Reducing your waste further with the Rubbish Diet
Most of you have now gone through your third week of the The Rubbish Diet and you’ve already got the hang of identifying items that you can recycle in the home and reduced the food which ends up in your bin. As a result, we’re sure you’re bin is looking emptier already. Who knew being on a diet could be this easy with such quick results!
This week, we’re looking at ways to avoid waste in the first place – you’ve got a few options, so here are some ideas to reduce the number of things that go into your rubbish bin.
- Reuse – can you repurpose an item to do something else?
- Repair – why not get it fixed instead of dumping it
- Swap, Swish, Donate!
- Washable nappies
While there has certainly been a big push on recycling in this country, re-use hasn’t always enjoyed the same sort of coverage or popularity as recycling. The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra isn’t in that order by mistake. It really is better to re-use than to recycle and even better to reduce or prevent waste in the first place.
Many items in use can be used for other purposes, for example –
Plastic and textile bags can be used over and over again
With a little know-how, your clothes can be updated to be fashionable or desirable again. They can be used to make all sorts of household items including aprons, bags, cushions and other clothes
By using your items for another purpose, you extend their useful life, you save money as you don’t have to buy something else and in many cases, you get a fashionable talking point in your home or garden.
Most things can be re-used and online web sites can help you with ideas, inspiration and step by step guides too. We also have lots of ideas for reusing many popular products around the home. Our reuse guide page is full of tips for reducing, re-using and recycling a wide variety of items including cooking oil, envelopes, cardboard and clothing.
How many items do you have sitting at home that can be repaired? A favourite pair of shoes with a broken lace; a small radio with a broken antenna; or a shirt missing two buttons perhaps? Instead of discarding them, why not get them repaired. Laces can be brought for very little money and won’t cost the same as a new pair of shoes. Antennas are very simple to replace on most radios and replacing a button is a very easy skill to learn.
Even if you don’t have the time to repair something yourself, there are many people or stores that will repair items. Clothes, electronics or electrical repair shops are available on almost every high street and if you go online, there is almost always someone in your local community who can repair the item you’re looking to repair.
In addition, Repair Cafes, an idea originating in the Netherlands, are spreading rapidly across the country. The Restart Project is one such project based in London that encourages people to keep their electronic items longer by teaching them simple repair skills to repair their own items. So whether your bike needs a new tyre or you need to learn how to adjust your brakes, help is out there.
Swap, Swish or Donate
If re-using something yourself doesn’t appeal then swapping, swishing and donating are great ways for someone else to get value from the things you no longer want or need – and you can benefit too!
By swapping, you get to exchange unwanted items you have with something that a friend, co-worker, family member or random stranger has that you want. Going to or organising an event means lots of items can change hands and find new homes instead of sitting around unused.
Clothes swapping parties are very popular and have started a whole movement on their own called swishing.
Swishing is an easy eco-friendly way to update your wardrobe without spending any money. At a swish, people bring their good quality unwanted clothing, shoes and/or accessories to exchange for other items that someone else has brought in to swap.
Research from WRAP has shown that we discard about £140 million worth of used clothing in landfill every year. Having a swish means that unwanted clothing can be used again instead of being thrown away and ending up in landfill.
Swishes can be big or small and be held in the home, office or local community centre for friends, family, co-workers or neighbours. Any clothing, shoes or accessories left at the end of a swishing event could be donated to a local charity or used again in another swish. For more information on swishing or organising one, visit our swishing page. Alternatively, swishing.com lists dozens of swishes that are happening every week across the country.
Donating unwanted items is ideal for getting rid of items you don’t have use for any more. Many online communities have sprung up to provide an easy way of connecting with people who have stuff to give away and those who want items. If you’re looking for a fancy dress costume, something unusual or an item that’s no longer in fashion, this is a great way to find your perfect item. Freegle and Freecycle are two of the more well-known online sites.
Borrowing is also another way of getting more use out of items that you rarely use. Organisations like Streetbank and Ecomodo work by setting up borrowing circles for communities that can work as well over one street or a whole neighbourhood. Our take action page gives you information about each of these organisations if you would like to get more involved.
Research has estimated that up to 4% of all waste going to landfill is from disposable nappies. For households with children, there can be in the region of 4000 or more nappy changes depending on the time it takes for the child to be potty trained and can fill more than half of your bin each week. Not only does that represent a big increase in your weekly rubbish, but an increase on your wallet. According to the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) converting to washable nappies can represent as much as a £500 saving by the time the baby is potty trained and £1000 if used on a second child – that child doesn’t have to be yours as you can share them with other parents when you no longer need them.
Whether you convert to save money, the environment or both, washable nappies can contribute significantly to reducing the overall amount waste in your rubbish bin at home. Whether you decide to convert to only using washable nappies some of the time or for every nappy change, you will contribute to reducing some of the 3.5 billion disposable nappies that end up in landfill every year.
Our nappies page offers some insight if you are considering converting to washable nappies. If you would like to try it out, why not visit one of our Nappy Natters. Our events page has details of when the next Nappy Natter or Nappy Library will be happening in your area.
Want to know more?
If you want to find out more about any of the ideas above you can visit our website to learn more about how you can reduce your waste at home. The Rubbish Diet can help you on your journey to slim your bin and reduce your waste, so why not join up today on www.therubbishdiet.org