Guide to Reducing Waste, Re-using and Repair

If everyone in the world lived like people in the UK, it’s estimated that three planets’ worth of resources would be needed to support us.  The energy and materials wasted in the UK put pressure on the environment here and around the world.

Recycling can help save materials and energy, but cutting down on waste in the first place is even better.  Even when you have finished with something, someone else will often be able to use it.

Reducing waste

18 per cent of household waste is packaging from retail purchases.  Shopping carefully, avoiding disposable bags, and choosing re-usable products are some of the ways in which you can avoid waste in the first place.  Some tips include:

- taking your own bag when you go shopping can help reduce the 10bn plastic bags that are handed out by supermarkets each year

- registering with the Mailing Preference Service allows you to avoid unwanted junk mail being sent to your home

- try not to waste food – the average UK household spends £424 a year on food which is thrown away uneaten (for example buying things and not using them, or cooking too much for a meal and then throwing it away)

- buying re-usable nappies can help cut waste; washing these in bulk, for example through a nappy laundry service helps to reduce the energy used – many councils offer schemes providing subsidised nappies or laundry services, which could save you money

- avoiding products with unnecessary packaging

Repair

Household items including computers, electrical equipment and furniture can be repaired or re-used by others.  Search online or in your local phone book for repair services in your area.

Re-use

Many items can be re-used, including mobile phones, computers, printer cartridges, left-over paint and clothes.  Even if you have finished with something, someone else will often be able to use it. National charity organisations, local charity shops, internet auction sites and free exchange schemes, may be able to re-use your unwanted items.

Recycling

Nearly two thirds of all household rubbish can be recycled. Find out how to recycle a wide range of goods, including wood, engine oil, fluorescent light tubes, textiles, batteries and TVs.  Recycling saves a lot of energy and raw materials, and avoids waste going to landfill.

Computers

There are a large number of organisations throughout the UK that will accept unwanted computer equipment and repair or recycle it.  Many of them are charities that provide benefits to the local community.

Electrical goods and gadgets: greener choices.

Green Shoots Media work in partnership with the Carbon Advice Group to help indivuals and organisations to become more informed about Green issues.

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