intact and cutting lower at the front to allow easy brush access. Decant the paint into them. They're much easier to hold than a tin, especially if you're up and down a ladder with it or in a tight space.

We've done the same to make scoops for potting compost, and my friend uses them for scooping her rabbit's sawdust out of the sack and into the hutch.

BornToFolk Tue 29-Apr-14 14:57:11

I use all kinds of plastic waste for gardening. Margarine tubs can be cut up to make plant markers. I use punnets from strawberries etc as trays to hold plant pots with seedlings in. The seedlings themselves can be planted into punnets with holes in. Yoghurt pots can be filled with cotton wool and used to grow cress.

I keep ends of loaves of bread in the freezer and make them into breadcrumbs or use for a bread pudding when I have enough. I make up big batches of veg soup with veg that's past its best, and freeze that too.

Biscuit tins and other large containers are great for small toys like Lego. Whenever anyone at work has those M&S mini-rolls, I bring the tubs home as they are great for keeping pens in without the lid, or homemade playdough, with the lid.

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Tue 29-Apr-14 19:32:20

I reduce food waste by a combination of portion control and having a dog.

Containers, boxes etc. get reused for junk modelling/DT projects at the school where I work.

Our council don't take cartons so the interactive map was useful. I didn't know I could take them to the local recycling centre so will be sure to do so from now on.

Hopezibah Tue 29-Apr-14 21:23:38

Just found that my chopped tomatoes are now in tetrapaks which is brilliant!

Top tips are that there is no excuse to waste food. Don't overbuy and have plenty of tricks up your sleeve for using different foods. eg even egg whites can be frozen as can leftover wine (freeze in icecube trays to use in cooking) and fresh herbs can be chopped and frozen too.

Banana peel can be used as rose fertiliser and also as a shoe polish!

Get the kids to help with the recycling. Mine love it and a trip to the recycling bank is just as exciting as an outing for them.

sharond101 Tue 29-Apr-14 21:45:16

We reuse everything and have a label maker so we know what is in each recycled tub. We recycle food tubs for batch cooking, fruit and veg wrappers become sandwich wrappers, jam jars become money banks........ We don't meal plan but decide on the meals we are having based on the fresh ingredients we have at home so until all the fresh veg/fruit is used up I will not buy anymore. We never throw food away, ever. If it's not used up it's frozen.

CheeseEMouse Tue 29-Apr-14 21:54:05

We are using old egg boxes as seed trays rather than buy plastic ones. Any take away containers or ice cream tubs are used as freezer containers. We also use an array of old tubs for household jobs - so have a pot to clean paintbrushes in and things like rawl plugs are in labelled tubs.

choccyp1g Tue 29-Apr-14 21:55:13

I use plastic food trays as drawers in the fridge. Smaller trays that mushrooms come in are used as cutlery drawer dividers.

But what I'd like to know is how they sort out all the mixed recycling that goes into our giant blue bins. Unless everyone cleans as carefully as I don't, the paper and cardboard must be seriuosly contaminated.

choccyp1g Tue 29-Apr-14 21:56:39

Also I use egg boxes to sit my seed potatoes in for chitting.

LaCerbiatta Tue 29-Apr-14 22:01:03

We try to use old vegetables for making soup which we then freeze.

Empty shampoo / shower gel bottles are used by the dc to play in the bath.

I dilute most detergents to make them last for longer and reduce the impact on the environment.

.... I'm sure there's more...

rootypig Tue 29-Apr-14 22:03:45

That's a good one Shatners, I've been wracking brains for something household-y to use for DD's finger painting. Will try it - thanks!

My top tip is boring really - reduce your consumption first. Don't buy food until the fridge is empty. Stick to the maxim that everything should be functional, useful, or beautiful. This comes in surprising ways. I'm looking at a second hand crystal vase full of neon plastic straws gathered at an outing to an art gallery project. They are my flowers smile. My flat is furnished largely from freecycle and finds on the street.

Current project - in the living room is a giant pile of cardboard that is going to be a Wendy house for DD - just need to find the energy!

InMySpareTime Tue 29-Apr-14 22:15:21

Hopezibah, what on earth is "leftover wine"?
No chance of wine being leftover at my housegrin.

unadulterateddad Tue 29-Apr-14 22:29:12

Totally agree with the limit your food purchases so as not to have too much waste.
Also recycle takeaway boxes for freezing bulk cooked meals. Then it feels like having a take away from the freezer !

lottietiger Tue 29-Apr-14 22:40:59

I also use the plastic milk bottles for scoops, mainly in the greenhouse. Then cut then top bit into strips and use as plant labels with a permanent marker pen. Saves loads if you do a lot of seeds as I do. All plastic pots like yogurts are used in the greenhouse as our strawberry type plastic pun nets. Food wise we get at least one large joint of meat a week that then lasts for several meals and there is no waste. Plus you get to use up your tired veg by sticking it in a stir fry or curry.

Wickeddevil Tue 29-Apr-14 22:50:04

Buy a whole lettuce, wash and spin in a salad spinner and put what you don't need in a pot with a lid in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of days and be handy for quick salads and sandwiches.
It is also a lot cheaper and a LOT more environmentally friendly than buying bagged salad.

Wickeddevil Tue 29-Apr-14 22:52:18

Oh and I am on a mission to make a TeePee for DD out of a set of old curtains and some Bamboo that is growing in the garden.

lish123 Tue 29-Apr-14 23:39:42

get all the soaps that have melted and have become small and squash them together under hot water to create a new bar of soap.

deels Wed 30-Apr-14 09:51:15

we recently used empty boxes from the recycle bin, old wrapping paper tht we had saved and also bits of string and ribbon and warppers from various items to make an easter bonnet. it won 1st prize.

WowOoo Wed 30-Apr-14 09:55:17

in the winter we use Tetra packs as firelighters for our fire.

A lot of veg and fruit food waste goes to the compost.
I have just turned one compost pile and have found perfect, crumbly, sweet smelling soil and it's mostly come from food waste and peelings. Lovely!

My youngest is into crafts so before recycling cardboard he'll cut and stick and paint lots of tubes and boxes.

telsa Wed 30-Apr-14 12:40:53

we have got a fantastic set of books by Junkcraft (cheap from the Book People) showing you how to make cars, rockets and other things out of household junk. It has really inspired my DS and has also allowed us to have conversations about the wastefulness of packaging. We like also to recycle boxes that come with goods by putting presents in them or turning them into postcard boxes or treasure chests.

Other than that we try to shop at markets and not to waste any food.

CrewElla Wed 30-Apr-14 12:46:47

my latest is using recycled food waste - either egg shells or half eaten rusks to tackle the slug invasion! when using rusks we also use a glass jar or plastic tub from the recycle bin.

specialsubject Wed 30-Apr-14 20:17:16

I buy meat in bulk from our local butcher (whose prices are much cheaper than the supermarket) and freeze it in reusable plastic containers. Although this does mean some plastic trays, it vastly reduces the number.

I buy veg loose as far as possible. I always take shopping bags with me and avoid over-packaged products.

we don't tend to have leftovers, but if we do they get refrigerated and used the next day. If kids are here, I serve small portions - they can ask for more if they want. Our food waste is teabags, peelings and coffee grounds, nothing else. Goes into a compost bin in the garden. Where we are also lucky enough to have space for a veg patch.

sorry, but our local authority doesn't do kerbside collections for tetra-paks so I avoid them as much as possible. The plastic inners mean that they also can't go on the logburner.

Fortunately tins do the same job, are recyclable and are easier to open.

I don't think I'll be winning the prize... :-)

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Wed 30-Apr-14 20:35:14

We reduce food waste by shopping frequently, freezing leftovers or having them for lunch the next day and composting anything that goes on the floor.
We re-use or recycle everything we can. We use lots of packaging like bottles, bottle tops, egg cartons, yogurt pots etc for crafty projects at toddler group.

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