It’s European Week for Waste Reduction and we’ve compiled a list of easy tips you can use to help reduce waste and help the environment.
The aim of the week is to inform large numbers of European citizens about the simple actions that they can take in everyday life to help contribute to waste reduction efforts. For more details visit http://www.ewwr.eu/
- Remember to give back empty cartridges to the supplier company to be refilled. As well as respecting the environment, this small-scale action generates activity and so helps to create new jobs.
- At the office, bring in your own mug for your tea ! That way you’ll save filling up the waste paper basket with plastic cups.
- Why not keep used office paper in a drawer so you can reuse it for drafts ?
- Choose your office supplies with care, giving priority to rechargeable or reusable stationery, recycled or recyclable materials and products that come with a European eco-label !
- Think about buying coffee or tea in a large packet rather than in small packs; you’ll produce less waste and you’ll save money.
- Think about giving used electronic equipment to associations, who can give it a second life.
- Cut waste and your costs by bringing in a packed lunch to work.
- Choose to cook with fresh foodstuffs; that way you’ll eat healthily and you’ll save a lot of packaging waste compared with an over-packaged ready meal.
- Remember to use up those products that have a short use-by date. Taking more care of perishable products, for example, putting products with a short use-by date at the front of the fridge or cupboard is a simple way for everyone to reduce their production of waste.
- Fill up a jug of tap water ! You’ll save the money you would have spent on buying a pack of bottled water and limit the amount of plastic wasted !
- When going on a picnic, bring along airtight containers for food, flasks and everyday hardware cutlery. That way there is less rubbish left over at the end of the picnic, which of course will be thrown in the nearest bin, or even better taken home for separating and disposal.
- Choose products that come with eco-labels
European or national eco-labels are official certifications that guarantee the quality of products as well as their reduced impact on the environment throughout their life cycle. Several hundred products (including school exercise books, bin bags, household products, coffee filters…) are available with eco-labels, so keep an eye out for them!
- Choose products with less packaging and avoid disposable, single-use products
From the moment of purchase, you can often choose a product which will generate less waste. You will save raw materials and help to cut down on the pollution generated through the production process. You can also save money!
- Choose to buy products in bulk
It often works out less expensive, and helps to minimise packaging waste. Packaging represents 23% of the weight of our household waste, and a significant part of the volume of your bin.
- Buy in quantities that are adapted to your needs
Buying a quantity of food that is well adapted to your needs allows you to avoid producing waste but also to stop you from having to throw away products that you have paid for, making savings
- Opt for reusable bags for your shopping
As well as being expensive thanks to the Government’s Plastic Bag Tax, disposable bags from shopping centres are used for an average of 20 minutes before being thrown away. Not only do they become waste very quickly, but if not disposed of carefully they can pollute the countryside and the sea. Plastic bags that end up in the sea can kill marine life who can become trapped in the bags or who can confuse them with jellyfish and swallow them.
- Opt for eco-refillable products
Eco-refills are often available for household products, cosmetics, as well as certain foodstuffs.
- Save batteries : at home, plug your small appliances into the mains or use rechargeable batteries… you’ll also save money.
- Try to avoid unnecessary purchasing of products, especially around festivities and holidays: work out which items you really need to avoid over-buying of food, decorations and gifts
- Next time you have a birthday present to buy, why not get a “dematerialised” gift, such as tickets for a show or concert in the area, or a subscription, a massage, cooking lessons… pleasure without waste!
- When it comes to buying new school materials, check the condition of stationery and materials that are left over from the previous year, to see if they can be reused. For those items that still need to be purchased, opt for materials that come with an eco-label, or those that seem durable and will withstand a few scrapes!
- Opt for rechargeable stationery that can be kept for a long time.
- At snack time, bring your food in a reusable hardware tub, and your drink in a flask.
- Help to cut down on paper waste by writing on both sides of the page
- Why not rent or borrow the materials you need ?
- Call for a special collection for your dangerous waste.
- For any chemical waste from DIY jobs, such as household products, batteries, or strip lighting…etc. take them to your nearest local recycling centre or collection point.
- Why not hire the gardening tools that you only need occasionally, or borrow them from a neighbour ?
- Think about buying a natural fertiliser that’s adapted to organic farming methods. Even better, start home composting and use the compost as fertiliser!
In the home
- Opt for low-energy light bulbs. An energy-efficient light bulb uses 80% less electricity, and it lasts 6 to 8 times longer!
- Opt for durable products over disposable ones; they create a lot less waste! Some examples are cleaning cloths, razors, cups, refillable pens, rechargeable batteries…etc.
- Before throwing an object out, find out about reuse associations in your area which could give that object a new life!
- Choose to buy soap instead of shower gel. With less packaging, soap helps to cut down on waste !
- Fight against excess paper waste: put a “No Junk Mail” sticker on your letterbox.
- Recycle your dry waste and glass, using local waste management providers or by visiting your local recycling centre.
- More than 30% of the weight of our bins is composed of biodegradable waste (kitchen waste, garden waste, ashes...etc.) Having a compost to put green waste into will mean you throw away less and gain an excellent source of nutrients for your flowers and vegetable garden.
- Reuse and repair as much as possible! 13 to 25kg of electric and electronic equipment such as fridges, telephones, computers etc. are thrown out per person per year, yet these products often contain harmful components such as lead or mercury, and the majority can be repaired or reused. Think about giving used appliances and unwanted furniture to associations that will take on the job of restoring them.
- Give your unwanted clothes a second life by giving them to charity collections or associations, or to friends and family members.