We can reduce our waste by recycling as much as possible, but there are other things we can do to reduce our waste further, by maximising the space in your rubbish bin to help protect our environment and planet.
You can reduce what you buy or you can reuse or repair items you already have to avoid throwing them away.
Have a look at our hints, tips and links below for ideas to help you throw less rubbish away.
We are one of the top performing boroughs in the country for recycling our waste with a 50% recycling rate. This is excellent news, however we are one of the worst for the rubbish that we throw away.
Rethink and shop smart
Think before you buy! Do you really need the item and if so, can you buy it more sustainably, or in a way that produces less waste or packaging.
- Avoid single use items and shop smart!
- Use a refillable water bottle or coffee cup.
- Reuse your shopping bags.
- Find a Zero Waste shop near you and bring your own refillable containers to shop for things like pasta, rice and dried goods as well as other yummy treats. Local zero waste shops include: Filling Good, Maidenhead and Zero Joes, Windsor.
- Get a fruit and vegetable box delivery using minimal packaging. Not only are they in season, but locally produced, supporting your local farmers and reducing the miles each item has to travel which is an extra win for the environment. Or try to choose items with less packaging than others at supermarkets and Farmers Markets.
- Shop in bulk if possible to reduce packaging, and avoid individually wrapped items where possible.
- Send an e-card or e-voucher instead of something that will end up in the bin.
- Avoid using or printing paper and use your smart phone or tablet to save documents and make notes.
- Avoid disposable single use plates and cutlery and buy reusable.
- Register with the Mailing Preference Service to reduce your junk mail. For more tips and information to reduce your volume of post visit : Recyclenow website.
Buy better or alternative products
- Buy gift experiences instead of presents someone might not want.
- Hire items like tools.
- Avoid poor quality items, particularly plastic ones such as cheap children's toys, or cheap electrical items.
- Return hangers to the dry cleaners to use again.
- Invest in items that wont easily break or get damaged.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of single life ones.
- Use beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm and tupperware instead of foil.
- Use washable make up pads and washing up sponges.
- Check out www.whirli.com, to buy new children' gifts and toys. You can then return them at any time to swap for a equivalent new toy. This is a great way to reuse and refresh your children' toys, and makes a great gift idea too.
For more hints and tips visit, the following websites :
- Recycle Now : Buying habits.
- Surrey Environment Partnership : Single use plastics
- Surrey Environment Partnership : More hints and tips.
You could also think about joining a local Facebook Group such as: Plastic Free Maidenhead or Plastic Free Windsor for more hints and tips on ways to reduce your rubbish.
Love food, hate waste
We waste 6.5 million tonnes of food waste every year in the UK, of which 4.5 million is edible!
From simple meal planning, storage ideas and shopping tips, there is a lot more you can do to prevent this waste in the first place, rather than just recycle your leftovers.
For top tips and information, go to the Love food, hate waste website.
Almost half of our food waste could be composted, so a great way to reduce the amount of food and garden waste is to compost it at home. It saves money and resources, and can help to improve your soil and reduce your impact on the environment.
For more information about home composting visit the Recycle Now website.
To purchase a compost bin online visit the Get composting website.
Nappies and wipes
Did you know that the average child uses over 4000 disposal nappies and produces a tonne in waste! Unfortunately items like nappies, sanitary pads and wipes can’t easily be recycled.
However there are some alternatives available to try. Reusable (real or cloth) nappies are a great alternative providing a host of benefits to you and baby, as well as the environment.
For more information on reusable nappies visit the Re3 website.
You can also use washable clothes as wipes, or there are biodegradable/flushable wipes and washlets available that are a better alternative to plastic based ones.
Donate or sell unwanted items
- Donate – clothes, books, toys and more to your local charity shop or your local recycling bank.
- Furniture – The British Heart foundation offers free collections for unwanted furniture, homeware and electrical items. Thames Hospice also collect furniture.
- Sell – many items can be sold or donated using online selling platforms or via a social media community groups or even at a car boot sale, garden sale, or jumble sale.
- Check out your local Mum2mum Market to buy and sell second hand baby items, for more information visit Mum 2 Mum market website.
For more information visit the Recycle Now website : Donate, sell swap.
It’s very easy to just throw away an item when it breaks, but have you thought about repairing or repurposing that item first.
- Love your Clothes – sew that button back on, or for rips or tears take it to your local dry cleaners that can often repair items easily. The same goes for shoes that can be re-heeled. Or you could even try repairing the item yourself or even dyeing your clothes another colour to revamp your wardrobe!
For clothes that you just don’t want try swishing a clothes swapping party. Visit www.swishing.com for more information.
- Bikes can be repaired and serviced at the Maidenhead Bike Scheme. They also sell refurbished bikes and for more information about what they do visit the Cyclehub website.
- Electricals and tools can normally be repaired. You can find repair shops in some local garden centres or search online.
- Maidenhead library is now running a repair café every second Saturday of the month, 10am – 3pm. To book tickets visit the library events page for more information.
For more information visit the Recycle Now website : repair and re-use.
Reuse some items in an alternative way. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Reuse plastic bottles as bird feeders.
- Reuse jars to store food items such as rice, or as a candle holder.
- Reuse takeaway tubs as lunch boxes or storage containers.
- Upcycle an old piece of furniture! For more information visit the Surrey Environment webiste : Upcycling.
- Reuse old clothing to make dolls cloths or hair bands for example, or an art project.