Reduce your waste - top tips
Avoid food waste
Wasting food costs the average family £680 a year. In the UK, we throw away around one third of the food we buy. Of that most could have been eaten. Of this, 40 per cent – almost one million tonnes – isn’t even touched and at least a tenth is still in date.
The most common reason for food being wasted is that it’s left unused or we cook and prepare too much.
Easy ways to avoid wasting food
- Measure your food to get the right portions
- Plan your meals so you are less likely to have random leftover ingredients
- If you do have leftovers, check out our rescue recipes to use them in other meals
- Store your food well so it lasts as long as possible
For food waste you can’t avoid please compost it at home or, if you have access to our food waste collection service, please use your caddy and we will compost it for you.
By 'smart' shopping we can greatly reduce the amount of waste we produce and can save money too. It's not difficult, it doesn't take any extra time and it can make a very big difference:
- make a list before you go shopping. It will help you not to buy items which won’t get used
- don’t be lured by special offers and always check “use by” dates
- take your own reusable shopping bags and avoid plastic carrier bags
- buy items which are loose or have less packaging on them – they are usually cheaper than over packaged goods. Complain to the store if you think the goods are over-packaged and/or remove excess packaging and hand it back to the store. See below about reporting overpacked items
- if possible buy in bulk and avoid multi-packs of small containers
- don’t go shopping when you are hungry as this may encourage you to buy food that you won’t eat
- avoid single use and disposable items and buy refillable products where possible e.g. refill your water bottle instead of buying a new one
- don’t forget to close the loop - buy recycled products made from recycled materials if possible (toilet paper, tissues, refuse sacks)
- buy rechargeable batteries. These can be recharged 1000 times, so by buying a pack of 4, you are saving 4000 batteries from going to landfill
- use low energy light bulbs. They save energy as well as money on your bills.
Give and take items
By giving away your items rather than putting them in the bin you can reduce waste and it’s also a great way to get fantastic items free of charge!
If you want to recycle that special something rather than throw it away you could sign up to a free website such as Freecycle or a local group such as groups.yahoo.com/group/TowerHamletsRecycle
These groups match items people want to get rid of with items people want.
Swap and swishing events
Swap events will be held during the year to give you the chance to swap unwanted items including clothes and accessories, paired shoes, books, bric-a-brac, toys and unwanted gifts. If you have something large like a piano or shed bring a photo along. To register to receive information about future swap events email email@example.com or keep an eye on the events section of the website.
Reduce junk mail
Mail Preference service
The Mailing Preference Service is a free non profit service which allows subscribers to register their wish not to receive unsolicited addressed mail. It allows you to have your name removed from most mailing lists in the country.
To find out more about the MPS or to use the service call 0845 703 4599, you can also find out more and register online at www.mpsonline.org.uk/.
Royal Mail Opt Out Service
Royal Mail will stop delivering unaddressed mail to your home if you choose to opt out of the service. You can do this by writing to them, or emailing them. Please see Royal Mail Opt Out Service for more information.
Get a ‘no junk mail’ sticker
Placing a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door is the only way to stop unwanted mailings hand delivered by local traders. Residents can request a free 'no junk mail' sticker by emailing their name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org