To protect our planet, we all need to create less waste. Taking small steps like reusing things and recycling more can have a big impact.
Why recycling and reducing waste is important
Recycling and reusing helps to:
- save you money – if you can use something more than once, you buy it less often
- protect the environment - high demand for brand new things puts pressure on natural resources. Recycling also saves energy and reduces carbon emissions
- create jobs – recycling creates jobs in collection, sorting and reprocessing
- do something good to protect the planet – it's an easy way to do your bit
Video: Let's Sort It
Read our Carbon Neutral Plan to find out what we’re doing to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and what you can do to help.
You could save money by reducing your waste. Before you buy something, think about whether you really need it, or if there is anything you can do to reduce the environmental impact of using it.
- buy products with less packaging
- only buy the food that you need and will eat
- use leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day
- fix broken things instead of buying them again
- buy reusable batteries instead of buying new ones
- register for the mail preference service to reduce junk mail
- register with the Library of Things to hire useful household items for a few pounds per day, instead of buying them. You can hire equipment and tools for DIY, cleaning, gardening, events, entertainment and more
Reusing will also help to reduce waste. For example, you can:
- refill plastic drinks bottles
- reuse carrier bags or take a canvass bag with you when you go shopping
- use old newspaper as packaging material instead of bubble wrap. Shredded paper can also be recycled afterwards if it's put in a clear sack before being put out for recycling.
- shop at charity shops, boot sales and online auctions, or reuse networks like Freegle
- take items to the RePurpose shop at Nathan Way, where preloved goods are sold and upcycled to raise money for Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice
- register with Olio to give away and collect left over or extra food, including from supermarkets and local businesses
Check if something can be recycled before you throw it away. In Royal Greenwich, we collect mixed dry recycling and food and garden waste weekly from most households.
Check where to recycle, donate or get rid of items
For household items that we cannot collect, you can:
- take the items to your local recycling bank
- visit the Re-use and Recycling Centre
- book a bulky waste collection
- take used batteries to your local battery collection point
Terracycle offers drop-off schemes for many items we cannot collect, like pouches, packets, and tubes.
You can also recycle flimsy plastic, for example, carrier bags and bread bags at large supermarkets.