Whilst everybody needs to dispose of some household waste each week you should try to apply what’s become known as the ‘3Rs’ to managing your waste effectively – reuse, reduce and recycle. Implementing this will limit both the environmental and economic impact of household waste.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling Waste
A lot of the household waste we generate each week comes from paper and paper related packaging. To reduce some of the waste caused by this, we have a number of options. We can register with the Mailing Preference Service to reduce the pile of junk mail we receive. We can use reusable bags, boxes and crates whenever we go shopping and, whilst we are shopping, we can learn to buy items with less packaging. Fresh vegetables are a great example of things we can buy with little or no packaging. Glass bottles and jars can often be recycled and reused but it’s important to mark the contents on them if they’ve been reused for something else. Unwanted clothes or clothing we’ve grown out of can be taken to charity shops and there are also charities who can make use of old electrical appliances we no longer use. Composting is a good method of not only reusing garden and kitchen waste but can make your soil healthier too.
Using Council-Led and Other Charity-Driven Initiatives
Depending on where you live, it’s highly likely that your council will have some kind of recycling scheme going already where, in addition to your normal household rubbish collection, you might have other separate bins for things like newspapers and grass cuttings which get collected regularly. It’s important to support such initiatives and to use them. After all, you’re paying for them out of your council tax. Similarly, charities will often post bags through your letterbox in which you can get rid of all the clothes you no longer use and help to clothe those less fortunate at the same time. Some charities even want your old, disused toys and other items of bric-a-brac so it’s a useful way to have a good old clear out and to help others at the same time.
What About Other Forms of Household Waste?
There are, however, certain forms of household waste which can’t be reused, recycled or thrown away with our typical household rubbish. For example, we may employ the services of a builder, landscape gardener/tree surgeon, scrap metal merchant etc. who also have the responsibility of taking the waste away and disposing of it correctly. However, you should never take them at their word if they’re responsible for the disposal as it’s YOU who could be fined if they ‘fly-tip’ any items from your property which are traced back to your address. Therefore, if you employ the services of one of these kind of contractors, ask them if they’re a registered waste carrier and for their waste carrier number. There’s even a dedicated phone line which you can call to confirm whether they are a registered waste carrier or not and, if they’re not, you should refuse their services and, if questioned by them, refer them on to the Environment Agency. Remember, it could cost you a fine if they decide to dispose of your waste in any old place.
Ultimately, it is down to us, as individuals, to make a difference when it comes to dealing with household waste safely and efficiently. We need to educate ourselves so that we choose to buy fewer items which have been over-extensively packaged. We can recycle, reduce and reuse and can get involved with local authority debates and join pressure groups if we want to make a difference and help the planet at the same time.