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Reducing Your Waste

Information and advice on how you can reduce your waste

Recycling as much of your waste as you can is great, but it is even better to try and reduce the amount of waste you produce in the first place. It isn't always easy, but reducing your waste doesn't just help the environment, it can also help cut down on your bills, saving you money.

Below, we have listed some ideas to help get you started:

Reducing Food Waste

To reduce the amount of food waste you have, you can:

  • Keep your fridge at a cool 0-5 degrees Centigrade, this makes your food last longer in the fridge 
  • Check out the A to Z of food storage on the Love Food Hate Waste website - find out the best place to store your food and if you can freeze it!
  • Plan your meals - check your fridge and cupboard and make a list of what you need before going food shopping 
  • If you're not planning on using your leftovers straight away, pop them in a container or sealed bag, label and date it and place in your freezer
  • Be aware of the meaning of date labels:
    • Best Before is about quality and food should be safe to eat after the date
    • Use By is about food safety - you can eat it right up to the Use By date, but not after

You can find out more useful food tips by visiting the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

  • Remember to take your reusable water bottle or coffee cup when you go out
  • Download the Refill app for information on locations where you can refill your water bottle, go plastic free shopping and other useful information
  • Use your own reusable containers when buying meat, fish, cheese, fruit and vegetables; most major supermarkets and local suppliers will let you
  • Remember to take reusable shopping bags with you to the shops
  • Say no to straws or carry your own bamboo or metal ones
  • Take your lunch to work in reusable containers
  • Try shampoo bars or soap instead of bottled cosmetics

Use Real Nappies

You could save money and help the environment at the same time by using real nappies.

Modern reusable nappies;

  • are easy to wash
  • have no need to be soaked
  • have no chemical content
  • have soft, natural fibres against baby's delicate skin
  • use less energy and water, even including the washing
  • are not tested on animals

Go Real (the national real nappies information service) estimates that parents can save at least £500 with reusable cloth nappies, and more if their nappies are used again with subsequent children. You can find more information on the Go Real website.

Repair, Donate, Sell or Upcycle Unwanted Items

  • The WRAP Love your clothes campaign has many helpful mending tutorials
  • Upcycle your existing clothes by embellishing, altering and combining them in new ways
  • Take unwanted clothes and toys to charity shops
  • Take unwanted furniture that is in good condition to a furniture reuse scheme; in West Berkshire there is The Community Furniture Project Newbury
  • Visit a repair cafe (see further information below)

Sustainable Fashion

Fast fashion is the mass production and quick turnaround of cheap and low quality clothes. This comes at a large environmental cost and encourages over-consumption, meaning items are worn only a few times before they are thrown away.

By following the hierarchy below, starting with buying less, you can stay in fashion whilst reducing the amount of clothes that go to waste:

  • Buy less - it helps to turn off e-mail or post subscriptions to fashion retailers, thus avoiding that temptation
  • Swap it - either with friends and family or try an online swapping platform eg Vinted, Depop or Swopped
  • Create a capsule wardrobe - have only essential items that you can mix and match to dress up or down, allowing you to make lots of outfits from less clothes

If you do need to buy something new:

  • Make your clothes last by washing at a cooler 30 degrees and air drying them
  • Borrow - think about renting instead of buying new
  • Shop secondhand at charity shops or online selling sites, eg eBay, Re-Fashion, Thrift plus or ReRun Clothing

Like fast fashion, fast furniture is also an issue. The availability of mass produced items encourages people to change their furniture frequently. Ways to combat this include:

  • Buying secondhand furniture
  • Hiring furniture is a good way of getting the look you love whilst keeping the flexibility to change your mind
  • Check out rental services for cutlery, crockery and tableware if you are holding a party or event

Waste Prevention Projects

You could get involved with Waste Prevention projects with local community groups:

Repair Cafes

Repair cafes are a growing global movement where people bring their broken household items along for volunteers to repair.

People usually make a small upfront donation whether or not the item is successfully repaired and sit with the volunteer while the repair is being attempted to learn repair skills.

In West Berkshire, there are the following repair cafes:

  • Hungerford Repair Café
  • East Garston Repair Café
  • Reading Repair Café

Find out more on the West Berks Repair Cafe Facebook page.

If you are handy with a set of tools or just fancy having a go at making repairs at home, visit the iFixit website for repair guides for a wide range of household devices.

Other community opportunities include:

  • Local libraries for reusable nappies - libraries offer a range of kits, support and advice for parents wishing to trial reusable nappies
  • West Berkshire Council offer a real nappy cashback scheme when you purchase real nappies; see our Real Nappies webpage
  • Swap Events are community events where people bring clothes, baby equipment or other small household items to swap
  • Community fridges are publicly available fridges which store unwanted fresh food from the local area, so it can be passed on to those who can make use of it. To find a community fridge near you, head to the Hubbub website
  • Community composting - there are schemes whereby communities come together to compost their suitable household and garden waste and produce compost for an area

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