The Six 'R's and Me: a quick guide to reducing your waste!

circular economy news recycle reduce refill refuse repair reuse rot Tips zero waste

Welcome to the first Wastenot blog post! This blog will be a space for us to share news, ideas and tips to help you reduce the amount of waste you and your household generate.

The best place to start when embarking on a low waste lifestyle is with ‘The Rs’. Lots of you I’m sure know three of them: Reduce Reuse Recycle, but did you know there are six? Or that there’s an order of priority to them? Well there is!

Refuse: the easiest way to prevent yourself from making waste. The first step is to learn to say ‘no thanks’ to disposable items and plastic packaging. Remind bar and serving staff not to give you a straw or a napkin if you don’t need it, slow down and eat in rather than use disposable take-out packaging and cutlery.

Reduce: the second step is a little trickier. Think about your needs, assess and adapt your shopping habits wherever you can. Ask yourself if you really need to buy brand new clothes, can you cut out your crisp snacking habit, can you find those veggies loose at a local market or grocers? Reducing this way is not only a good way to save on packaging, but can also save you a great deal of money too!

Reuse: one of the easiest steps to follow is this. Take your own bags to the shop, get a reusable coffee cup for your hot drink on the go, bring a packed lunch from home, carry a refillable water bottle and top it up at any one of the shops and cafes participating in the ‘Refill’ scheme, try out a fabric handkerchief instead of carrying a packet of tissues. If you’re having a clearout, take clean items of clothing, bedding, books, toys and furniture to local charity shops so others can make use!

Repair: perhaps one of the most creative of the steps. Don’t throw away an item of clothing if you can mend it! Darning socks, patching jeans and sewing on buttons are all excellent skills to hone, and YouTube makes learning so easy with thousands of tutorials available. Shoes worn down? Ask a cobbler if they can be fixed; re-heeling or re-soling a shoe will always be cheaper than buying a new pair. Repairs don’t just extend to clothes though! Furniture, books, and electronics can all have their lifespan extended by your hand or that of a professional.

Recycle: so many people already recycle with their local council, and there are many more schemes besides. Some businesses will recycle the packaging you buy from them: for example Lush will take back their black tubs (and give you a free face pack if you bring them five!)

Rot: if your local authority doesn’t collect food waste, then composting at home or as part of a community compost initiative is easy if you have the space. There are several methods for disposing of food waste: from wormeries to bokashi bins to traditional compost piles. If there isn’t a community compost site in your area, speak to your neighbours or to local allotment holders to see if you can start something.


Hopefully these words will have inspired you to make some additional changes to your lifestye. Even the smallest action can make a big difference!

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