How Future Friendly Are You?

I like to think I'm a bit of an eco-warrior. It stems from teaching primary school children about the 4Rs for a good few years:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle.

I'm a big believer in the importance of reducing the amount of waste we create. Did you know that 85% of the contents of your bin can be recycled, but on average only 20% is? With the targets that have been introduced in this country, many councils are now offering more facilities for recycling: but it's not just about separating your plastic and cardboard, we need to stop using so many resources and so much packaging in the first place.

Therefore when I was invited by Proctor & Gamble to take part in their Future Friendly campaign, I was very excited. The challenge is to follow the Future Friendly Sustainable Living Activity: the seven day plan involves undertaking three inspired but small acts a day, for a full week. To help people who want to take part come up with these three small tasks, there is a rather fabulous little online tool which I thoroughly recommend visiting (click on the picture to have a go) as it can highlight areas in your house to help save energy or use less resources.

Did you know that the average family wastes £680 a year on uneaten food? £680?! That is shocking and such a waste on resources. How many of us just scrape away the scraps or bin the best befores? To help reduce our food waste (and cut down on our portion sizes) I've signed up to the website LoveFood HateWaste which has a nifty section of hundreds of recipes. Simply select the food that needs using up and it will suggest some recipes! (Action 1 done!) I've also started shopping online having planned in advance what food we need to buy for the month without being tempted by all the extra goodies at the ends of aisles. (Action 2). Buying some items in bulk can also cut down on the amount of packaging that is used, e.g. larger packs of dried pasta, washing-up liquid, toilet rolls, etc. (Action 3).

Factoid: Did you know that recycling a glass jar or bottle saves enough energy to power a laptop for 25 minutes? As the average family uses 500 jars a year, that's a lot of blogging and tweeting power!

I've actually followed the online tool above and found all of the little titbits of information that can help me to be Future Friendly. The irony is that it told me to print off the list to keep a reference! Funnily enough, I've saved it as a PDF instead!

Here are some of the 21 things that we will be trying to implement over our Future Friendly Activity:

  1. using watering cans to water the plants as opposed to a hose which uses 1000 litres of water every hour it is on (should be easy enough to do, The Boy's water-table is a great water-butt at the moment!;
  2. turning the washing machine down to 30° instead of 40° (Ariel powder and liquitabs are formulated to work at 30° which uses 30% less energy each wash than at 40°);
  3. use saucepans that fit the hob (this is for hubby not me. He always uses a medium pan on the large gas with it up full-whack. So much heat is wasted over the sides of the pan);
  4. measure out the water that I need to boil before putting it in the kettle;
  5. putting wet (not dirty) kitchen towel into the compost bin, along with scrap paper that's been used on both sides. A good compost bin is full of compost critters; they like small holes and gaps created by scrunched up paper which is biodegradable;
  6. install toilet hippos (a few pounds from DIY stores and can save 3 litres of water per flush);
  7. turn off the extractor fan in the downstairs toilet, it's not needed and uses too much power;
  8. put on my cardigan and slippers rather than knocking on the heating!

I'm not going to write all 21 targets up in this post, but I will pop back in a week's time and tell you which other inspired little acts I've got up to with The Boy.

I was provided with a recycling box and a range of P&G products to help me complete this project. My opinions are my own.

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