Although we are doing well in the recycling stakes at home and at work, we need to make greater efforts to prevent waste arising in the first place, according to the Department of the Environment’s campaign ‘Race Against Waste’.
Under the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ slogan, the campaign aims to encourage us to keep up the good work recycling but to also cut down on the waste we produce.
The move comes after a survey from the school of natural sciences at Trinity suggested that reducing the amount of rubbish generated was not recognised as a priority for addressing the waste challenge by Irish householders.
Although Ireland has come a long way in a very short time, with household recycling rates at 59% – which is 14% ahead of EU targets – Elizabeth Arnett of Race Against Waste says we now need to take this success one step further and help to eliminate much of the unnecessary waste we create in our daily lives.
From producers reducing the packaging around products to businesses reducing junk mail, faxes and printing material when not needed and householders making a decision to buy products that do not have excessive packaging, there are simple steps each of us can take to reduce waste, as opposed to reusing or recycling.
For more information on how you can join the Race Against Waste lo-call 1890 667 639, visit www.raceagainstwaste.ie and check out their tips below.
- Avoid buying heavily-packaged goods.
- Try to buy loose fruit and vegetables instead of pre-packed.
- Buy concentrated products that use less packaging.
- Buy products such as washing powder in large containers to reduce packaging.
- Take your reusable shopping bags with you to the shops every trip.
- Try to get off mailing lists for junk mail, faxes and emails.
- Use reusable products wherever possible eg. use a nappy laundry service and save disposable nappies for holidays or long journeys.
- Use refillable and rechargeable products when possible eg. a refillable ink pen rather than a disposable biro, rechargeable batteries and cameras.
- Buy products made from recycled materials.
- Choose products in packaging that you know can be recycled
- Buy products made from recycled materials
- Use and refill your own durable drinks bottle
- Try to keep your bin from filling up.
- Try growing your own vegetables
- Get a compost bin
- Give unwanted clothes, furniture, bric-a-brac or books to family, friends and charity shops or have a car boot sale. Don’t forget to buy from charity or second-hand shops too and pick up lots of authentic bargains.
- Refurbish your sofa to create a fresh new look instead of buying a new one.
- Mend clothes and get shoes re-heeled so they last longer.
- Buy products with refillable solutions eg. washing powder, detergents, salt and pepper mills.
- Look for long lasting (and energy efficient) appliances when buying new electrical items – keep them well-maintained to increase their life cycle and repair them when necessary.
- Reuse scrap paper for writing notes.
- Use washable dishcloths instead of disposable wipes.
- Take your packed lunch in a sandwich box instead of wrapping it in kitchen foil or cling film.
- Avoid buying disposable products eg. razors, plastic plates or cutlery.
- Reuse empty jam jars and old ice cream tubs for storage or keeping leftovers.
- Take your reusable shopping bags on all shopping trips.
- Use rechargeable items instead of disposable ones eg. batteries and cameras.
- Reuse envelopes by sticking a label over the old address.
- Pass on old magazines to others