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In a world where a disposable attitude is the norm, we often just discard our rubbish without thinking twice. It’s time that we reconsider our actions and think before we throw. By asking yourself these four simple questions before you bin something, you could reduce your household waste and help reverse the damage to our environment.
1. Am I using the correct bin?
Before anything else, be sure to check if the item in your hand is going to land in the right bin. It is vital that each piece of litter ends up in the correct container because not only does this make the bin man’s job easier, but it also reduces unnecessary landfill. Ask yourself: Can this be recycled? Can this be taken to a bottle bank? You can usually find out this information from your local council website, or by giving them a quick call. If they don’t provide suitable disposal for the material, try searching for private collections or services that will happily take it away.
2. Is this clean enough?
Many items of rubbish have had food or product stored in them. The residue left at the bottom may seem benign, but once ten yoghurt pots are piled up in the bin they will add up to nearly a whole pot’s worth of creamy, dairy liquid, just waiting for flies and other pests to discover it. Wash out any containers with juices or deposits, then pop them in the appropriate bin. This will decrease the risk of damage to your bin too, as pests don’t tend to be considerate when raiding for food.
3. Can all of this be recycled?
As is very often the case, one piece of junk can be made up of a variety of different materials. For example, a ready meal container is widely recycled in many areas, but its plastic film may not be. Whilst it may be the easy option to chuck the whole thing in the bin as soon as you spy the ‘Not Recyclable’ sticker, separating the materials and selecting a suitable container for each only takes a few seconds and will reduce the amount of waste your household sends to landfill.
4. Can I reuse this?
A lot of our household waste can be reduced by simply reusing and repurposing old rubbish. Garden waste, for example, can be easily turned into a fertilising compost ready in a few months to pop onto your flowerbeds. Jars and tins can make really quirky home storage solutions when given a coat of paint or tied with a ribbon. Meanwhile, old clothes and textiles should be given to a charity shop or refashioned into something new.