How I stopped filling my black bin

From a young age, I have had a keen interest in animals and the environment, because of this I have always tried to do things which could reduce my carbon footprint.

I had solar panels installed years ago, and have reduced the amount of meat I consume by not cooking it at home. In recent years I have tried to further reduce my environmental impact. One way I am doing this is by reducing the amount of waste I produce. I now produce virtually zero ‘general’ (black bin) waste that is incinerated at Cross Green.

I have achieved this in a variety of ways; primarily I am reusing/repurposing as much as possible. I recycle all I can using the council’s kerbside collection (green bin) and recycle other items, such as glass, crisp packets, and cat food pouches, through various collection schemes throughout the city.

My food waste is either fed to my chickens or composted in my back garden.

After utilizing all of these methods I still found myself having more waste which could not be recycled. To achieve even greater reduction I started making ecobricks!

An ecobrick is essentially a plastic bottle filled with unrecyclable plastic. You take the plastic, cut it up, and pack it into a bottle to produce a “brick” that can be used in projects to build things. While it can be a lot of effort to compress the plastic to a high enough density, making ecobricks has prevented me from sending this plastic to to be burnt while highlighting the amount of unrecyclable plastic I consume.

In turn this has led me to question the packaging of the products I buy, picking those with no, or less, packaging. I now buy loose fruit and veg where I can, taking my own reusable bags to put them in and try and choose product options with recyclable packaging.

By implementing all these methods I now very rarely have any waste to dispose of in the black bin. I completely acknowledge I am in no way perfect at this, I understand that if I eat out I can’t control the waste produced, and there are instances where I just can’t figure out how to dispose of something without putting it in the black bin.

I try to balance up enjoying my life and reducing my impact on the environment, taking each step as a learning opportunity to try and improve going forward.

If anyone has questions about ecobricks, composting, recycling, or generally how to reduce waste, feel free to get in touch via South Leeds Life.


This post was written by Mark Day

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