17 January 2020
Easy ways to reduce waste
Read Time: 4 mins
We pride ourselves on diverting 95% of all waste that we collect from landfills. We are committed to reusing and recycling. If everyone on Earth made an effort to reduce the waste that they produce, then we would slow down the rate at which the planet is dying. We want to help preserve our planet so that future generations can enjoy it as much as we do.
Ways to cut down on your waste
Cut down on your buying
This may seem obvious, but cutting down on your purchases will ultimately reduce your waste. Every year over 20 million tonnes of waste from homes is produced in the UK. This can be dramatically cut down if you think about your purchases and only buy what you need. Ignore the shops when there are sales on. It’s so easy to get sucked in and end up buying something just because it’s a bargain. But how much of a bargain is it if you don’t need it in the first place? This is especially relevant towards with Black Friday sales and Christmas.
Food waste is at an all time high. IN 2015, WRAP estimated that the annual food waste arisings within UK households, hospitality and food service, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors was around 10 million tonnes. 70% of this waste was due to be consumed, 30% was ‘inedible waste’. You can easily reduce food waste by just buying what you need and using up everything you buy. If something is going out of date, see if you can freeze it. Do you have leftovers after cooking? Put it in a container and save it for another day. Start planning your meals and batch cooking to ensure that you are using all of the produce that you have bought.
Recycle as much as possible
Another simple way to cut down on your waste is to recycle as much as possible. We are lucky enough that recycling is so common these days. Your local council will have some sort of recycling scheme in which you can have your recycling collected from your home along with your household rubbish.
Anything that you can’t recycle at home can be recycled elsewhere. WEEE products can easily be recycled, we offer a kerbside collection service. It is worth checking the website of your local council to see what they can help you to recycle.
Ditch the plastic bags
Plastic bags are a huge environmental issue. They don’t biodegrade, they unfortunately photodegrade which means that as they break down, plastic particles contaminate the area they are in. This may be soil or waterways which can then affect any crops that are growing or our drinking water. They also have a huge impact on animals; tens of thousands of animals die each year as a result of eating plastic bags.
Any retailer that provides plastic bags and has over 250 employees now, by law, has to charge for them. The law states that bags should be charged at at least 5p but there are some retailers charging up to 30p per bag. This law was introduced on October 5th 2015 after the number of single-use plastic bags handed out in 2014 reached a record high of 7.6billion.
Instead of paying for the single-use plastic bags, invest in a cotton tote bag. These are a lot sturdier and much better for the environment. You can usually pick them up for around £1 in most shops, so they’re not expensive and will last you a long time.
Use up items you already own
It can be really tempting to purchase a new bottle of shampoo when you see it on special offer in the shop. If you do buy it, what will happen to the bottle you already have? Will you be using it up or will it just sit in your bathroom unfinished until you decide to throw it out?
The same applies to food items you might have in your kitchen or cleaning products. Use up what you already have and then you can hunt down the replacements that are on special offer.
Avoid plastic packaging
Many items in supermarkets come in plastic packaging which is completely unnecessary. To avoid this, you can go to your local greengrocers or market and buy your fruits and vegetables loose.
Where you are able to, buy your groceries in bulk. There are quite a lot of zero waste shops that offer a weigh and pay service. In these shops, you take your own packaging to fill up and then you pay by weight. This is great for things you would usually buy in bags such as rice, sugar, nuts etc. Some supermarkets are also slowly introducing this into their stores. This also helps to reduce food waste as you are able to buy only what you need.
Carry a reusable bottle and coffee cup
Although you may think that takeaway coffee cups are easily recyclable, they actually have a thin plastic layer on the inside. This means that they can’t just be put in with your usual recycling. There are a few coffee shops that will recycle the cups for you, but if you are out and about you may not want to hold onto it. This is why having a reusable coffee cup is a great idea. Many coffee shops also offer you a discount on your drink if you are using your own cup.
Similarly, having a reusable water bottle is a great alternative to single use plastic bottles. Bottled water is very expensive, so you will also save yourself a lot of money in the long run. Most restaurants and cafes will happily refill a bottle for you. There are also a lot of refill stations popping up in train stations and shopping centres. If you get a bottle with a built in water filter, then you won’t need to worry about where you fill it.
Reuse or repair
If you are thinking about throwing something away because it’s broken, think again! Can the item be repaired? Can you find another use for it? If buying a couple of screws means that you can fix your computer chair instead of getting rid of it, then it’s worth the effort.
If you have a bookcase that’s looking a bit worse for wear, can you upcycle it by painting it a different colour? Or maybe you could put it in the garage as a bit of extra storage. Instead of throwing away the pair of trousers with a hole in, get the sewing kit out and fix them up. Anything to avoid adding anything to landfill is worth it.
Alternatively, you could donate your unwanted furniture to someone who would use it. You can use a website such as Freecycle to give them away or you can donate to a furniture charity.