Getting into the recycling habit is fantastic. But even better is reducing the amount we throw away in the first place. Here are some easy ways to play your part.
Borrow, share or donate
There are lots of organisations that are delighted to take usable goods, like furniture and appliances, off people's hands. Some of these are:
- Unwanted items of furniture and appliances; The Sofa Project, Genesis Furniture Project (both will collect)
- Swap or exchange items or give them away; Freecycle Bath, Freecycle Chew Valley, Freecycle Midsomer Norton, Bath Freegle
- Many charity shops will take items such as clothes, bric a brac, books and music or look out for local jumble sales.
Find your nearest charity shop
WARPit online community re-use network
If you are a member of a voluntary or community group in Bath and North East Somerset, and are looking for free office items or furniture for your organisation, why not join the BathNES Community network called WARPit . This online re-use network has lots of surplus items to give away to local groups who need them.
Love Food Hate Waste
Every year we throw away £4 billion worth of food because we cook or prepare too much. This amounts to 6.7 million tonnes, and most of this is food that could have been eaten!
Avoid this by cooking and buying the right amount of food, using your leftovers and storing your food carefully to make your purchases last longer.
Our own tips for reducing food waste incude making the most of the food you buy - did you know that all of the following are edible - beetroot and cauliflower leaves, broccoli stalks and the tops of leeks, kiwi skins and strawberry tops, squash skins, vegetable skins (eg potato, carrot, parsnip) and bread crusts.
Love Your Clothes
Did you know?
The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes- and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year.
Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in the carbon, water and waste used in the clothing manufacturing process and result in savings of around £2 billion in the direct cost of waste associated with UK clothing.
An estimated £140 million worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.
The Love Your Clothes campaign, aims to help you change the way you buy, use and get rid of clothes across the clothing lifecycle.
It has lots of information and practical tips to help you to:
Find out more www.loveyourclothes.org.uk
Don't forget that we collect your clothes, shoes and other clean textiles such as towels and sheets in your green box recycling collection. Please put them in a plastic bag to keep them dry. Alternatively, you can take them to any of our Recycling Centres or charity clothing banks across the area.
Why not run a clothes swap with your friends or community group to raise funds? We can offer you advice and support with a guidance pack, publicity and loan you clothes stands, hangers, and mirrors. To download our clothes swap guidance pack please click here
For more information on passing on textiles for re-use please click here
Give and Take days
Give and Take days are re-use events where people can donate household items that are good quality and in working order that they no longer need, and pick up something they want for FREE - including, books, bric-a-brac, bikes, toys, clothing or small items of furniture. You don't need to donate to take! All items must be in good re-usable condition. By re-using things it reduces the amount of natural resources such as oil, minerals, water and wood that we use. If you would like to organise your own Give and Take day we can offer you advice and support with a guidance pack. To download our Give and Take day guidance pack, please click here.
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). At Repair Cafés you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need on a variety of items such as clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery and toys. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields.
Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café.
The first Bath Repair Cafe took place in April 2017 and more are planned. To find out dates and venues visit www.facebook.com/repaircafebath
When out shopping, look out for shops where you can buy products with less packaging such as greengrocers. There are some specialist shops that sell products such as cereal, flour and pulses loose - you can even bring your own containers; look on the internet to see if there's anything nearby. Some sell cleaning products in refillable containers. In some places, Zero Waste Shops are starting to open - an internet serach will show if there are any opening near you. When going to counters at the supermarket or visiting bakers, butchers, delicatessens and sandwich shops, find out if you can bring your own containers instead.
Where you are going to need a lot of something, aim to buy products in bulk rather than individually packaged. However, if it's something you don't use very often, consider whether individual packs will help your product last longer.
Bring a supply of reusable bags with you (many places sell bags that squash down so you can carry them around with you) and if you do take a plastic bag from a shop (even if it's for loose fuit and vegetables such as tomatoes), remember to bring it with you next time you shop, so you can reuse it.
When buying food, remember to take a shopping list with you and stick to it - that way you'll be less tempted to buy too much food that may go to waste. For more advice on reducing food waste, please go to the Love Food Hate Waste website.
Advice for workplaces
Businesses and public sector organisations can all take simple steps to reduce and re-use their business waste. Catering, stationery and re-using furniture could all be part of your strategy.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme's Business Resource Efficiency Hub is an excellent source of information on how being efficient with your resources can reduce waste and save money.