The following provide you with lots of ideas to choose from. Remember no-one can do everything but everyone can do something!
- Shopping choices to reduce waste
- Handy tips to reduce your waste packaging
- Choices we can make to reduce waste at home
Shopping Choices to Reduce Waste
There are a few good reasons why we should start to think about our shopping habits and try and reduce our packaging:
- Time, Money & Petrol/ Diesel: If you don't buy the packaging in the first place, then you don't have to reuse, recycle or dispose of it.
- Resources: The more we waste, the more resources (such as oil, wood, aluminium) that we use up. The less we buy, the longer our resources will last for our future generations and the less environmental damage will be caused by extracting them.
- Use our Consumer Power: We all have influence as consumers and should use it. Make the most environmentally friendly choice when buying packaged products. If a product is not available in a refill for example, ask for it!
Below are some steps that you can follow to prevent and minimise your waste production:
- Write a shopping list to make sure you don't come home from the shops with far more than you need.
- Don't be caught out by the 3 for 2 special offers!
- Take your reusable shopping bags with you to the shops every trip.
- Really think about what you're buying. Do I need that?
- Buy your fresh produce loose to avoid all the bulky packaging.
- Weigh your vegetables individually and then put them all into one bag with the stickers on the outside. Buy your meat/fish/chicken from the meat counter instead of off-the-shelf.
- Increase the life of food by using your freezer.
- Avoid excess packaging on all supermarket products.
- Choose products in packaging that you know can be recycled.
- Instead of take-away night have a left-over night instead!
- For more fantastic ideas on cutting down on food waste visit Stop Food Waste.
- Buy in bulk where possible - it’s cheaper and uses less packaging.
- Buy concentrated products that use less packaging e.g. bottle of orange you can dilute rather than 12 pack of small cartons.
- When buying detergents, always buy products that supply refills.
- Buy good, durable products that last a long time, for example, kitchen pots. Always check the warranty of the product where possible.
- Use refillable and rechargeable products when possible e.g. a refillable ink pen rather than a disposable biro, rechargeable batteries and cameras.
- Buy products made from recycled materials.
- Buy a vacuum cleaner with re-washable bags. Buy toilet rolls made from recycled paper all Irish brands are recycled.
- Use your consumer power properly don’t just buy environmentally friendly products ask your local shop manager to stock them.
- Biodegradable bin liners.
- Leave packaging behind when buying electrical appliances.
Handy Tips to Reduce Your Waste Packaging
Packaging is necessary to keep food fresh and uncontaminated but it is often used to make products look more substantial and attractive. All packaging has an environmental impact due to the energy used in production, the chemicals and non-renewable resources used in manufacture and the difficulties of disposal. Careful shopping is a good way to cut down on packaging waste.
Did you know? Over one third of what we put into our bin is made up of packaging, some of which we can reuse or recycle and some which we have to send to landfill.
Choices we can make to reduce waste at home
- Try growing your own vegetables.
- Get a compost bin! One third of all waste can be composted successfully. Most Local Authorities off home composters at a subsidized rate. For further ideas on composting check out Stop Food Waste and www.wastedown.com.
- Buy garden furniture made from recycled plastic.
- Learn to share! - If you are only going to use something a few times, then borrow the product if you can, and likewise share your products with your friends.
- If you feel that you do not need something anymore, but it could be of use to someone else, then sell the product or give it away.
- For a good way of passing on unwanted items check out Jumble Town and also Free Trade Ireland
- Drink tap water; use a filter if you need to -there’ll be fewer plastic bottles in your bin.
- Compact cartons and bulky items before you put them into your bin.
- Buy roll on deodorant in glass instead of plastic and recycle it.
- Use cards made from recycled paper.
- Before you recycle your Christmas cards ask your local primary school if they are collecting them.
- Shred old newspapers for use as animal bedding.
- Read the newspaper on the web from time to time.
- Use email instead of paper where possible.
- Give your old laptop/ PC to a school or aid agency.
- If you are fed up with junk mail register with Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA) directly on 01-661 0470. They will send a Mailing Preference Form out in the post.
- Try to keep your bin from filling up.
Did you know?
- Every plastic bag we throw away stays buried in the ground for up to 500 years before it finally breaks down.
- Over 70 million plastic drinks bottles are sold in Ireland every year.