Help us to cut down on landfill waste

cobs of sweetcorn stripped of their leaves and presented in cellophane packaging

Recycling plays an important part in helping to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill, but it's even more important to reduce the amount we consume in the first place and reuse items wherever possible.

Here are some things you can do to help.

Reduce

Smarter shopping = less packaging

Items which are packaged, pre-washed or presented in a 'mini-kit' will cost you and the environment more. The cost will be higher and the energy and natural resources required to produce the packaging will be much more compared with the 'naked' varieties.

The packaging industry has targets set by the government to reduce the amount of material used to wrap and protect the things we buy. Less packaging means less raw materials used and also less energy. Due to this pressure, gradually the amount of packaging used will decrease, but shoppers also have the choice to make an immediate change in buying the same items without packaging, where available.

Don't forget 'nature's packaging' - for example a coconut can happily travel thousands of miles across salty oceans and still be able to germinate, so it can certainly survive without shrink-wrap!

Concentrate on concentrates! Many liquids come in concentrated form. This is a great way to reduce the packaging and energy required. Each concentrated bottle which contains 1 litre instead of 2 litres will reduce the packaging, energy and transportation costs by half. This is especially beneficial as the water used to dilute the product is much less costly, and renewable!

Junk mail

The Mailing Preference Service can stop junk mail being delivered to your house. For more information visit their website or call 0845 703 4599 to register your address with them.

Large kitchen knife chopping spring onionsFood waste

For help and tips to assist you in reducing the amount of food you waste, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Reuse

Take an old bag shopping

A bag for life or reused carrier bag can replace hundreds of single use carrier bags, so don't forget to take an old bag shopping!

Nappy mountain

An average baby in Cheltenham, using 50 disposable nappies a week over 2 and a half years, creates a 1 tonne mountain of waste, all of which goes into the Wingmoor Landfill near Bishop's Cleeve. 

Reusable nappies or 'Real Nappies' can significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and can also save up to £600 for the first born (this includes the cost of laundry and detergent). The nappies can then be reused on subsequent children with further savings to the parents and to the environment.

Composting

Composting at home is very easy, and you'll be amazed how quickly your fruit and vegetable peelings and garden waste will decompose. Find out more about home composting.

charity shop window displaying a pink and white poster which reads "stock wanted urgently"Donating to your local charity shop is a great way to reuse your unwanted furniture, clothes, toys, books, jewellery and bric-a-brac. There are several organisations and charities that will collect furniture and larger items from you and refurbish for resale or reuse.

British Heart Foundation run a free collection service for furniture and electrical goods and you can arrange a collection via their website.


To find out more about donating your unwanted items, visit the Recycle for Gloucestershire website.

If you are donating an item then please consider the following points. Furniture, beds and carpets should:

  • be free of stains and rips
  • comply with the current furniture fire regulations
  • be in good enough condition to enable the organisation to reuse or resell

Buying and donating reused goods:

  • prevents valuable resources ending up in landfill
  • saves energy and raw materials
  • supports people on low incomes and raises funds for charities
  • provides employment and training opportunities

Gloucestershire Bike Project

Gloucestershire Bike Project is a not for profit social enterprise that focuses on bicycle re-use.  They take bicycles that are donated by the public and use them in a number of ways.

They run free workshops teaching young and not so young people how to repair bicycles and they also run workshops for other charities where residents get a bike of their own to work on and keep as a means of transport. One of the main aims of the project is to keep as many bicycles as possible in use. Bicycles that are not used in workshops are fully refurbished by the team and are sold at affordable prices to Gloucestershire Residents, thus helping the project to fund its work. Even when a bike can’t be saved there are usually parts that can be re-used, they never say no to a bike. Old tyres are recycled and used in playing surfaces and any metal is recycled.

Many of us have a bike we no longer want or use, sitting in sheds and garages, turning rusty. If you have a bike that you no longer use, and would like to see it go to a good cause, please consider donating it to the project, who will arrange to come and pick it up from you.

You can reach the project on 01452 690979, or email info@gloucestershirebikeproject.co.uk.

Cheltenham Freecycle

The Cheltenham Freecycle group, focusing on Cheltenham and surrounding villages, is open to all who want to recycle that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! Nonprofit groups are welcome to participate too!

One main rule: everything posted must be free. This group is part of The Freecycle Network, a nonprofit organisation and a movement of people interested in keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Furniture Recycle Project to help those in need

Furniture Recycle Project recycles furniture and household items to disadvantaged groups, such as people who are unemployed, single parents, elderly, disabled, or on a low income, throughout the county of Gloucestershire.