Not having to travel to work during the pandemic has been beneficial to the environment. However, while it’s true that less commuting has meant fewer carbon emissions, many of us have been creating more waste while working from home. Redcar and Cleveland Council is set to keep tabs on the amount of waste that’s being created while many people are working remotely by giving residents ‘smart’ recycling bins fitted with ID chips. The chips send data to the council about people’s working from home recycling habits, the number of bins that have been collected and the average weight of the waste. Comparing the weight of recycling bins with general waste bins will give the council a good idea about where they need to offer more recycling education to residents.
The chips should help the council reduce its bill for replacing stolen bins too. Currently an eye-watering £72,000. 170,000 new smart bins are set to be delivered to residents, while electronic tags will be fitted to 150,000 old bins.
A local councillor said the technology will allow the council to monitor how much people are recycling. As we create much more waste as people are working from home. He added that refuse workers have been working really hard to keep collections going and it’s been very tough because there’s so much more waste.
When asked about residents’ concerns that the smart bins amount to the council being ‘Big Brother’ and invading people’s privacy. He said that he didn’t think that was what it was about. The council is always looking to improve the delivery of its services, honour its commitment to a cleaner and greener environment, providing better value for money for residents.
How to improve your working from home recycling
Whether your bin has a smart chip or not, if working from home has seen you regularly fill your bins to the brim. You probably don’t need it to tell you whether or not you need to recycle more and reduce your waste.
So how can you recycle more while working from home? Here are our top tips.
Get clued up on recycling best practice and the rules in your area
This means getting into good habits of rinsing and sorting your recycling properly (if you don’t already). While familiarising yourself with what is and is not acceptable for recycling where you live. Get into the habit of checking labels too, especially on plastic items, as not all types of plastic are recyclable currently.
Don’t fall back into the single-use plastic trap
Concerns about virus contamination have meant that many people have switched back to using single-use cups and other items. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your reusable cups and bags, just make sure they get a good clean. Washing at 60ºC will get rid of a lot of germs. Meaning you don't have to worry so much about recycling while working from home.
Curb your online shopping
Online shopping continues to boom as we are spending more time at home. However, remember to try and only buy the things you really need. Even though you’re not physically driving to the shops, online shopping comes with a lot of packaging which means that it creates excess waste.
If you find that you are shopping out of boredom. Try and use your screen time to play games, learn something or connect with others instead. Hopefully, you’ll be less tempted to click 'buy now'.
Make your own meals to improve working from home recycling
Making your own meals at home can often be healthier and kinder on your pocket as well as the environment. If you’re not eating on the go, this means you’re creating less packaging waste. Cooking at home means you’re not relying too much on unhealthy takeaways and the packaging that comes with them.
But we do get that you might want to support local businesses during this tough time and order food deliveries. Just keep it as an occasional treat.
Don’t stockpile food
This was a big problem early on in the pandemic. Even now, you may be tempted to buy a lot of extras when you hit the supermarket.
But it’s not good for your pocket or the environment to have a cupboard or fridge full of food. It is likely that’s going to go to waste because you aren’t able to eat it in time.
Get into the habit of making better use of your freezer, and getting creative with leftovers. Your bank balance and the planet will thank you! If you’d like more tips and interesting articles, check out the rest of our blog.