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Waste and Recycling

Waste reduction

Waste Reduction

 While many people know recycling is important, they forget that recycling still has an environmental impact even though it’s better than using raw materials.

That’s why we all need to get better at not creating waste in the first place. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious target to reduce household waste across our district by 10% by 2026. To do this we need every household to create 46.8kg less waste every year.

On this page you will find advice to help you cut your waste.

The rubbish you do create goes to an Energy from Waste Plant to be burnt to generate electricity. Find out what happens to your rubbish.

The 30-day waste reduction challenge

Disposing of the rubbish we create costs millions of pounds every year. It is also a huge waste of water, energy and raw materials.

So, if we are going to save the planet and live more sustainably, we need to focus more on reducing, reusing and repairing and only recycle when other options are either unavailable or impractical.

To help you do this we have created our 30-day waste reduction challenge.

It is full of hints and tips to help you get started on your waste reduction journey. You can also sign up for our waste and recycling e-newsletter for regular advice.

Once you see how much you can cut your waste in just 30 days with some simple changes, we’re confident you will be inspired to continue those habits and go even further.

Download our 30-day waste reduction challenge guide. You can also pdf download a blank waste audit sheet (584 KB) print off at home to help you with your challenge (you use this to keep track of what you throw away).

8 simple ways to reduce your waste

1. Buy less

The easiest way to reduce your waste is to just buy less. Spend money on the things you really need. Even if you really need it, ask yourself do I need to own it or is there an alternative available?

2. Cut out food waste

You will save money and help the planet. Find out more about reducing your food waste

3. Refuse disposables

If it can only be used once then look for a longer-lasting, reusable alternative.

4. Get composting

If you haven’t got a compost bin yet, then they are available at a discounted rate from

5. Check out the second-hand market first

Charity shops or furniture reuse shops are great places to hunt for bargains as are online auction sites and marketplaces.

6. Repair before you replace

A quick internet search will provide you with information on a range of simple DIY fixes for basic household items or take them to your local Repair Café and see if they can help.

7. Make simple swaps

Replace aluminium foil with a reusable product, use reusable sandwich wraps instead of plastic bags, take a reusable bag with you to the supermarket to put your loose fruit and veg in, use a reusable container when buying meat from the butcher or deli counter, use bar soap instead of liquid soap, buy refillable cleaning products… the list is endless. Find out more about making simple swaps

8. Sell or donate

When having a clear out don’t just go straight to the bin. Sell good quality items online first, offer to friends and family or take them to your nearest charity shop.

Simple swaps you can make to reduce your waste

Cutting your waste doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Just making simple swaps can make a big difference.

Here is our guide to common household items and a suggested zero or low waste swap.
These are just some ideas, there are loads of others. Search online for inspiration.

  • Swap aluminium foil for a silicone baking mat or beeswax wrap
  • Swap body wash/shampoo bottles for bar soap and bar shampoo
  • Bags (paper or plastic) - Get yourself a reusable bag for life or a canvas bag
  • Swap clingfilm for a beeswax wrap
  • Avoid disposable plates and cutlery and swap for standard plates and cutlery that can be washed. A paper plate takes eight gallons of water to make
  • Using a reusable drinks cup is a simple swap instead of single-use plastic juice bottles. If you like fizzy drinks, then it’s more difficult. Try and buy one large bottle of fizzy pop and use it to refill a reusable drinks cup
  • Produce bags - Such as those used in supermarkets for loose fruit and veg. Take your own reusable cloth bag or put your produce in loose
  • Swap make up wipes for reusable cotton pads or a flannel.
  • Sanitary products - There are a variety of alternatives including menstrual cups or specially designed and washable underwear
  • Go for reusable nappies instead of disposable ones. Worcestershire Nappy Library can help by lending you reusable nappies to trial so you can find the right one for you. Visit for more information.
  • Swap paper napkins for reusable cloth napkins
  • Swap disposable razors for a safety or electric razor
  • Swap paper towels for a reusable cloth
  • Replace plastic sandwich bags with Tupperware, a tiffin tin or beeswax wraps
  • Straws - Just refuse them
  • Switch to loose leaf tea and turn it into compost. Tea bags can also compost but as some brands contain plastic, they will leave a skeletal mesh in your compost when they break down which you will need to sieve out
  • Toilet paper - Look for recycled content or tree free options. The wrapper can be recycled in the plastic bag recycling point at your local supermarket
  • Tumble dryer sheet - You don’t need them to dry your laundry, so don’t use them
  • Swap the plastic water filter for a charcoal stick. Search online for tips on how to use them. Recycling schemes are also available.

Use your local zero waste shop

Zero waste shops sell all sorts of products that can help you reduce the number of single-use items you use in your everyday life.

Find your local zero waste shop (opens in new window).

Reuse items

If you can’t avoid creating waste in the first place then finding ways to reuse items more than once is the next best thing.

Visit the Lets Waste Less and Recycle website

Get items repaired

Before you throw away that broken chair or lamp see if it can be repaired.

Worcestershire has seven repair cafes where you can take all kinds of household and personal items to be repaired free of charge. Donations are requested to help keep the service running for everyone.

Find your local repair café

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