Reduce and Re-use? Why?

What does this mean?

Reducing our reliance on landfill is a key part in the battle to protect the environment. Rotting waste beneath the soil produces harmful gases. Allerdale Borough Council and its residents have made huge inroads into reducing the waste that they produce by recycling as much of that waste as possible.

Cutting down on the waste we produce, as well as recycling and composting as much as possible, is far better for the environment.

In 2004/2005 Cumbria produced more household waste than any other part of the UK so it was not only important that we focused on recycling but that we try and prevent generating waste in the first place. With landfill tax set to increase year on year, it will become an even more expensive way of disposing of our waste.

Supermarkets only sell what consumers want, so if we tell them we want less packaging on our goods by choosing alternatives without excessive packaging, then they will sell more products this way.

Why reduce and re-use?

Re-use is to give items a second or third life by using it as something else that is useful.  An example could be a margarine tub being used to plant seeds in or store children's crayons. 

Reducing and Re-using saves energy, helps cut down on pollution, (including greenhouse gas emissions), conserves natural resources, reduces the need for landfill and may save you money.

Here's how to reduce

  • The easiest way is to use you own basket or a 'bag for life' carrier bag when you go shopping. If each household takes 5 carrier bags home a week (and most take far more than this) then they will throw away 260 a year.  If you do take a carrier bag please re-use it as a bin liner or the next time you go shopping.  There are still a lot of carrier bags being used as a single use item.
  • Try and buy products with less packaging such as loose fruit and vegetables.
  • Buy in bulk where possible, it reduces packaging
  • Buy concentrated products and refills, like detergents and doorstop milk deliveries
  • Try to repair broken items rather than buy new ones or give them away to someone who could use it.
  • Buy durable items instead of disposable ones
  • To reduce your junk mail register with The Mailing Preference Service,  FREEPOST 22, London W1E 7EZ email

Here's how to re-use

  • Re-use carrier bags as bin liners
  • Scrap paper can be used on both sides for children or perhaps lists
  • Try to re-use containers for storage, like margarine tubs for children's pencils. aerosol lids as paperclip holders, corks instead of crocks in your pots  
  • Buy reusable products instead of disposable ones, rechargeable batteries or plastic picnic tableware instead of paper ones
  • Send unwanted clothes and textiles to charity shops/clothes banks
  • Unwanted furniture can be donated to charities such as Age Concern, or Impact Housing.

Think before you bin!

You may have no use for it, it's old, too small, broken or just do not like it. Someone may need it and be able to make use of it!
Use your local charity shop and voluntary organisations. They take a wide variety of items from shoes to furniture and mobile phones, or even use the internet to sell items that you no longer want but that are in good condition.

Education and changing attitudes

In our throwaway society it is all too easy to simply just bin it. But the days of throwing unlimited amounts of waste out has gone and we must think about how much rubbish we are throwing out.  We cannot eliminate the production of waste totally but by making small changes everyone can make a significant contribution to waste minimisation.

Real Nappies

For those environmentally conscious parents who want an alternative to the disposable nappy, there is an alternative to disposable nappies in the form of real nappies.  Things have come a long way since the old terry nappy days and safety pins.  Real nappies now come in a variety of styles from cotton to fleece and organic hemp fabrics, fastened by either velcro or poppers. 

There are approx 5,000 babies born in Cumbria each year, therefore an estimated 12,500 babies at one time wearing nappies.  Each baby produces 0.5 tonne of nappy waste per year.  Using real nappies can save parents money while significantly reducing the amount of this type of waste going into our landfill sites.  There are a number of real nappy retailers locally as well as a real nappy laundry service. For more information on the Real Nappy Voucher Scheme, please see the Resource Cumbria website.

For more information on recycling facilities near you please see our Recycling - Recycling centres page.

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Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ