April 22nd marks Earth Day, a global initiative created to raise awareness of environmental challenges. This is not simply a concern for government and big business. Everyday households can do their bit too - starting in the kitchen.
Last year UK recycling fell from 44.9% of total household rubbish down to 44.3%, the first time levels have dropped since records began in 2010. Waste charities have warned that if Britain's efforts do not improve the UK could be at risk of missing European Union targets to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020.
One of the main issues is confusion amongst homeowners regarding how to separate rubbish properly. Common mistakes include mixing food waste with other types of recycling and submitting cardboard that is encrusted with food. Both can cause the waste to be rejected by recycling units.
The latest thinking in kitchen design addresses the challenge head-on, with discreet, compartmentalised bins that not only make waste separation simple but which are hidden behind drawers and built into units to maintain the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen space.
Improve access, cut down waste
A report from Wrap reveals the average UK household wastes £470 worth of food each year - waste which generates 19m tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifetime. As a result, UK households bin a staggering £13bn worth of food each year. Of the food thrown away, the waste and recycling advisory body estimates that 4.4m tonnes is avoidable waste.
Much waste is caused by food simply being pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten, only to be retrieved once use-by dates are long-gone. Clever cupboard and storage design eliminates this problem, with pull-out and swing-out shelves and baskets giving access to all of the cupboard contents quickly and easily. In this way, space is maximised too, making even the tightest kitchen functional and super efficient.
Spotlight on LED
All traditional incandescent bulbs have been banned within the EU, as part of a shift towards more efficient technology with other lower performing halogens expected to be banned by 2018. An increase in efficiency and decrease in the cost of LED bulbs over the last few years has helped ease this transition.
The Energy Saving Trust reports that lighting accounts for 18% of a typical UK household's energy bill, and replacing halogen downlighters with LED alternatives is one proven way of saving money.
Lighting in the kitchen can be both practical and beautiful, adapting to your changing use of the space throughout the day. From illuminating specific work areas with task lighting to creating a cosy atmosphere for entertaining - clever use of lighting can cut costs, save energy and enhance your kitchen experience.
As we approach Earth Day on the 22nd of this month, wouldn't it be good to know you're playing your part where the environment is concerned? A little effort from a lot of people can make a huge difference.