Landfill sites represent a blight on human history, with waste festering in piles buried underground. This is a temporary solution to our waste problem which can no longer be allowed to go on.
But with more and more waste being produced each day, what can we do to stem the tide of waste entering landfill sites? For the sake of the environment, let’s take a look at ways in which you can reduce household waste from ending up at a landfill site.
Common household waste
Plenty of the things you have in your household waste can be recycled. Rather than throwing them into your normal bin, invest in a divided bin.
The following materials can all be recycled with ease, either through council services, skip hire or local bins in your community:
- Garden waste
- WEEE items
You’ll need to check that items like plastic are recyclable by looking for the universal recycling symbol, which is three arrows creating a triangle. This can usually be found on the bottom or side of an item.
WEEE items can often be recycled at specific locations, but if the item is in good working order, you might consider selling it online or giving it away for free online using sites such as freecycle.org.
Visit your local tip
When it comes to those items you can’t put in your council bin collection, it might be worth visiting your local tip to dispose of waste. This is great for larger garden waste and any waste from DIY projects such as rubble and wood.
If you’ve got metal you need to dispose of, try your local scrap metal merchants; you might find that you get a little bit of cash for your old car parts and any other bulky metal items. Should you need help knowing where to put your waste, most tips have staff you can ask first.
Donate old clothes
Most people simply throw out their old clothes in the bin, but this can be avoided if you collect up enough clothes to take to your local charity shop. If your clothes are in good condition the charity might make some money.
If you know your clothes are beyond use, you can always simply donate them as raw materials at a local clothing bank. Local collections also happen door-to-door with free bags provided.
Be smarter with your food
In the UK, we waste so much food that in 2015 we threw away 4.4 million tonnes of it, costing billions of pounds. These items are more likely to be biodegradable, but get added into a cycle of waste which needs to be broken.
By cooking only what you need, you avoid throwing large amounts of food away. If you cook something and don’t finish it, it’s a good idea to pot up your leftovers as they can often make extra portions to save for another day. You might find you need to change your shopping habits in order to avoid fresh fruit and vegetables deteriorating before you get a chance to use them. If you have anything you think might be close to an expiry date, try to use it up and avoid the wastage.
Protecting virgin materials
There is an added bonus to all your recycling, as it means fewer virgin materials will be used up in the production of clothes and household goods. This is due to a lack of demand for raw materials if we recycle what we already have instead of sending it to landfill sites.
Another positive effect of this type of thinking is that less energy is spent in cultivating those raw materials – so it’s a double win for the environment!