Monday, 21 April 2014

A-Z Simple Living: R = Reduce, Re-use and Recycle

Living Greener is a great website which extolls the virtues of the Reduce, Re-use and Recycle campaign. It is an initiative to help reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill. I have not always been the best recycler but I am now consciously making an effort to reduce the amount of waste we have, and to properly re-use or recycle what I can. Recyclying not just about putting your plastics in the re-cycle bin...this process should start before you even buy something. Here is a summary of the three initiatives and what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint:


Many of the problems created by waste can be addressed by reducing the amount of waste we produce in the first place. Reducing waste includes rethinking what you buy and refusing things you don't need.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of waste you produce:

  • Reduce your use of single-use and disposable products where possible and choose alternatives which can be used again. For example, instead of buying bottled water on the run, take a bottle with you from home.
  • Opt for products with minimal packaging where possible.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you collect. This can also save you money.
  • Choose concentrated products or refillable containers.
  • Refuse plastic bags when you don't need them. Keep re-usable bags handy so you remember to take them to the shops. You can also use boxes or your own shopping trolley bag on wheels.
  • When you're buying fruit and vegetables, pop them straight into your trolley rather than plastic bags.
  • Save on plastic wraps and freezer bags in kitchen by using re-usable containers as much as possible.
  • If you don't read advertising mail, put a sign on your letterbox.
  • Plan your meals to use items before they go out of date. Compost your food scraps or use them in a worm farm.

  • When building or renovating, build only what you need and think carefully about your design. Good design can make existing space more usable or comfortable. Choose durable materials and finishes as they should last longer.


It's amazing how many things can have a second or even third life. If you can't re-use something, there may be someone else who can.

  • Give unwanted clothes, household items, furniture or appliances to family or friends, or donate them to charities.
  • Washed takeaway containers make good stackable containers for frozen food.
  • Wash glass jars and use them again to store food or things like buttons and nails. You can also give glass jars to friends or groups who make jams.

  • Use small plastic bags to wrap wet and smelly rubbish or to pick up after your pet.
  • See whether your trash could be treasure for someone else. For example, if your food scraps are going in the bin, there might be a gardener or someone with chickens who wants your organic waste.
  • If you're building or renovating, consider using recycled materials such as windows or floorboards—you can save money and add character at the same time.
  • I have a recycling station where I put all of my containers and jars etc until I find a use for them.


  • Use your recycle bins or contact your local council to find out what alternatives they offer, especially for larger or e-waste items.
  • Look for products that use recycled materials or are recyclable. This way you'll know that you're helping to keep useful materials and metals out of landfill.
  • Recycle unwanted plastic bags at your supermarket, or give them to charity stores who may use them, or you go even further and re-cycle all of your soft plastic waste in these redcycle bins located at various supermarkets.

So how do you recycle at home? Do you think about what you are buying and how it will impact on landfill? What sort of things do you re-use?

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