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Waste and Recycling

  • Every time we throw something away, we waste all the resources and energy that went in to making that product, and drive demand for the production of new commodities from virgin materials.
  • Plastic waste also pollutes our oceans and other important natural habitats.
  • But we can break the chain of unsustainable consumption, by taking steps to throw fewer things away, reusing what we already have, and recycling anything that can’t be used again.

Our waste and recycling aims are:

  • To reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration, by throwing away less packaging and single-use products.
  • To encourage re-use, upcycling and redistribution.
  • To keep materials in circulation for as long as possible, so that we reduce the need for new products to be made from virgin materials.
  • To recycle anything that can’t be used again.
  • To reduce waste pollution in our natural environments.

What we can do

  • Only buy what you need, to ensure that nothing is wasted.
  • Buy loose produce (e.g. fruit and veg) as often as possible to reduce packaging waste.
  • Ditch single-use cups, bottles and bags, and replace these with reusable alternatives.
  • Repair things when they’re broken, or upcycle old clothes and household goods to give them a new lease of life.
  • Pass things on when you’re finished with them, by giving them to charity shops or to friends.
  • Shop second-hand as much as possible.
  • Learn about what can and can’t be recycled in your area.
  • Wash all food containers before putting them in the recycling bin, to prevent contamination.

Key recycling stats

No. of Earths needed to support current European consumption


Per cent amount of all discarded plastic waste recycled since 1950


Million tonnes of virgin plastic will be produced by 2050


Total per cent UK carbon footprint from consumption of overseas goods


Learn more

Check out these resources to learn more about the over-consumption problem and what you can do to combat it: