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Reduce and reuse waste

Reducing and reusing waste at home, stopping junk mail, using real nappies and saving water.

How can I reduce my household waste?

Don’t forget to check what you can put in your blue and brown bins before putting any waste your green bin.

How can I reduce food waste?

  • Plan your meals and make a shopping list - by knowing what you need when you go to the supermarket, you are less likely to buy extra items which you may later throw away.
  • Store food correctly - check the food labels and make sure you put food in fridges and freezers if you are not going to use them straight away.
  • Reduce portion sizes - check packets or recipes for recommended portions and only prepare what you need. The Eatwell Guide on the NHS Choices website shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Use up leftovers - create another meal with any leftovers, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website for leftover food recipes.
  • Freeze sauces - use ice cube trays to freeze leftover sauces – items such as tomato puree, creamed coconut and pesto can be frozen and added to your cooking at a later date.
  • Know what food date labels mean - by understanding food date labels you won’t throw something away that you don’t need to. Find out more on the Food Standards Agency website
  • Download the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ app - available for iPhone which helps you plan your food, shop to your food budget and has recipes so you can make the most of your leftovers. 

Don’t forget to use your kitchen caddy and brown bin for food waste.

How much food waste is thrown away in East Riding of Yorkshire?

On average 30 per cent of the waste in our green bins is food, which could be put in our brown garden and food waste bins instead. Putting food waste in your brown bin means it can be composted, this not only reduces disposal costs but it increases recycling rates and helps the environment.

Will I save money reducing food waste?

Yes. Wasting food costs the average household £480 per year so helping to prevent food waste can have financial benefits for you and your family.

How can I reuse my household waste?

  • Get things repaired - sometimes it’s much cheaper to repair items such as your washing machine than to buy a new one. Find a local repairer.
  • Donate items - use our repair and reuse directory to find out where you can donate your unwanted items.
  • Advertise - list your items on an online community, such as on the Freecycle website or the Freegle website. All items are usually listed free of charge and collected by the recipient. You could also sell them on an online auction site.
  • Get crafty - think about how you can repurpose old items to make new ones, such as turning an old favourite t-shirt into a cushion cover or making a robot with old food packaging. There are plenty of websites with recycled craft ideas for both adults and children.
  • Compost at home - buy a home composter and turn garden and food waste and some household items into compost for your garden.

How can I stop junk mail?

You can be removed from up to 95 per cent of direct mailing lists by registering on the MPS (Mail Preference Service) Online website.

You can visit the Royal Mail website to find out how to opt out of receiving any leaflets or unaddressed promotional material.

More information about stopping junk mail is available on the Citizens Advice website.

How can I avoid junk mail?

  • Check for a tickbox on forms - any form you fill in will have a tick box that says something like ‘I give permission for third parties to contact me’ or ‘I give you permission to contact me’. If you check (or uncheck) the box, it will prevent junk mail being sent to you from that company. 
  • Tell people your contact preferences - ensure that anyone that you give your contact details to over the phone knows that you do not want to be sent mail, or for your details to be given to anyone else.

How can I save water?

  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - a running tap uses over six litres every minute.
  • Reduce your time in the shower - use a timer to keep track.
  • Fill up your dishwasher - make sure your dishwasher is full before you turn it on, and experiment with the different settings as many modern machines offer ‘eco’ settings that use less water and energy.
  • Don’t throw away drinking water - use it to water your plants.
  • Only fill a kettle with what you need - this not only saves water but takes less time to boil so you’ll save on electricity too.
  • Buy a water butt - use rainwater in your garden rather than water from the outdoor tap. Visit the East Riding Get Composting website or call 0845 130 6090 to buy up to two water butts at a reduced price. You can also purchase water butts through the Yorkshire Water website, and most homeware stores and garden centres. 

For more tips, visit the Waterwise (external website).