15 ways we have managed to reduce our rubbish!

Rubbish reduction is not something that we have specifically focused on, however recently I have started noticing that we only need to put our bin out every couple of weeks and we only need to put out the recycling around once a month.  Now this may not be as impressive as some rubbish reducers out there such as the bloggers at My Zero Waste and The Rubbish Diet whose sites are well worth a visit, however it is a significant reduction in our rubbish which we have achieved as a by-product of our eco-friendly lifestyle.  
We have managed to reduce our waste significantly because of the following:
  1. We use reusables instead of disposables wherever possible e.g. flannels and cloths instead of kitchen paper and wipes in the kitchen.  Wherever possible we also replace foil, baking paper, clingfilm and plastic bags with reusable boxes and bags and natural non-stick surfaces when cooking e.g. seasoned stoneware.
  2. We buy (or swap) most things secondhand e.g. toys, books, clothes and furniture for example – these things don’t come with packaging so there is nothing to throw away
  3. We make the vast majority of our meals from scratch using raw ingredients and although we still encounter packaging it is often recyclable and there is usually less of it than in pre-made, processed meals.
  4. We buy certain things in bulk e.g. rice.  This comes in a large sturdy bag and is then reused.  It saves lots of little bags being thrown away or recycled if possible.
  5. We reuse our rubbish – I keep glass jars for storing food and other things.  I reuse envelopes to make a never ending fridge magnet notepad.  My husband is growing carrots in toilet roll tubes and for Valentines day this year I made little toilet roll packages.
  6. Although we can’t put certain things in our recycling bins e.g. textiles and old shoes, we save them up and take them to places where they can be recycled – kids jeans with holes in go to our sons nursery, old textiles go in charity recycling bins and old shoes go the same way..
  7. We are virtually tee-total, so there are very few bottles being put in the recycling
  8. We drink water most of the time and have very little in the way of drinks cartons or bottles to recycle
  9. We compost waste fruit and vegetable peels and skin, as well as egg shells and teabags.
  10. Whenever we go out anywhere we take a packed lunch with us containing homemade sandwiches, fruit and chopped vegetables with no packaging.
  11. We don’t buy crisps or things in little pots e.g. yoghurts/ deserts (I make our own yoghurt) – the only snacks we buy in packaging are rice cakes, oat cakes and ryvita and I am currently trying to work out how to make my own – see my rye waffle and oat cake posts.
  12. We try to get portion sizes right so there isn’t much food waste.
  13. If we can’t sell something or give it to charity, we put it in a pile for freecycling (this is something on my to do list as we haven’t given anything away via freecycle yet!)
  14. Since I have gone sugar free I have been avoiding giving my children sweet foods as well.  Beforehand I was doing lots of baking which avoided packaging, but now we are just avoiding the sweet stuff and eating more fruit, vegetables and crackers.  Shop bought sweets, biscuits, cakes and so on come in a lot of packaging!
  15. My husband has got the vegetable garden up and running again this year and that will hopefully reduce the amount of vegetables we need to buy later on in the summer and again reduce packaging.
I think that just about covers it!  I know we could do more e.g. have a wormery so we can compost all of our food waste and work out why we still have as much waste as we do and try to reduce it further, but I’m still pretty happy we have managed to make a significant reduction in our waste.  If you have any hints or tips on how we could do better I would love to hear them in the comments below!
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