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Saving energy at home

Guide to reducing household waste

Could reducing household waste save you money?

From food waste to replacing household goods, making simple changes could help you to save money by spending less. 

Household waste is difficult to avoid completely, but it’s easier to reduce it when the problems are more visible. Start small and think about the waste generated from each area of your house to help get you started.

In the kitchen

Bedrooms

Your garden and shed

Disposing of household waste

Reducing waste in your home, one room at a time

The Kitchen

Repairing white goods

We have the right to repair household goods, such as fridges and washing machines.  Great news if you feel the things you buy don’t last long enough. Legislation means manufacturers need to make spare parts available, which will help to extend the lifespan of their products. 

This means disposing of items less often and possibly saving an average of £75 per year on bills, according to the BBC, as products will need to meet higher energy efficiency standards. 

If a product breaks down, contact the manufacturer about your repair options, then get a qualified technician to do the work.  Right to repair also covers other household items such as TVs.

Food waste

Food waste is another opportunity we have to reduce our impact on the environment and probably save money too. According to lovefoodhatewaste.com we throw away food worth the equivalent of £230 per person, or around £800 for a family, each year.

One way to reduce that waste of food and money is to only buy what you need.  Try writing your shopping list down and sticking to it - setting a budget can help too.  Even if there’s a tempting multi-buy offer. It’s better for the environment too, as the process of producing, packaging and transporting food uses energy and leaves a carbon footprint

Once you've reduced your food waste you could use some of what's left to make compost.

Bedrooms

Our clothing can be the main culprit here.  In a similar way to food promotions, we can be tempted into buying clothes we don’t really need.

If you can afford it, you could save money if you buy more expensive clothes that are made to last.  ‘Fast fashion’, as it’s often known, refers to clothes that are cheaper, tend to follow the latest fashion trends and are sometimes not made to last as long.  So, what can feel like a bargain ends up needing replaced sooner and creates household waste when you no longer wear it. 

Consider if older clothing is in good enough condition to donate to a charity shop.  If not, check if your local household waste recycling centre accepts clothes.

More tips for reducing and recycling

While it’s easy to point to our homes or travelling as potentially the largest contributors to our carbon footprints, our smaller everyday choices could also have an impact.

Your garden and shed

Make more of your garden

Growing plants is a rewarding hobby and a way of taking a small step towards tackling climate change.

If you’re a homeowner, a nice garden could even add value to your home.  Plants are simple way to spruce up your garden, but they often come in plastic pots.  It's worth asking the retailer if you can return the empty pots.  If not, check the base of your pot and see if your local council can accept it as part of your household waste recycling. 

If you want more of the plants you already have, you could save money and reduce your use of plastic by taking cuttings and planting them instead of buying more plants.

Garden shed clear-out?

Sheds can contain hazardous waste, which is the most difficult type of household waste to deal with.

Partially empty tins of paint can be a problem. Some recycling centres will accept them but will ask that you fill the tin with sawdust or sand to reduce the risk of spillages. If you often end up with lots of leftover paint, it’s a waste of money as well as paint. It might be better to buy a smaller tin.  These tend to be more expensive per litre, but you’re likely to have less waste. 

Before you buy any gardening or DIY products, take a look at non-hazardous or organic options.

 

Disposing of household waste

Taking waste to the tip is a useful option if you have a lot of material to deal with.

Perhaps you’re having a clear out but don’t have enough waste to hire a skip. Before you fill your vehicle and set off for the tip, it’s best to check what they’ll accept.  Otherwise, some of your household waste could be making the journey back again. 

If you don’t have the means of doing it yourself, there are companies that will collect household waste.  Just check they have a license to do so.

Think before you shop

Setting yourself a budget for your weekly shop is a great way to start cutting back on what you can live without. Helping to spend less on the things you don't need before it ends up in the bin.