Energy and materials go into the production of everything we consume, from the clothes we wear to the vehicles we drive, but at the end of their usefulness these materials become waste. Ultimately when these materials can no longer be reused or recycled they result in pollution.
REDUCING the volume and types of waste we generate can offer a considerable contribution to tackling climate change and protecting the environment. Cutting down our consumption and buying quality items that last, prevents unnecessary waste.
Extending the lifetime of the things we buy, by REPAIRING them or passing them on to others to be REUSED gives the maximum return for the energy used in their production. Finding another use by REPURPOSING an item, prevents it from becoming waste.
RECYCLING saves energy as it is more efficient and less polluting than collecting new raw materials, conserves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill or an incinerator.
In Hampshire, the general waste collected from our homes is sent for incineration. Energy is RECOVERED during this process and used to generate electricity, however waste incineration contributes towards air pollution.
Green Fact: It takes nearly 20 times as much energy to make a new aluminium can than it does to make one from recycled aluminium.
- Find out how to reduce food waste by visiting our section on Food & Cooking.
- Discover the changes you can make to reduce the amounts and types of waste you generate in our tips for Shopping.
We have got so used to living in a ‘throw-away society’ that many of us have lost the skills required to repair items. Instead we just replace them, and this is hugely costly to the environment particularly when many are shipped from China. Don’t throw things away before you have to and have a try at repairing them instead.
- You can purchase replacement parts for many of your domestic appliances online through sites like E Spares .
- Try searching Youtube for videos that take you step by step through the repair process for your appliance.
Local help is available. See the New Leaf Repair, Reuse, Recycle Directory which lists local companies for:
Domestic appliance repairs
Mobile phone and computer repairs
One great scheme is the community project ‘Repair Café’. Local residents bring their broken items, from household electrical and mechanical devices to computers, bicycles, clothing etc, and learn to repair them under the guidance of more experienced local volunteers. The net result is less waste, shared skills and tools, and strengthened social cohesion. If you would like to learn more and set up a Repair Cafe locally, start by visiting https://repaircafe.org/en/about/.
See the New Leaf Repair, Reuse, Recycle Directory to locate your nearest Repair Cafe.
Remember the old adage ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure’.
Someone else may be able to reuse the item you no longer want.
Pass 'hand-me-downs' of children’s clothes, books and toys to friends, neighbours and relatives.
Advertise items on your local Facebook Buy & Sell page, donate to charity shops or use Freecycle, and doorstep charity collections.
See the New Leaf Repair, Reuse, Recycle Directory which has some great suggestions for reusing items through various donation schemes. Many of the schemes are charity-based, with the charity making good use of any profit made from your donation.
Schemes include reuse of:
China & household textiles
Medical equipment (including mobility aids)
Each person brings their unwanted items and receives tokens based on the number and quality of their donations. The tokens are then exchanged for clothes in the swap. A small charge is paid on the door for entry to cover the cost of hosting the swap.
For everything else RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE!
Use your doorstep recycling collection for recycling paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, aerosols, tins and cans.
For more information on what you can and cannot place in your recycling collection visit
Glass is collected in the black boxes every 4 weeks.
Garden waste including flowers, grass cuttings, leaves, plants, prunings, twigs, and weeds can be placed in the green bags for biweekly doorstep collection alongside the black refuse bin.
In addition to doorstep recycling collections there are many more local schemes which allow you to recycle rather than just adding to waste. Many have the additional benefit of raising money for worthy causes.
See the New Leaf Repair, Reuse, Recycle Directory which has some great ways you can ensure further use is made of items and some specific schemes where you can donate.
You Can Recycle:
Aluminium foil & cooking trays
Beds & mattresses
Beauty product packaging
Car batteries & engine oil
Clothes, linens, shoes & handbags
Energy saving light bulbs
Furniture & Bric a Brac
Oral care products & packaging
Pet food pouches & bags
Plastic bags (carrier, bread & certain food bags)
Plastic bottle tops
PVC (Paddling pools, air beds & inflatables)
Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms kitchen and garden waste into a nutrient rich food for your garden.
You can buy a composter online from Hampshire County Council for £24.49 or better still build your own by reusing some old wood.
Items labeled ‘Biodegradable‘ should not be put in your composter. The term ‘Biodegradable’ means something will eventually break down into smaller pieces by a natural process but there is no time limit, so it could take anything from 6 months to 1000 years to break down and it could leave a toxic residue behind.
‘Compostable‘ materials are materials that have been certified to break down completely into non-toxic components but not all compostable materials are suitable for composting at home. Some materials require higher levels of heat, oxygen and microorganisms to fully break down and need to be composted at an industrial level. Many of these materials are new bioplastics that have appeared on the market very quickly and the processes of disintegration have not yet been fully investigated. University College London’s ‘Plastic Waste Innovation Hub’ is running a Big Compost Experiment to investigate the effectiveness of biodegradable and compostable packaging. You can sign up and get involved by conducting your own experiments and report back.
Be careful putting teabags in your composter, as most brands contain plastic which doesn’t break down.
For a guide on setting up your composter, advice on What to Compost and What Not to Compost and recommendations for ratios of brown and green materials for a healthy composter visit the spruce.
Green Fact: Composting at home for just one year can save emissions equivalent to powering your kettle for one year.
Alternatively, you can visit Share Waste to find a local site where you can donate your waste for composting or register to accept waste for your own composter.