Waste reduction tips

During the coronavirus pandemic it’s vital that people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. As a result we’ve closed all of our HWRCs to discourage people from making non-essential journeys, reduce the risk of the virus spreading and protect staff.

While our HWRCs are closed we’ve put together some helpful tips for how you can reduce waste and recycle at home. 

Reducing waste around the home

  • If you have small pet bedding then this doesn’t need to go in your rubbish bin, vegetarian animal bedding can be home composted, so when you clean them out, put it straight into the home compost bin.
  • If you’ve done some DIY and were hoping to use the household waste recycling centre that are now closed to recycle your wood and bits, instead why not try making a bug hotel. Find out how to make a bug hotel.
  • If your fridge freezer or washing machine has broken and you were planning on taking it to the household waste recycling centre then please either hold on to it until they re-open or use the take back recycling service that your new supplier will provide.
  • Always thought about reusable nappies but never had the time to persevere. Now is your perfect opportunity. Do your research as there are many to choose from.  Everything you need can be ordered online.
  • Charity shops and textile banks are now closed during the virus outbreak. If you've got a favourite jumper or sock that needs fixing, now might be a good time to take up the ancient art of darning. There are lots of creative examples and videos on You Tube and a simple guide here to get you started!
  • If you have some cardboard boxes that are taking up too much space at home, you can compost cardboard in your home compost bin (best to shredded or torn) or if you don’t have a compost bin why not use the cardboard box as a starter home compost bin and get filling it up.
  • The average household has 17 full and part used paint tins. If your paint is non-toxic, what about using some of it up by getting the kids to paint some stones?
  • To reduce your junk mail you can join the Mailing Preference Service. To opt out of receiving the BT phone book call 0800 833 400 and to opt out of the Yellow Pages call 0800 671 444.
  • If you’ve got some clear plastic bottles that are the right shape you could make you own mini greenhouses for growing seedlings in. Or if you’re feeling very creative how about a plastic bottle greenhouse or mini house? There are lots of ideas online.
  • Unfortunately, charity and reuse stores are currently closed so collections of unwanted furniture will not be taking place. If your chair or sofa is now not suitable for reuse how about challenging yourself to dismantle it into the various compartments ready to recycle once the HWRCs are back open; there should be: scrap metal, wood and textiles that can be recycled and probably just the foam that will end up down the disposal route.  This could save you trying to get it into your car boot in one piece. If it has the fire labels and can be reused by someone else, pass it on!

Reducing garden waste

  • Using spare time to have a garden tidy up? Start home composting. As a North Yorkshire resident you can buy reduced price compost bins for as little as £9. Or make your own permanent or temporary compost heap from materials to hand.
  • If composting isn’t for you why not leave grass cuttings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil. This will make for a greener lawn in the summer.

Reducing kitchen waste

  • If you’re making your own fresh coffee now you can't visit the coffee shop on your morning commute remember that all fresh coffee and paper filters can be put in your home compost bin or even spread on your borders.
  • The average UK fridge is set to 7 degrees. This is too high for most foods and will cause them to go off much quicker. Turning it down to 0–5°C could potentially keep your food fresh for up to three extra days. You can use the LoveFood Hate Waste fridge thermometer tool to find out how to adjust the temperature.
  • We all know that meat, pizza and ice cream can be frozen, but there may be a few foods that surprise you. Eggs, milk, bread, cheese – in fact, almost anything can be frozen! Pop a label on whatever you freeze to avoid any unidentified frozen objects. Find out more from Love Food Hate Waste
  • 'Best before' refers to quality – your food is at its best before this date, but should still be okay to eat after: use your senses to check. ‘Use by’ is about safety – eating food after this date could give you food poisoning. Remember, you can freeze your food up to and including the use by date, keeping it for another day.
  • Different foods last better stored in different places, so knowing where to store them is key to keeping them fresh. Visit the Love Food hate Waste Food Storage A–Z to help you to figure out where to store your foods, as well as tips on how to use them.
  • The traditional milkman has seen an increase in popularity over the last few weeks and what’s not to love about reusable glass bottles and a doorstep delivery? Check online locally to see if your local milkman still has spaces available – reuse is even better than recycling!
  • If you have a store cupboard with dried and tinned food but you’re unsure of what to make with those lentils and chick peas, Have a look at Love Food Hate Waste recipes. This website will also give you lots of ideas on what to do with leftovers.  
  • Save money and be good to the planet by buying just what you are likely to eat. Keeping a list and having a clear idea for 4-5 meals will allow you to be flexible with unexpected leftovers. Take a photo of your fridge as you leave home so you have a quick reference to see what's already in there as you tackle the shopping aisles.
  • Our smoothie bike won’t be out at events but if you have any fruit looking a bit too ripe to eat, just throw it all in the liquidizer and blitz it up with milk or fruit juice to make a lovely smoothie.

Get other tips on reducing waste and reuse from RecycleNow.