Reduce and reuse
Reducing what you waste is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. You can reduce your waste by:
- only buying what you need, and making sure you use up what you've already bought
- buying loose fruit and vegetables
- signing up to paperless billing or banking
- choosing products with less packaging or those which use recycled materials
- purchasing non-perishable products such as pasta or rice in bulk
- buying second hand clothing or consider hiring clothing
- repairing damaged or broken items instead of replacing them
- choosing reusable items over disposable ones, such as rechargeable batteries, reusable coffee cups, or using real crockery and cutlery for parties
- composting your kitchen and garden waste
Love Food Hate Waste website provides more information and advice to help you to cut down on the amount of food you waste including advice on leftover food, date labels and the best ways to store food.
Reusing items yourself
Reusing items is more environmentally friendly as it helps you to reduce the amount of rubbish you create.
Packaging can be given a second life instead of being thrown away:
- wash and reuse old jars, pots or containers as storage throughout your home
- reuse envelopes and other packaging to send letters or parcels instead of buying new
Choose reusable alternatives
To reduce the amount of waste you create, opt for reusable coffee/tea cups, water bottles and shopping bags. You can also find reusable options for kitchen essentials including straws, cutlery sets and sandwich wraps to avoid using single-use plastic.
Some retailers offer refill schemes too, so you can reuse the same bottle for items such as shampoo, soap, washing-up liquid and laundry detergent.
Giving away or selling unwanted items
If you can't reuse things yourself, then you should consider if somebody else could make use of them instead.
Furniture and household goods
You should consider:
- making use of retailer take-back services
- donating to local charities or not-for-profits such as Foundations Furniture, St Oswald's Hospice or Community Transport
- giving away items on reuse websites including Freecycle, Freegle or in local social media groups
- checking the Reuse Network to see if small businesses or charities in your area can mend or repurpose your furniture and appliances instead
- listing items on online marketplace sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace
- having a car-boot sale
- checking if family or friends want the items
There are also a number of charity shops across Gateshead who will accept smaller items along with clothing, textiles, shoes, books, CDs and toys.
Most mobile phone providers accept returns of old mobile phones when you buy a new one. They will test and repair it for reuse, or if they can't be reused, they are broken up so that as much as possible can be recycled.
- Try to choose products packaged in recyclable materials
- If items can't be reused as they aren't in good condition, recycle them where possible to prevent waste going to landfill
You can check our recycling A-Z to see what can be recycled where. Many items can be recycled at our household waste and recycling centres.
Our recycling Christmas waste page also has a list of how best to dispose of any festive items or decorations.
Recycle Now provide more information on what can be recycled and where.