Energy Diet

A Push in the Right Direction

My name is Samanta and I currently live in Penryn, Cornwall with my fiancé James.

Cornwall is a small area of the British Isles; technically it is part of England but don’t tell the locals, we don’t want to upset them. It is an exceedingly beautiful place to live; unfortunately it is relatively poor (European Commission Objective 1 status) by EU standards.

Recycling is relatively commonplace here with a number of government and council schemes promoting the sorting of waste within the home to be the norm. Within my lifetime (22 years) recycling facilities have gone from bottle banks (separated green, brown and white glass) at the local car park to the council providing boxes and bags for storing recycling within the home to be collected by a fortnightly service.

However, only 36.83 percent of all household waste in Cornwall is being sent for recycling (the national average is 39.7 percent). This could be due to the attitude of households either not wanting to spend time recycling, not having the space or due to being anti-recycling, as it is sometimes still seen as something that only environmentalists do. Confusion as to what can be recycled and the contamination of recycling boxes with non-recyclable items, as well as a lack of facilities in certain areas and for certain items (clothes, kitchen waste, batteries) could also be a contributing factor.

In my household we recycle glass, cans, paper, cardboard and plastic cartons that are collected inside the home and taken to a communal recycling point to be collected by the council recycling service. I am a little disappointed in the apparent level of recycling knowledge and care held by some residents of the marina for when I visit the recycling point different bins are often contaminated with unrelated waste, sometimes belonging to a different recycling group and other times completely unsuitable (e.g. televisions).

I have decided to go on the diet because although I am already quite energy-aware, having studied Geography and Environmental Science for far too many years. I still feel that I have a lot to learn, and therefore I hope to achieve from this a permanent household increase in energy efficiency and sustainability with my main focus being in the food category. I have a fair idea about how I can reduce the carbon footprint of my family meals. I just need some motivation and a push in the right direction!