Hello again, Dave here. This time I’m writing about reducing your waste.
Reduce is the first and most important R in the waste hierarchy.
• Right now we need the equivalent of three extra planets’ worth of materials and resources to satisfy demand.
• We are using materials at a rate which we cannot continue with. If we carry on as we are we may begin to run out of raw materials.
• Reducing saves virgin materials.
• Reducing stops material entering a recycling or waste stream.
• And it’s a money saver too.
So what can we do? We can reduce the amount of many things we are using. Ever tried the 28 day shopping rule? Think that you really need something, really want it? Set the cash aside, don’t set out for the shop for four weeks. Surprise yourself at how easily you have managed without it and how much more available cash you have.
And if you manage not to buy any new stuff, then you can get creative by using the things you’ve got around the house that would otherwise go to waste. Room by room, we have some tips to get you started.
Thought of reusing envelopes? Adhesive labels over the top of an already used envelope give it a second life, or avoid the hunt and costs for labels and use glue and a sheet of salvaged paper.
Can you read your favourite newspaper online? Avoid paper even going for recycling by using your laptop, tablet or smart phone to catch up with the news.
Avoid paper towel and bring cloths to your kitchen. Cloths can be washed out and used over and over.
How many different products do you have under the sink that all do much the same thing? Would one general purpose detergent do many of the cleaning jobs about the house? This gives you only one product to replace. Or try using vinegar – either neat or diluted with water – to make an effective disinfectant, that cuts through grease and deodorises. It’s non toxic and inexpensive.
You can substitute natural fibres for disposable paper products, so have a drawer with handkerchiefs and miss out the paper tissues.
Avoid disposable razors. Gents, try an old fashioned shave with a safety razor, leaving you only a humble razor blade to deal with, or be really brave and go for a cut throat!
Do you have products for a vehicle you used to have? Litres of never to be used yacht varnish, surplus roofing bolts? What about a garage sale or even a swap? Stick a sign up to attract passing customers, or get your neighbours, family and friends round to have a swap session and stop the items going to waste.
Ever considered home composting for your garden waste? Find out more here. Or have you thought of a green cone for your food waste to help enrich the soil? It may save you the need for expensive trips to the garden centre.
Reducing takes a bit of thought and some practice but it has rewards, give it a try. Choose a room and see what you can do!