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Reducing your waste & increasing your reuse

Every item we bring into our homes – whether it is a plastic pot of yoghurt or an item of clothing or a washing machine – is created using raw materials, water and energy. Its journey will have created carbon dioxide as it was transported from its original factory to a shop or online warehouse and then to your home. And eventually (or after just a few days in the case of food and food packaging) it is used and disposed of.

Reuse of existing products, reducing consumption and recycling are the best ways to help make a difference to our climate.

What you can do to reduce your waste and increase your reuse


See our action on climate change pages on how to get involved locally as an individual or as a business

Swap shops

A swap shop is a free and usually local exchange where anyone can swap things they no longer want, in exchange for something they do. Anyone can set up a swap shop in a community hall or even students at a school, all you need is a hall, items to swap and volunteers. For further information visit www.cagoxfordshire.org.uk

Refill stations and zero waste shops

Zero waste shops sell a range of products including beauty products, cleaning products and food without packaging – so you simply bring your own and reuse it. There are a number in our districts so please look online. Some supermarkets are starting to provide refill stations for dried goods and cleaning products.

What you can do… in the garden

  • Grasscycling When you cut the grass during the spring and summer, leave the clippings on the lawn. As they decompose, they release up to 30 per cent of the lawn’s required nutrients. Remove the clippings from the lawn at the beginning and end of the growing season when decomposition is slow. See BBC site on grasscycling
  • Compost Compost is incredibly useful for keeping your garden, soil and plants healthy, especially if you’re planning on growing your own flowers, fruit and vegetables. You can make your own compost at home all-year round using a compost bin or compost heap. Compost bins are available from your local garden centre, or you can buy one through Oxfordshire County Council here.
  • Replenish Oxfordshire have tips and tricks on composting at home.

What you can do…. in the house

Reusable nappies

Reusable, or ‘real’ nappies can save you money whilst also saving the environment. They are made from soft cloths that can be washed at home and used over and over again.

Oxfordshire County Council have set up reusable nappy trial kit holders in South Oxfordshire so you can try them out without committing to buy. Kits contain different brands and styles of reusable nappies and are held by local nappy suppliers and community groups who can help explain how reusable nappies are used.

We have nappy kit holders covering the Didcot, Wallingford, Henley-on-Thames and surrounding areas. For more information visit the Oxfordshire County Council real nappies webpage.

Reducing your food waste

Love Food Hate Waste is a charity dedicated to helping reduce food waste

Top tips

  • Make a shopping list before you head to the shops and stick to it L
  • Try to only cook what you need, but if you do have leftovers use it for lunch the next day or freeze it for another day.
  • To keep your food at its best for longer make sure your fridge is at the right temperature.
  • Use food in date order but if you don’t remember you can often freeze it.

Too much food?

If plans suddenly change then you might end up with too much food. You don;’t have to throw it out you could take it to a community fridge . To find a community fridge near you, visit the CAG Oxfordshire website for more information

Find a new home for your old furniture or appliances

Instead of sending it to landfill, furniture can get a new lease of life in someone else’s home. You could try local selling sites such as gumtree or give it away by posting it on Freecycle or there are a number of charities that collect reusable furniture, electrical appliances and other household items around Oxfordshire. These include:

As of January 2021, large retailers of electrical items accept small electrical items in-store to recycle on an exchange basis regardless of brand or condition. See Govt website