20 ways to reduce waste with The Sun's Green Team – plus save cash and win incredible prizes

THIS week we’re issuing a rallying cry to join The Sun Green Team and take simple pledges to protect the planet.

Our measures won’t cost the earth — in fact, they will help you SAVE money.

Today we are urging you to cut your food and packaging waste and reduce your use of single-use plastics that are destroying our oceans.

We want you to visit thesun.co.uk/pledge to sign up to as many of our Green Team pledges as you can.

More than 12million tonnes of plastic is going into the oceans every year and experts believe that, by 2050, the weight of the ­plastic in our seas will exceed that of fish.

Asked about the one thing he would do to protect our planet, Sir David Attenborough said: “Stop waste, stop waste of any kind; stop wasting power, stop wasting food, stop wasting plastic. Don’t waste. This is a precious world to celebrate and cherish.”

Jo Ruxton, founder of Plastic Oceans UK, said: “Plastic waste is now everywhere, from the mountains to the deepest oceans. It is entering our food chain and threatening human health.”

Covid has seen single-use plastic soar, with wipes, sanitisers and, of course, disposable face masks. Jo said: “Masks take 450 years to break down.

TAKE THE PLEDGE

They end up as plastic nano-particles ingested by plankton and then enter the food chain which we then eat.”

The Sun has teamed up with the global Count Us In initiative to urge readers to cut their carbon pollution. If every reader signs up to three of our Green Team pledges, that would save 42million tonnes of carbon a year.

To help with our “drive electric” pledge, we are giving away a new ­Vauxhall e-Corsa worth more than £30,000 and £10,000 of top-of-the-range electric bikes and scooters. See Page 16 and Page 24 for details.

Fulfilling our pledge to “cut food waste” could save your family cash. A study by Tesco shows families who take simple steps save £858 a year.

Count Us In campaigner Angela Terry said: “Chucking food out makes no sense financially or ­environmentally. One third of all food that’s grown globally gets wasted.” On the right list 20 top tips for ­cutting back waste.

Plus we challenge two families, who live on Green Lane in Rotherham, to keep their non- recyclable rubbish for a week as Jen Gale, author of The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide, suggests eco-friendly changes they could make.

THE 7 PLEDGES

1. Eat more plants

2. Cut your food waste

3. Turn down your heating

4. Insulate your home

5. Switch to green energy

6. Repair and re-use things

7. Drive an electric car

20 ways to reduce waste

1. Take your own bags to the shops. Don’t buy new bags in stores

2. Potatoes are the UK’s most wasted food. Cut leftovers into wedges, cook & freeze

3. Don’t buy plastic straws. If you must use them, choose stainless steel or paper ones

4. Try to buy loose fruit and veg with no packaging

5. Stick to your shopping list – buy only food that you need. Avoid those Bogof deals!

6. Use a bamboo toothbrush. Try natural crystal deodorant – it’s more effective and lasts longer

7. Use an electric razor not disposables, or at least one with replacement blades

8. You can freeze pretty much everything (but not lettuce and beer). Parboil starchy veg first

9. Using a marker pen, label everything you stick in the freezer with a name and date

10. Planning meals does wonders for waste. Use food that’s going out of date first

11. Wrap your sandwiches in greaseproof paper rather than cling film

12. Buy washing powder in cardboard boxes, not capsules in plastic boxes

13. A ‘Best Before’ date is just a guideline – ‘Use By’ protects your health

14. Don’t buy balloons. They end up in the sea, choking creatures

15. Just stop chewing that chewing gum – it’s made of plastic

16. Find recipes for left-over food at this website: lovefoodhatewaste.com

17. Give surplus food to others – friends, a community fridge or food sharing apps

18. Wash with a bar of soap instead of shower gel

19. Use matches, not disposable lighters. Some birds try to feed binned lighters to their chicks

20. Buy drinks in cans, not plastic – cans recycle repeatedly, plastic only a few times

Join The Sun’s ‘Green Team’ & save the planet

MAKING simple everyday changes can add up to a BIG difference to the planet.

And we want you and your family to join The Sun's Green Team – our eco revolution. 

It can feel overwhelming to know how to play a part in reducing greenhouse gasses, but we will be showing you the practical steps we can take to curb climate change – with the help of the global ‘Count Us In’ initiative.

And our easy measures will even help you SAVE money so your household budget goes further.

We'll help you to reduce food waste, insulate your home, create tasty planet-friendly meals and take simple steps to trim your carbon footprint.

We want you to go online to sign-up to as many of our special Green Team pledges as you can manage and a special calculator will show you how much carbon you will personally save.

It won’t cost you a penny but the total you and your family will save will be added to the global ‘Count Us In’ total and the platform will support you every step of the way. 

So tap here to pledge.

'I wish the rules were simpler'

SUPPORT worker Irene Knight lives with her husband Stephen, 63, a retired police officer, and children Roxanne, nine, and ten-year-old Ayden.

Irene, 47, said: “Before doing this, we thought we were good at recycling. But I have to admit that my attitude was, ‘If it can be recycled, great – if not, fine.’

“Now, after focusing on our rubbish for a week, I am keen to make changes. For example, I used to use two cotton wool pads to clean my face twice a day, but this week I have been using fewer.

"We’ve realised how much we buy in from other countries. A bag of Asda oranges came from South Africa and there’s no info on how to dispose of it.

“I didn’t realise that you could recycle a packet of ham but not the film on top. The same with big cartons of yoghurts. We eat a lot of cheese and the packaging on that can’t be recycled either.”

“I’ve really learned a lot this week, but I wish it was simpler to know what can be recycled and what can’t.”

JEN SAYS: “A simple idea is that Irene could switch to reusable versions of cotton wool pads, which can be put in with your regular washing loads.

“Loose fruit and veg is also worth investigating. Some supermarkets sell lightweight reusable bags in their fresh produce sections. If that isn’t possible, some will have recycling bins outside for plastic bags.”

'It made me think about my waste'

KAY DUFFY, 40, a childminder, lives with her daughter Lily, ten, and their dog, Teddy.

The single mum said: “It was good to focus on this for a week as it made us think about everything that was going in the bin. Even before we had the separate bins, I would take my glass to the bottle bank and recycle my batteries.

"I bought a brown bin recently as I found I was taking my garden waste to the tip a lot. We use reusable water bottles and I’m always careful to use my bags for life.

“It did make me think about baby wipes, because the parents of the children I look after bring them. When I was little, my mum used cotton wool and water. Would that be better than wipes? I don’t know.

“I discovered I can take big plastic bags, like multipack crisps bags and the toilet roll bag, to a recycling bin in Morrisons, so I plan to save those up and dump them when I do my supermarket shop.”

“I also ended up with two burst inflatable toys.”

JEN SAYS: “Reusable wipes would be a brilliant step for Sonia. Either cut up old towels or flannels, or check out companies such as Cheeky Wipes (cheekywipes.com), which can provide easy-to-use ‘systems’. Reusable wipes can double as napkins too.

“For inflatable toys, have a look at Wyatt & Jack (wyattandjack.com), a brilliant independent business on the Isle of Wight which takes old inflatables and turns them into gorgeous funky bags. They have a freepost system for people to send things to them.”

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