Our consumer culture produces unimaginable amounts of waste, much of it completely unnecessary. There is a lot each of us can do to reduce our waste and thus conserve resources. Given that we live in a finite world, this is an extremely important aspect of sustainable living. Food waste is a particularly troubling area given fears over food security. UK homes throw away 7 million tonnes of food every year, most of it attributable to poor planning.
- Dispose of your disposables and re-use your re-useables. From shopping bags to tissues to razors to batteries, disposable items have replaced many things that aren’t at all inconvenient. Re-using can save you loads of money and is far less resource-intensive. As part of our Don’t Be Trashy campaign with Hubbub, we have created a Re-Use Guide to help you be part of the re-use revolution. You can check it out here.
- Share! Borrow! Donate! Especially if you don’t use something often, consider if you can share or borrow it before buying something new. Want to get rid of an item? Odds are somebody else would love to have it! It’s easier than ever to find out with resources like Streetbank and Freecycle.
- If you really need to buy something, try shopping second-hand. This is especially easy for clothing as London is packed with charity shops where you can get fashionable goods while also supporting a charity of choice.
- Reduce your packaging. Packaging serves the purpose of protecting goods but often gets out of hand. There are many ways you can shop smart to reduce the amount of packaging, and thus waste, in your life. The zero-waste blog EcoBoost has even put together a list of stores in London that will allow you to bring your own containers.
- Bring your own mug or plate. The UK throws away 2.5 billion disposable cups every year. Bring your own coffee mug to the university and you can even get a discount on your morning cuppa!
- Make sure to fix/report water leaks as soon as possible. A leaky tap may waste up to a litre of water per hour!
- Avoid printing as much as possible. Tools like the pdf reader Mendeley mean you don’t need to print to organise and take notes!
Recycle for Wales, EcoForce, Recycling Guide