Cutting down on household waste is becoming increasingly important to protect our environment from pollution and help conserve our natural resources.

All you need to do is follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce

Waste reduction starts with your weekly shop – just a few small alterations to your shopping list can significantly reduce the amount of waste you produce.

Begin by taking your own reusable bags with you to the supermarket, so you don’t need to pick up any plastic bags. Look for items with the least amount of packaging, such as loose fruit and vegetables, and for items you use a lot consider buying in bulk, which will save money and reduce waste. If you have a baby, buy reusable nappies instead of disposables, and where possible buy refills for things like washing powder.

At home, reduce the amount of waste paper by stopping unwanted junk mail, use a compost bin for your vegetable peelings and garden waste, and remember to use the food waste bin provided by your council for cooked food and bones.

Reuse

As a nation, we have adopted a throwaway culture, throwing items away that could be mended and used again, or given to somebody in greater need.

Make sure you use both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it – you can use the reverse side as scrap paper for the kids to draw on, or as notepaper. Envelopes can be reused by simply sticking a piece of paper over the original label, and cardboard, newspaper and bubble wrap can all be used again as packing material.

Old ice cream tubs can double up as lunch boxes, or be used in the shed or garage for storing odds and ends. Jars and pots are also useful in the garage and make excellent small paint pots for when you don’t want to carry around a huge tub of paint.

Buying reusable batteries saves on hazardous waste, and donating furniture and household appliances to charity helps those in need and gives your items a new lease of life.

Recycle

If items can’t be reused or repaired, then check to see whether they can be recycled. Recycling helps to conserve our natural resources by reusing old materials and it saves energy. Many household items can be recycled, although some may need separating and putting in different containers, such as glass.

Tins, metal lids, foil and foil trays, and cans including aerosols can all be recycled repeatedly. Paper is easy to recycle, including cardboard, magazines, envelopes, brochures and catalogues, and plastic bottles are recyclable.

If you have broken household appliances that can’t be fixed, take them along to your nearest household recycling centre where the various components can be broken down and reused.

We all have a responsibility to cut down on our household waste. By following the simple guidelines of reduce, reuse and recycle, we can all help to reduce the amount of waste in the UK.

If you’re planning a clear-out this spring and plan to hire a skip, look for a company that’s committed to recycling and halving the amount of waste in our landfills.

Image credit: Free Digital Photos.

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