Did you know the UK generates more than 220 million tonnes of waste a year? Of that waste, around 44% is recycled, but a large proportion goes to landfill. Read on to discover how embracing the circular economy could reduce waste.
Not only is a huge amount of waste going to landfills, but the production of items could be costing precious resources too.
The circular economy aims to provide a solution for industry and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. The aim is to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and reintroduce resources into the production cycle instead of throwing them away.
It’s something households can embrace too. Changing your purchasing habits and how you handle waste could have a positive effect on the environment.
If you want to make your lifestyle more sustainable, here are seven useful tips.
1. Reduce the amount of single-use plastic you buy
Plastic pollution can cause serious harm to habitats and ecosystems. In fact, it’s estimated that every year, between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean alone.
It can be difficult to reduce how much plastic ends up in your bin as it’s used as packaging by so many companies. However, cutting back where you can could be effective.
Next time you’re grocery shopping, you could pick up products that aren’t covered in single-use plastic. Picking up loose fruit and vegetables, rather than pre-packaged options, may be an easy switch.
Many products like hand soap and shower gel are now available with refillable packaging, so while plastic may still be used, it could be significantly less over time.
2. Manage your waste to improve recycling
Recycling at home has become common and simple. Often, much of your household waste can be recycled.
It’s worth checking what your local authority recycles – there may be materials you’ve mistakenly been putting in the bin – as well as looking at the packaging of items.
You might also have collection points nearby to recycle other materials. For example, some supermarkets will collect and recycle soft plastic, which you may not be able to put in your household recycling bin.
3. Consider composting at home
If you have a garden, composting could be an excellent way to reduce household waste. All you need is a compost bin to get started.
You can add some household waste to a compost bin, such as food waste or carboarded packaging. It’s a simple way to reduce how much you’re throwing away and your garden plants could benefit as a result.
4. Learn to repair items rather than throw them away
From clothes that have torn to broken electric goods, before you throw them in the bin, ask “Could I or someone else repair this?”
With so much advice online, it’s easier to learn to mend and repair than ever before if you want to do it yourself. Or there are plenty of professionals who could give your products a new lease of life too.
If you don’t want to repair items yourself, you may want to check if others could. There could be someone in your local area who’s keen to upcycle your broken dressing table or with the know-how to get gadgets working.
5. Invest in items that will last longer
Choosing quality items that are designed to last for years could reduce your waste and save you money.
For example, the next time you’re buying a new appliance, checking things like how easy it is to repair and if spare parts are available could be useful. It may mean your purchases last far longer.
6. Donate unwanted clothing to charity
It’s estimated that just 20% of textiles are collected for reuse or recycling globally. Given how large the fashion industry is, that’s a huge amount of fabric making its way to landfill.
Next time you’re clearing out your wardrobe, setting aside items to take to the charity shop could reduce your environmental impact. Even items that are well-worn or textiles like bedding could be recycled.
7. Reduce your purchases
Recycling is a good habit to get into, but cutting back your purchases could be even better for the environment. Next time you’re about to put your hand in your pocket, ask if it’s something you really need or would benefit from.