Green Impact Sheffield
The University of Sheffield

Waste Not Want Not


February 5th, 2014 - Posted under: Green Impact 2012/13 - Leave a Comment

We’ve all heard this saying, probably from older family members, but does it really have any relevance in today’s disposable world?

I went to a SusSEd (Sustainability Skills and Education) session today focussed on food waste.

I was shocked to learn about the amount of food that is wasted in this country, from households in particular. The one statistic that sticks in my mind (and I wouldn’t want to give away too much as this session is being run again in a couple of weeks) is the number of eggs that are thrown away across the UK in a day.

Have a guess

My pets with a purpose. Gone off fruit, most veg peelings and bread waste goes to the girls as supplement to their diet and we get tasty eggs in return

My pets with a purpose. Gone off fruit, most veg peelings and bread waste goes to the girls as supplement to their diet and we get tasty eggs in return

1.3million

Unbelievable isn’t it

So, apart from being upset at the number of chickens whose efforts are being wasted I also came away with a number of useful ideas and top tips.

The one which resonated with me most, because I say it so much whilst at work, but rarely apply at home is ‘look in the cupboards before going shopping’

Easy to see why that would be important in the grocery shopping but harder to see how that relates to Chemistry!

So, when planning a reaction do many of my colleagues check to see if they already have the chemicals required? Did a previous researcher do a similar reaction, and is there some left? If there is then will it be useful? Chemicals don’t generally have a use by date like sausages do. Has the chemical been stored correctly? I sometimes find bottles in the fridge unnecessarily and others in a cupboard clearly stating ‘store below 4degC’.

When buying new, do we choose an appropriate size? It may be cheaper to purchase 100g than 5g but if you only use 0.1g and the bottle then sits on the shelf for a couple of years for whatever reason, then the cost of chemical disposal and the cost of the storage space has to be taken into account. Also, because you bought a bigger container, there was a bigger delivery lorry on the road. It may turn out the the whole life cost of your chemical means it was probably cheaper to buy the 5g bottle and then if you prove it works, then get the 100g next time.

So, researchers, next time you plan a new reaction, please think about the grocery shop, and check your cupboards first!

For more information about SusSEd (which is brilliant) contact Miriam Webb



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