Reduce, reuse and recycle
How to reduce your waste
Calderdale produces approximately 78,000 tonnes of waste every year – which would roughly fill the Piece Hall courtyard from bottom to top. Most of our household rubbish is disposed of in landfill sites but we are running out of space.
Here are some suggestions for how you can help:
Reducing what we buy in the first place is the most effective way of reducing waste. If we don’t buy it in the first place it cannot, in the long term, become waste. Up to a quarter of the rubbish we throw away is packaging. Millions of carrier bags were given out to shoppers in Calderdale last year. Most are used once and then thrown away adding to the huge pile of rubbish going into landfill sites.
What we should be doing is Smart Shopping!
You could think about the following before buying a product:
- Do we really need the product?
- Do we need the additional packaging that is being offered?
- Are we being given something we just don’t want?
- Is there an alternative which does not create waste?
- Should we pay a little more now for something that will last much longer?
You can also consider the following when out shopping:
- Choosing products with less packaging.
- Buying loose vegetables and fruit where possible.
- Supporting the bag for life schemes.
- Re-using carrier bags.
- Putting everything into one bag rather than taking a different one from each shop.
- Choose refills where available.
- Use cloth nappies (contact the Change Project Nappy Laundry service on 01422 847080).
If you follow these shop smart ideas you will put pressure on retailers to stock fewer items with unnecessary packaging. More packaging means more rubbish and higher prices.
If you do your bit and smart shop you will reduce the amount of rubbish we have to get rid of and you could save yourself money.
Waste reduction and recycling have a wide range of environmental benefits. They reduce demand for raw materials preserving natural resources and habitats. They also reduce both energy use and pollution, result in less waste going into valuable landfill space, and promote public awareness and personal responsibility for the waste we create.
However, recycling has not actually taken place until we buy products made from recycled materials. For recycling to be economically viable and recycling schemes to be successful, there must be a market into which collectors of waste can sell their materials. Buying recycled creates a demand for the collected material, aiding the development of the materials reprocessing infrastructure and therefore increasing opportunities for recycling.
As well as helping the environment, buying recycled also helps to generate investment in new industries and creates new jobs.
The process of buying recycled is called "closing the loop" as a product cannot be described as recycled until it has been incorporated into a new product, thus coming full circle. This process ensures that the supply of waste materials balances demand, and stimulates the market in recycled products.
How can you help?
- Choose recycled products such as tissues, toilet rolls, kitchen towels, writing paper, pens, rulers and plant pots.
- Look out for the recycling symbol and the Buy Recycled logo.
- Buy it, Recycle it, Buy Recycled and close the loop.
If each house in Calderdale receives just one item of junk mail a week – this equates to 4.5 million unwanted letters across the district each year. If you want to cut the amount of junk mail you receive contact the Mailing Preference Service for an application form on:
- Mail Preference Service|
- 020 7291 3310
- The Mailing Preference Service, Freepost 22, London , W1E 7E2.
If you receive unwanted faxes you can get your name removed from mailing lists by contacting the Fax Preference Service:
- Facsimile Preference Service|
- 020 7291 3320.
To put a stop to non-addressed, hand delivered mail like magazines and flyers that are delivered direct by your postal worker, write to:
- Door to Door Help Line, Royal Mail, Beaumont House, Sandy Lane West, Oxford, OX4 6ZZ.
State in the letter that you no longer wish to receive non-addressed, hand-delivered mail. Make sure you include your full address and postcode.
Other ways you can help to reduce waste in Calderdale include:
- Use recycled paper for printing and photocopying, and use both sides of the paper. Paper used on one side only can also be reused on the other side for telephone messages, reminder notes, shopping lists, kids’ scribbles and so on.
- Send e-cards rather than paper cards at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. There are plenty of websites around that provide lots of different designs.
- Use a cloth hankie: it takes 6,000,000 trees to make one year's worth of tissues for the world.
- Look after your car’s tyres by maintaining the correct air pressure. This can almost double their lifespan.
- Avoid using disposable items such as plastic cups and paper plates whenever possible. Keep a mug, bowl and cutlery at work instead.
- Avoid using disposable nappies. A wide range of modern, easy-to-use reusable nappies is now readily available.
- Drink tap or filtered water rather than bottled water, which generates a lot of waste plastic.
Love Food, Hate Waste
In the UK we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink a year. For recipes, tips and tools to help you reduce food waste from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign go to Love Food Hate Waste|.
Benefits of reuse
Just because something is not useful to you anymore does not mean that it has no use. Many of the items we throw away every day can be useful and may have a value to people who are not so well off, both in this country and abroad. We need to think carefully about how we dispose of some of these items, for example:
- I.T. equipment can be reused either locally or even abroad.
- Furniture and household equipment can be refurbished, usually through local authorities or community recycling groups.
- Unused paint can be put to good use thus reducing damage to the environment caused by dumping in landfill.
- What really seems like rubbish can be used for other purposes, such as plastic drinks bottles as garden cloches for seedlings or how about using that plastic carrier bag as a bin liner at home.
Furniture represents one of the most difficult items to dispose of. It is heavy, bulky and often there is a large quantity of it especially in house clearances. As a result it is often thrown away. This is a problem for the council too as they often have to use specific vehicles to collect it, not their usual dustbin wagons.
You can donate many items of old furniture to the following:
- British Heart Foundation, Halifax Retail Park, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 5DF, Telephone: 01422 344740.
- CHAS Bradford|, Telephone 01274 731909
- Pass it on, Telephone 01484 537519.
Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Many everyday consumer items now contain electronic parts. Every year an estimated one million tonnes of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) are discarded by householders and commercial groups in the UK. Dealing with this waste is an important issue as rapid technological changes mean that our electronic appliances tend to go out of date more quickly. Getting the latest model makes many items that are still in working order redundant.
The complex array of product types and materials make waste electrical and electronic equipment difficult to manage.
The main component of waste electronic and electrical equipment is large household appliances known as white goods, which make up 43% of the total. The next largest component is I.T. equipment which accounts for 39%. Much of this is made up of computers, which rapidly become obsolete. Televisions also represent a large proportion, with an estimated 2 million TV sets being discarded each year.
Reusing and recycling is one way to reduce the environmental impact that these products have.
Where can I recycle my electrical equipment?
In Calderdale, the best way to deal with old electrical goods is to consider:
- Reuse: pass them on to someone else who could use them if they are still in good working order.
- Some charity shops, as they accept electrical equipment but please check with them first before taking your goods to them.
- Refurbishment: hand them on to a company who can refurbish them.
- Recycling: Rather than put them in the bin, take them to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre where they can be added to other scrap for recycling. If you have bulky items to recycle contact the Council to arrange collection.
DOT-COMmunications collect unwanted IT equipment for repair, refurbishment and redistribution to local not-for-profit organisations as part of the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher scheme. Older, damaged or below minimum specification hardware is recycled in-house to above WEEE specifications. (All data is securely wiped to above MoD standard and any materials, which cannot be reused, are properly recycled). To find out more visit DOT-COMmunications|
- It is estimated that around 25% of domestic paint purchased goes unused.
- The disposal of paint is extremely difficult as paint and its containers have several environmental impacts.
- Paint which is over 20 years old may contain hazardous substances that would now be treated as 'special waste'.
- Paint can't be put into landfill, incinerators or drains due to the high chemical content that will cause pollution.
- Paint is better 'disposed' of by re-using it. This can either be in your own home, sharing it with a neighbour, or the containers with remaining paint can be reused by a community repaint scheme.
How can I reuse my paint?
Community re-paint is a network of paint reuse schemes across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The purpose of the scheme is to collect left over re-usable paint from householders, and re-distribute it to those who need paint but cannot afford it.
The following list is a guideline of what criteria are in place for this scheme:
- Paint tins must be at least one third full.
- Paint must be less than 10 years old.
- Paint must be in its original container and be suitable for domestic use.
For more information visit Community RePaint|.
Other ways to reuse old stuff include:
- Reuse plastic carrier bags and remember to take them with you when you go shopping, or try re-usable cloth bags instead.
- Reuse envelopes by crossing out the old address.
- If you have things that you no longer want but which are still useable (for example children's toys or clothes), try to find someone else who needs them, or take them to a charity shop.
- Save the front half of old greeting cards to reuse as postcards or gift tags.
- Instead of always buying new, repair items that are worn or slightly damaged where possible.
- Try joining a Freecycle| group.
For more suggestions and information about recycling visit Recycle Now|.