Coventry: Going Greener

Did you know that every year each home in Coventry produces over 900kg of waste? That’s the equivalent to a small family car!

If you add together all household waste we handle each year, it would weigh about 123,000 tonnes. That’s why it is a massive issue and the facts show that waste has an effect on climate change and on our daily lives.

The main aim is to prevent waste in the first place – we hope to prevent, reuse and recycle as much of what is usually classed as waste as possible.

We all need to recognise the importance of waste prevention and recycling and changing attitudes won’t happen overnight. Education is important but we will also be looking at collection services and putting other systems in place to help people make the right choices about getting rid of their waste.

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What can you do to help?

  • Make sure that you know which bin your waste should go in by visiting our A-Z of rubbish and recycling
  • Start home composting
  • Make sure that you always have reusable shopping bags with you – this will save you money over the long run, too!
  • Learn more about the difference between use-by and best-before dates on packaging in order to reduce food waste
  • Before throwing something away, consider whether it could be given to someone you know, or a charity shop, for reuse, or re-purposed into something else that you can use
  • Save energy in your home
  • Waste less water
  • Think before you buy e.g. think about whether you can hire or borrow things like tools, that you would otherwise buy
  • Use websites like Freecycle or online auction sites for items that you can no longer use
  • Try to choose products with less packaging (e.g. do your apples need to be packaged, or could you buy them loose?) and if you feel that a product has too much packaging, you can contact the retailer to let them know!

For more information on recycling in Coventry please visit the Coventry Recycling Club.

Where are we now?

We carried out a Waste Composition Analysis in 2014 and found that the average household produces almost 9 kg of general waste (green-lidded bins) per week. Of this, almost 20% could have been recycled in either the blue-lidded recycling or brown-lidded garden waste bins! This means that we could be recycling a lot more than we currently are.

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The main findings of our analysis were:

  • Households presented an average of 15 kg total waste per week
  • 9 kg of waste per household per week was in green-lidded bins
  • Just over 3 kg per household per week was in blue-lidded recycling bins
  • Approximately 3 kg per household per week was in brown-lidded garden waste bins
  • Food waste makes up 37% of our green-lidded bins (3.25 kg per household per week), the largest component of our waste
  • Plastics make up 13% of our green-lidded bins (just over 1 kg per household per week)
  • Just over 1% of green-lidded bins was deemed to be either hazardous or WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
  • 7% of green-lidded bins consisted of disposable nappies
  • 18% of green-lidded bins could have been placed into blue-lidded recycling bins
  • 2% of green-lidded bins could have been placed into brown-lidded garden waste bins
  • Packaging made up approximately 17% of all collected waste
  • Overall, only 64% of the materials that could be recycled using kerbside collections were recycled
  • Approximately 7% of blue-lidded recycling waste could not be collected because the bins had things that weren’t recyclable in them, or the recycling was too dirty
  • The most common reason that recycling couldn’t be collected was because it still had food or liquid waste on it
  • Below 50% of plastic bottles and only 16% of plastic containers that could be recycled were recycled!

Overall, households in Coventry recycle almost 36% of their waste. In 2000 we only recycled approximately 10% of waste. This is a huge increase, however, we need to do more in order to meet the current EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.

If we….

  • …recycled everything that could currently be collected at the kerbside (in our blue-lidded and brown-lidded bins), we could be recycling 48% of household waste
  • …all took part in home composting and recycled everything that could currently be collected at the kerbside, we could be recycling 57% of household waste
  • …didn’t waste any food and recycled everything that could currently be collected at the kerbside, our collections could be 3.25 kg (22%) lighter every week, and we could be recycling 64% of household waste!
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