Wealden District Council

Waste Reduction - the Three R's

The Government has laid out a target of making the UK a Zero Waste Nation, and a strategy is being formulated to educate and inspire us all to do our bit. The heart of the Government's  campaign is to encourage us to apply the "Three Rs":

  • Reduce,
  • Re-Use, and
  • Recycle!

We should all therefore remember to:

Reduce

Think of ways of actually lessening the amount of 'stuff' that you consume, for example:

Nappy Trail Pack
  • Real Nappies - try using real nappies, and cut down on disposable nappies. We also have a Wealden Real Nappy Trial Kit for residents who wish to try washable nappies for themselves.
  • Grocery Shopping - did you know that approximately 1 in 3 bags of shopping ends up in the bin, due to over-buying and throwing away safe food due to misunderstanding the "best before" / "display until" / "do not consume after" dates. Check out the Love Food Hate Waste campaign (external link) for tips and useful ideas about how to reduce this area of waste.
  • Packaging - many producers are now offering their products in a style that uses less packing material. You could support this approach by buying product refills, or concentrated liquids in smaller bottles. Find out more about what retailers are doing as part of the Courtauld Commitment (external link). Additionally, buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packed goods.

Re-use

Many people throw away items that have a lot of life left in them, often because it's easier to put them in a bin. However there are a number of other options that would divert significant amounts of valuable items from going to landfill or incineration:

  • Recharge it - can you change from using a disposable item to a reusable type, for example anything that uses rechargeable batteries, change from carrier bags to hessian or jute bags for shopping.
  • The Internet - there are numerous networks that have been set up to advertise any goods you may have that are surplus to your requirements but someone else may need and be able to use. Some examples are I love Freegle (external link) and Freecycle (external link) and where items are advertised as 'free to collector', auction sites such as Ebay (external link) for items which may have a financial value and you may be surprised.
  • Charity shops - Most charity shops are very grateful for your 'left-overs' as they can help worthwhile charities whilst ensuring that resources are not wasted. Some examples would include; Help The Aged (external link), Salvation Army (external link) and Oxfam (external link). Some will even collect goods from your house!
  • Classified newspaper adverts - your local paper is a great place to advertise your redundant belongings, and there's always FRIDAY-AD (external link), where you can even place your advert online.
  • Jumble sales/car boot fairs - Try taking your surplus to jumble sales or car boot sales, a great way of disposing of unwanted articles and also a very social activity. 

Recycle

The Oxford English Dictionary defines this word as "convert (waste) into reusable material". The idea is to take obsolete items and break them into their constituent materials and then use the resulting material to make a new item. This is instead of extracting more raw material from the environment, i.e. using a finite resource and using energy in the extraction process.

To this end, Wealden District Council offers a kerbside collection service for recyclable materials, including paper, cardboard, plastics and many others. Once we have collected these either from the kerbside or from our Neighbourhood Recycling Points they are taken to our Material Reclamation Facility (MRF) - Uckfield. They are stored and bulked up here for onward transport to Ideal in Kent. The materials are then sorted, baled and then sold on to mainly UK reprocessors.  

You can recycle by doing the following:

  • Organise your home's recyclable materials into different containers, using carrier bags, boxes, old bins, crates, etc.
  • Put the containers out for recycling if you are on a kerbside collection service, on your collection day.
  • Home Composting - as well as your garden waste you can compost your cooked food waste as well, therefore diverting over a quarter of waste (from an average household) from your landfill bin, and making your own compost to grow plants in your garden .
  • Next time you are driving past one of our Neighbourhood Recycling Points or your local Household Waste Recycling Sites (external link), take the appropriate materials with you to drop off at the suitable bin on your way through.