How to reduce your rubbish to one bag a week - collection from bins

The One Bag a Week Challenge is here to help you waste less and help Lambeth become carbon neutral by 2030. See how you can reduce your rubbish collected from bins.

Reduce your food waste

On average, a person throws away the equivalent of their own body weight in food every year. In Lambeth, that works out at around 25,000 tonnes of wasted food - the equivalent of 12.5 million chickens, 30 million loaves of bread, or 156 million potatoes. Every year!

It would be better for the environment (and would save millions of pounds in disposal costs for the council to use for other services) if as much of that food as possible was recycled. It would be even better than that if it wasn’t wasted in the first place - an average household of four people could save £60 every month by reducing their food waste! You wouldn’t throw six crisp ten-pound notes straight into your bin every month, but by wasting so much food, that’s effectively what’s happening. So here are some easy ways to get smarter about buying, using and disposing of food to keep it out of your one bag a week:

Learn to love your leftovers

Good food deserves a second chance. Rather than try to list the hundreds of ways leftovers can be repurposed, we’ll simply point you to the Love Food Hate Waste website, where there are numerous great recipes to help you make the most of your food.

Buy smaller packs

Larger packs might appear to be better value, but if you’re regularly throwing away a few slices of bread at the end of a loaf, or your last few carrots are going a bit floppy, it’s a false economy. If possible, buy fruit and veg loose so you take just what you need (this also reduces packaging), and think carefully about how much of everything you’re likely to use.

Make a shopping list

And stick to it! This way you won’t be taken in by attractive-looking offers for things you don’t actually need. Another related tip is to not shop while hungry, as that’s a surefire way to end up with a trolley load of regret. A snack before shopping will ensure you’ll stay focused on what you really need, rather than what your stomach thinks it wants. 

Best before dates are just a guide

Food safety is extremely important, but it’s good to remember that ‘best before’ dates are not the same as ‘use by’ dates. While we wouldn’t suggest you should ignore a use by date, if something still looks and smells fresh a little after its best before date, it’s probably still absolutely fine to eat.

Turn your fridge down a notch

Having your fridge just one degree cooler can add a day or more onto the life of the food and drink items you put in it.

Use the salad crisper properly

The drawer at the bottom of your fridge is designed to keep things like salad leaves fresher for longer. However, it only works if there’s enough room for air to circulate, so try not to make it too full or you may end up with unidentifiable sludge at the bottom, which is never fun.   

Rotate your fruit bowl

Out of sight means out of mind, so don’t put new fruit on top of old; rotate the contents of your fruit bowl so that whatever needs to be eaten first is at the top.

If you have a food waste bin - use it

Even with the best will in the world, there are some things that you just can’t eat. Eggshells, teabags, chicken bones, onion skins… We call them The Inedibles. These are what your food waste bin is designed for. Use purpose-made caddy liners to keep your kitchen caddy nice and clean, or line it with newspaper. You can then recycle all your food waste to make sure it doesn’t go in your one bag a week. It will be sent away to be turned into compost, much of which comes back into Lambeth for use in community gardens.

Kerbside properties and some estates should have a small caddy for the kitchen, and a larger bin outside. Check eligibility and order a food waste bin or caddy.