Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The best thing we can do with waste is not to produce it in the first place! Reducing our waste by not producing so much is something each one of us can do. As consumers we can use our purchasing power and choose products which are produced sustainably, use little or no packaging and are durable. Buying only what we really need also helps to reverse the trend of today’s throw-away society.
What can you do?
Each week the average household receives up to 18 pieces of junk mail, that's almost 1,000 pieces a year! Sadly most of this ends up thrown away.
An easy way for people to reduce their household waste is to say no to junk mail. Over three million trees are used each year to produce unwanted mail and there are simple steps we can all take to reduce the amount of junk mail we receive. Don’t forget, many charities use this form of communication to raise awareness as well as funds.
Five simple steps to dump the junk.
Sign up to the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) to remove your name from up to 95% of direct mailing lists. Simply complete an MPS Registration Form. Visit http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/or call 0845 703 4599 to register.
Reduce the amount of unaddressed mail you receive, email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be sent a form to sign and return. Royal Mail will then stop delivering unaddressed items to your address within six weeks.
Put a 'No Junk Mail' sticker on your letterbox to stop up to 90% of unwanted flyers and leaflets. You can pick one up from your local library.
Write 'Return to Sender' or 'Not at this Address' to unaddressed or wrongly addressed junk mail and post back.
Tick the opt-out box on your electoral registration form when you register to vote to prevent your details being used for marketing purposes. Make sure you also choose not to receive unwanted mail when you sign up to any new product or service. Write to, or phone, organisations that you receive unwanted mail from and ask to be removed from their databases.
If all else fails, make sure you recycle junk mail in your blue bin removing any plastic packaging first.
Repair broken appliances, donate old clothes to charity and trade or swap unwanted items at community recycling events or online exchange sites.
Reuse means passing something you no longer want on to others, or giving an item a new lease of life as something completely different. Either way, reusing your waste can save you money and help the environment, by reducing the amount of rubbish you produce.
What can you do?
Clothes, books, textiles and furniture
Charity shops sell second-hand goods which would otherwise be thrown away. Anything that can’t be sold is recycled if possible. Every household has at least one item of clothing or a book perhaps which is no longer needed. These items can be of tremendous value to the charity concerned, raising much needed funding but they can also become items of value to another person or household. It is better to donate items directly to the charity shop rather than leaving them on the doorstep for collectors.
If you don’t want to give them away, try one of the internet market sites allowing someone to make use of items you no longer need.
With the average baby going through approximately 5,000 nappies, why not switch to modern, reusable cotton nappies, which now come with liners and Velcro fastenings?
Reusable nappies are better for the environment and once you have bought a set they will last your child until they stop using nappies. They are also good for your pocket and could save you around £500.
Visit http://www.goreal.org.uk/ for more information.
Recycling has the following benefits:
- It keeps waste out of landfill sites. By reducing, reusing and recycling items we save valuable resources instead of burying them in the ground. This also helps to cut down the number of landfill sites we need and combats climate change by reducing the greenhouse gas methane, which is produced by organic material rotting in landfill sites.
- It saves energy, resources and helps reduce CO2 emissions. Recycling uses less energy than producing new items from scratch. Recycling an aluminium can for example saves 95% of the energy needed to make a completely new can and because we don't have to extract, refine, transport and process the raw materials we also cut CO2 emissions, industrial water usage, and air and water pollution.
- It helps to protect natural resources. Recycling reduces the demand for raw materials and provides industry-ready materials without the need for mining, quarrying or logging. Most everyday products can be turned into new things allowing us to use waste materials again and again. Aluminium can be reused indefinitely without losing quality!
- It helps to create jobs. Recycling is good for the economy and represents one of the fastest growing business sectors.
- What can you do? There are extensive opportunities to recycle waste at home using your blue recycling bin, organic waste brown bin if you have one or your food waste caddy. Contact Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council if you are unsure as to what can be recycled and how. Information is readily available which will help you make the most of recycling at home.