Dutch environmental group tackles food waste with ‘doggy bag’ initiative

A Dutch environmental group, Natuur & Milieu, has launched a campaign to persuade restaurant patrons to take home their uneaten food and thereby reduce food waste. Natuur & Milieu has distributed 50,000 doggy bags, accompanied by a starter pack, free to restaurants to encourage their participation in the campaign. The doggy bags were developed with input from catering staff, who were asked what kind of container they preferred.

Restaurant patrons who want to take food home can let their waiter know by means of a Boomerang card, which is available free of charge in many restaurants. The cards come in a number of versions, with messages including “A compliment to the chef” and “I always fancy something tasty in the evening”.Milieuclub wil taboe doggybag doorbreken

Natuur & Milieu said that the Dutch catering industry wastes 50,000 tonnes of food annually, the equivalent of 77 million hot meals.

Before launching the campaign, Natuur & Milieu carried out a survey on food waste, which found that 78% of participants said they hated wasting food, but that 80% of restaurant-goers never take home leftover food. Respondents cited embarrassment (52%) and lack of awareness (55%) as the major reasons for not asking for a doggy bag.

Natuur & Milieu’s partners in the campaign are packaging specialist Depa Disposables, NGO Oxfam Novib and banking group Rabobank.

For more information, see (in Dutch) http://www.doggybag.nu.

A Brixton Remakery

Strewn with rubbish and blackened by fires, the space where the Brixton Remakery now stands was, two years ago, a derelict block of garages set to be blocked off by the local council. It was a grimy tomb for dead foxes and a place to dump burnt-out cars and beer cans.

Today it is a bright, busy series of workshops, where unwanted planks of wood are being turned into striking table-tops and everything from scaffolding poles to pianos are treated to a new lease of life. The Brixton Remakery is a pioneering re-use and refurbishment hub that stops valuable resources being sent to landfill and instead uses them for the benefit of local people and businesses. Based in one of south London’s most deprived boroughs, it’s almost entirely run by volunteers

Read more at: New Internationalist

A Not So Rubbish Trip

Illustration from Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor (1851).

London dustman. Illustration from Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor (1851)


When Rosie Oliver says she’s going to take you on a rubbish trip, she means it literally. Rosie, a lawyer, lecturer and presenter specializing in environmental law and policy, created and leads a two-hour walk from Mudchute on the Isle of Dogs to Greenwich on the theme of rubbish and how it has influenced the landscape. Woven into her commentary are stories about the people who collected the rubbish and how the rubbish has been treated and transformed over the centuries.

One example is Mudchute Park, the site of the former mud chute that spurted silt dredged from Millwall Docks into “settling ponds”, a type of landfill for waste mud. Also, the Victorian homes we passed and structures like the railway viaduct were likely built using materials that included rubbish: the dust and ash from people’s fireplaces from burning coal and domestic rubbish, which was collected by dustmen and taken to brick factories in Kent where it was mixed with clay, fired and brought back to London to be used for building.

In the 21st century, the need to reuse, recycle and reduce the rubbish we generate is greater than ever, Rosie says.

The walk includes a visit to the Mudchute city farm, where we saw one of nature’s recyclers in action – a magnificent pig – and we finished on the banks of the Thames at Greenwich, a veritable treasure trove of historical rubbish.

Rosie’s company is called Dotmaker Tours, and she offers the rubbish walk to the public once a month, and at other times to private groups: http://dotmakertours.co.uk/page10.htm.

Food Recycling for Flats

Up to 3,500 residents living in flats will be able to recycle food waste for the first time this spring.

The new service from Hounslow Council – funded with more than £133,000 from the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) – will provide ‘caddies’ to enable residents to recycle food.

Cllr Colin Ellar, deputy leader of the Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “These new caddies will enable people living in flats to recycle food and be on a par with other residents.

“It also helps push Hounslow’s recycling rate up which is good news for the environment and council tax payers as less money is spent on land fill tax.”

The new service is scheduled to start after April. Officers from the Council’s waste and recycling team will be in contact with managing agents and residents’ associations to provide further information.

Recycle your Inhalers

Did you know approx 73 million inhalers are used in the UK every year, for asthma and other respiratory conditions? If you use them, you can now recycle them for the first time in a new scheme, instead of sending them to landfill.
GSK is running the first recycling and recovery scheme for all respiratory inhalers.

The inhalers will be collected as part of routine deliveries – so no extra miles are travelled in the administration of this scheme. The inhalers will be taken to a waste management company to be sorted for recycling or recovery. Recovery means using the non-recyclable inhaler waste as a fuel or other means to generate energy. GSK will recycle or recover every respiratory inhaler collected, including those manufactured by other companies.

You can visit Complete the Cycle to determine your local participating pharmacy which includes:

Tesco, Gillette Corner
Superdrug, 96-98 Ealing Broadway
Superdrug 262 Upper Richmond Rd
Boots, Ealing Broadway Centre
Superdrug, Ealing Broadway

Friends of the Earth: Call for ambitious recycling targets

Recycling is great. It creates jobs and reduces our impact on the environment.

And you know what is great for increasing recycling? Recycling targets.

They may not sound fun, but they work. Without high targets loads of valuable materials go to be buried or burnt.

The EU is reviewing its recycling targets. Now is our chance to ask Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik for higher recycling targets.

The consultation ends on 10 September so we don’t have long.

Add your name to the petition.

Recycling Events in Hounslow Libraries this June

Love food, hate waste

  • Where: Heston Library
  • When: Thursday 20th June 2013, 6:00 pm – 8:00pm
  • Admission: FREE

Pop along to hear all about some quick and easy things you could do to save up to £50 a month. Whether you choose to have perfect portions, be savvy with your storage, cook delicious meals with your lovely leftovers, save by planning or simply get to know use by dates, we’ve got something for you to try. There will also be drop in sessions at the following libraries:

  • Heston Tuesday 18th June 10.00am – 12 noon
  • Feltham Tuesday 18th June 3.00pm – 5.00pm
  • Chiswick Wednesday 19th June 10.00am – 12 noon

For more information and to book a place call the Waste Prevention Team on 020 8814 9801 or email info@westlondonwaste.gov.uk

Composting Vs Recycling

  • Where: Hounslow Library, Cafe area
  • When: Friday 21st June 2013, 11:00 am – 12:00pm
  • Admission: FREE

Come along and find out about what can be used as compost and what can be recycled. Learn what benefits it brings to your allotment and to the environment.
Be entered in a draw to win a compost bin.

Re-use: great stuff on a budget

  • Where: Hounslow Library, Cafe area
  • When: Friday 21st June 2013, 12:15 pm – 2:00pm
  • Admission: FREE

We’ll be offering tips and advice on how to extend the life of your household goods, what to do with your old appliances as well as finding out how to purchase good quality second-hand goods and save money.