How to reduce your waste & increase your reuse
It takes raw materials, water and energy to create every item we bring into our homes – whether it is a plastic pot of yoghurt or an item of clothing or a washing machine. 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.
See our action on climate change pages on how to get involved locally as an individual or as a business
Five quick steps to reduce your waste
- Take reusable bags every time you go shopping
- Buy your fruit and veg naked (them not you)
- Buy zero waste products where possible
- Use a reusable water bottle -tap water in a reusable bottle costs approximately 0.1p – water in a plastic bottle costs around £1 (and creates plastic waste)
- Buy pre-owned (second hand) items where possible.
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
Sell or give away unwanted items online
The bin should be the last place to put unwanted items that could be used by somebody else.
There are many online sites where you can buy and sell unwanted items such as ebay and vinted.
On the Gumtree site you can sell or give away items.
Freecycle is a site for people wanting to give away items or pick up items free.
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 storage container 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.
Tips on how to reduce your food waste
Love Food Hate Waste is a charity dedicated to helping reduce food waste
- Make a shopping list before you head to the shops and stick to it.
- 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 and 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
What you can do to reduce waste 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, many online retailers or you can buy one through Oxfordshire County Council here.
Replenish Oxfordshire have tips and tricks on composting at home, including how to build your own compost bin.
Find a new home for your 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:
From 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
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.
Recycle certain items with us
You can recycle old clothes, broken small electrical appliances and used batteries with us using the kerbside collection. More details on our electrical items, textiles and batteries recycling page.