It was Elliott Heap’s enthusiasm to encourage his parents to recycle more that led to his family taking part in a two-week recycling challenge for an ITV1 documentary, ‘Throwaway Britain’, which was broadcast on 1st August.
Elliott, aged 7, was delighted that in just two weeks his family from Ainsdale, Southport, reduced their waste by a whopping 95%, by recycling everything that they possibly could, even if some of the plastic packaging was a little tricky.
The other tricky challenge for his mum, Sandra, was how to tackle the family’s food waste.
They often threw away leftovers and out-of-date food. However, the programme’s ‘Bin Doctor’, Karen, from the Rubbish Diet, gave them some interesting homework, which involved measuring their food waste and keeping a diary of their food-waste habits.
The Heap family were then able to identify a pattern and explore ways to avoid waste, by shopping differently, changing the way they served food and using up food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Within two weeks, they reduced their food waste by 50%. Elliott’s mum also calculated that if they kept it up for the whole year would save as much as £400!
Even though it was a real challenge at the start, the family have now got used to their new routines and are still keeping up their great work.
The whole family are pleased with their recycling challenge and Elliott’s dad, Graham, commented, ‘I never thought the size of my bin bags would put a smile on my face’.
The Heaps are now official supporters of Zero Waste Week and are encouraging their friends and family to take part.
Elliott’s tips for reducing food waste:
1. My mum now serves smaller portions. We can always go back for seconds if we’re hungry. So now we don’t have so many leftovers.
2. Instead of buying big bags of carrots and letting all the unused carrots go to waste, my mum now only buys what we need.
3. If my mum isn’t going use something by its use-by date, she freezes it.
I’d love to hear from other young eco warriors – what are their tips for reducing food waste?