Creative ways to reduce your waste

27 March 2020

With the disruption to some waste management services due to Covid-19, reducing your waste at home is more important than ever.

You can create a lot from old plastic bottles.

You can create a lot from old plastic bottles.

The more you reduce and reuse, the better it is for the environment and your wallet, and there’s plenty of ways to make it fun.

Minimising your household waste during the lockdown period can be an entertaining and eco-friendly challenge for the whole family. Here are some ways to reduce your household waste, and crafty ideas to repurpose – as well as safe ways to stockpile – your recycling.

Ways to minimise waste:

Instead of going to the shop, get creative cooking with the forgotten items at the back of your pantry, like that bulgur wheat or those dried chickpeas. The SuperCook app/website lets you enter the ingredients you have and finds recipes to use them. 

Using up what you already have reduces the amount of food you’ll need to buy and the packaging you’ll need to dispose of. It’ll also reduce how often you will need to leave home to go to the shop.

The Love Food Hate Waste website is filled with handy hints – from food storing tips to recipes that will help you make the most of your food by using up every last scrap. Learn how to make your own cleaning spray or, for anyone looking for a new hobby, find out how to preserve. Making more at home will save you money on shopping, you’ll pick up new skills, and reduce the amount of food waste being put in the rubbish.

The Rubbish Trip has more tips and tricks for reducing your recycling stockpile.

If you do need to go to the supermarket, make sure to take your reusable bags. Just say no to products that have a lot of packaging. And if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.  

Composting helps to keep rubbish out of our landfills, and lowers methane production.

Compost your food and garden waste. Composting helps to reduce the amount of rubbish you throw away, keeping rubbish out of our landfills, and lowering methane production. If you don’t have your own bin, compost heaps and worm farms are other good options – but remember to make your compost rat-proof.

How to safely hold onto your recycling:

With kerbside recycling on hold, you can hang onto it for future processing, but you must make sure it is very clean – especially if it has contained food. If you can’t get it clean, we recommend that you put it in your rubbish.

We also recommend you put milk bottles in your rubbish bin, but paper and cardboard can be stockpiled safely, as can glass bottles, just ensure that they are rinsed.

Ideas for repurposing your recycling:

Pencil cases, planter pots, watering cans and herb gardens are just a few of the many cool things you can create from plastic bottles. If you have clean, empty plastic bottles in your recycling stockpile, check out these websites for ideas: Budget Dumpster and Bored Panda

Making your own paper from old newspapers and your paper recycling is another way to keep the kids (and adults) entertained while housebound. It’s likely you’ll have everything you need already, but if you don’t, get creative with what you can find around the home – wikiHow has step-by-step video instructions for making paper, as does the Earth 911 website.