The best way to manage waste is not to produce it at all. As well as recycling, it has never been more important to think about reducing and reusing the waste you create.
What do we mean by reduce, repair and reuse?
- Reduce means taking steps to prevent and lower the amount of waste that we create.
- Repair means rather than buying something new, have the item repaired. Items that can be repaired are electrical items, bicycles and textiles.
- Reuse means using a material as many times as possible, such as reusing a plastic bottle or donating clothes to a charity shop.
How can I REDUCE my waste?
Reducing the amount of waste we produce in the first place will have a big impact on how much waste we have to send to landfill. Not only does reducing waste help the environment, often it can help you save money.
Six quick ways to reduce your waste:
Reduce single use
In 2018 Falkirk Council introduced a range of actions to reduce single use plastic in a bid to reduce the harmful impact on wildlife, marine life and the wider environment.
Actions included, but not limited to:
- Stop buying specific plastic items such as plastic drinking straws and stirrers
- Removal of plastic cups and promote use of reusable containers
- 'Polypockets' no longer purchased, with stocks re-used and digital storage encouraged
- Alternative food storage containers
Some examples of single use plastic swaps you can make around the home
In the bathroom:
- Soap bars / shampoo bars: A replacement to liquid soap which is often comes in plastic bottles.
- Reusable wipes: Washable wipes are an easy way to cut down on waste. They should never be flushed in the toilets as they damage the systems in the wastewater treatment plants. They are also a significant cause of marine litter and unless specified, they don't biodegrade.
- Bamboo toothbrush: They can be composted after use.
- Plastic free cotton buds
- Solid or homemade deodorant: Solid deodorants can be bought in zero-waste stores. Recipes for homemade deodorants can be found online.
- Reusable menstrual products: Find out which option works best for you by visiting www.trialperiod.scot.
In the kitchen:
- Shop zero-waste: The Sustainable Falkirk Map lists places where you can shop package-free, with your own container.
- Reusable beeswax wrap: These are a reusable alternative for cling film and sandwich bags. Leftovers can be kept in reusable containers to reduce waste.
- Baking soda & vinegar: While we can find countless different cleaning products in supermarkets, each labelled for one specific task, you can do pretty much all your cleaning with a few basic ingredients. This is not only healthier; it will save you money and reduce your plastic waste.
- Washable sponge
Out and about:
Investing in the following products will help you reduce single use plastics. Don't forget to have them always in your bag! You can now refill your water bottle in Callendar Park with the newly installed top up tap!
- Reusable drinks bottle
- Reusable travel mug/thermos
- Reusable bags & produce bags
- Reusable lunchbox, cutlery and straw
Repair your stuff
Repairing everything from home appliances to clothes will save you money, reduce waste and avoid wasting new resources.
You can learn to repair stuff yourself by participating in workshops organised by community groups. For instance Forth Environment Link runs wood, textile and furniture upcycling workshops. Lots of resources are also available online, including YouTube videos.
Otherwise, have a look at the Sustainable Falkirk Map to find repair shops in the area who have the skills to fix anything from phones to clothes.
Reduce food waste
Love Food Hate Waste
Did you know Scottish households can save up to £470 a year making a few small changes and reducing the food they throw away? That's nearly £40 a month.
Some food waste is unavoidable. You can recycle unavoidable food waste such as peelings, banana skins, bones, teabags and eggshells using the weekly food waste collection.
To find out how you can reduce your food waste, please visit Love Food Hate Waste.
Real nappies & reusable sanitary products
Real nappies will help to reduce the amount of waste in your green bin. Disposable nappies take up a lot of space in your bin and end up in landfill which is bad for the environment.
Using real nappies will also save you money. You can save around £500, and even more if you use real nappies for your second or third child. The total cost of using real nappies can be up to half of buying disposable nappies.
You can find out more by visiting Recycle for Scotland.
There also a number alternatives for reusable menstrual products. These include reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups or period pants. These products usually last for years, saving you money in the long run. To find out more visit www.trialperiod.scot.
Stop unwanted mail
As some direct mail is poorly targeted and goes straight in the bin, Recycling for Scotland has put together 5 easy ways to reduce unwanted mail to help you reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive.
The Mail Preference Service can also help you reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive.
Home composting your uncooked fruit, vegetable and garden waste will help to reduce the amount of waste you produce and create a nutrient rich compost for your garden.
Recycle for Scotland has put together information to help you compost at home.
How can I REUSE my waste?
Many of us already reuse items without even thinking about it, such as passing on newspapers and magazines, donating books to charity shops, reusing plastic bottles or saving glass jars to store items from around the house.
Reusing materials helps to make sure that we are making the most of our waste and save valuable natural resources.
For more information on how you can reuse your waste, please visit Zero Waste Scotland.
National Reuse Helpline
Before you put it out, can we pick it up?
Furniture and household goods can be reused by local community organisations. This helps local people in need and benefits the environment. We will come and collect your unwanted items and pass them on to someone else who needs them.
For more information or to donate unwanted items, please visit the National re-use line.
Alternatively consider using local social media groups or websites such as Gumtree or Sphock to sell or donate your unwanted items.
Borrow, hire or buy used
Many times, we buy products that we barely use, wasting a lot of resources, while we could borrow from neighbours for instance.
Buying second-hand is another great way to extend the lifetime of products. It benefits the environment while raising money for a good cause. You can find lots of charity shops and second hand stores on the Sustainable Falkirk Map ("Reuse" icons).
Give items a new life
Instead of throwing items away, make sure you give them a new life where possible. You can donate your unwanted items in charity shops or on Freecycle, or sell them on eBay or Gumtree for example.
If your clothes are too worn to wear, they can still be recycled via the kerbside textile collection or at clothing banks at recycling points.