general waste collection
No. 1 for Reducing Waste

How to Reduce Waste

Reducing waste is a responsibility for every UK business and something households should strive towards. Businesses must reduce waste and keep it to a minimum ‘by doing everything you reasonably can to prevent, reuse, recycle or recover waste (in that order)’. That’s according to government guidelines covering commercial waste disposal.

Domestic waste reduction is also important as households create 26 million tonnes of waste every year. Around 12 million tonnes are recycled but the rest goes to waste. Reduce waste and you help save energy, resources, and money that has a positive impact on the environment, your business, and your household.

Find out how to reduce waste in your business and at home with these tips, strategies, and guides.

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How to reduce waste at work

Workplaces in the UK generate a wide variety of waste types every day. The average office worker creates around 500kg of waste per year. Much of this is recyclable, but reducing waste in businesses is always the best option to help the environment and save your organisation money.

Many workplaces and sectors also produce all sorts of different waste types. Strategies and ways to reduce waste apply to most kinds of rubbish at work, from used paper in offices to packaging waste in shops and hazardous waste in laboratories. A few ways to minimise waste in the workplace include to:

  • Save paper by only printing essential documents and having a strict double-sided printing policy.
  • Remove single-use plastics such as cups for watercoolers, cutlery and plates in the kitchen and at events.
  • Provide reusable items like coffee cups and water bottles to encourage reuse.
  • Go digital by keeping all company documents online or on an internal server to avoid unnecessary printing that wastes paper and ink.
  • Donate old items to local charities and causes – from old office furniture to electronic equipment.
  • Conduct a waste audit to see where your business is producing high volumes of waste that should be cut.
two reusable coffee cups on a table.

Ways to reduce waste

Waste reduction strategies are important for businesses and homes to minimise how much rubbish you produce. Introducing a set of techniques to reduce waste helps ensure as little refuse as possible goes to landfill. This cuts your carbon footprint and the costs involved in waste disposal while ensuring your business upholds its responsibilities.

There are many ways to reduce waste that vary depending on the type of waste material and where you produce the waste. Most of these tips to reduce waste can be used in your business or at home. You can also explore our guides below to find more examples of ways to reduce waste based on specific materials and industries.

These are 8 ways to reduce waste:

  1. Buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste – generally, bulk buying reduces how much packaging is used per item and reduces the amount of waste packaging you end up with. It also minimises the transport costs and energy needed for delivery. Seek places where you can bulk buy foodstuffs and other products.
  2. Compost food waste – most organic waste is compostable, where it breaks down naturally. Place compost bins in your kitchen at home or work to collect all food scraps before moving into a compost bin outside in your garden or yard.
  3. Only buy what you need – the easiest way to reduce waste is to avoid buying extra stuff you won’t use in the first place. Regular stock inventories at work and home, checking the dates and rotating food items especially, should ensure you know what you do and don’t need. Resist the temptations of offers when you don’t need extra items. Buying just what you need will save you money too.
  4. Use refillable products – minimise packaging waste by using refillable products, such as soap bottles. Find places where you can take your own containers for refills of food items, hygiene products, and other items.
  5. Purchase secondhand if you need new furniture, electronics, clothing, and all sorts of other things then buying used helps prevent waste directly. Donating unwanted items is another easy way to reduce your own waste. Plus, it’s normally significantly cheaper to buy second-hand.
  6. Repair and reuse – rather than throwing away broken furniture and equipment, find a way to repair, reuse, or repurpose items. This avoids creating more waste and saves you money as you won’t have to buy a replacement.
  7. Opt out – junk mail especially creates lots of waste. Even though much of it is recyclable, you can reduce it easily by opting out of mailing lists. Think about any other subscriptions you have that you don’t use and opt-out too.
  8. Introduce a recycling scheme – recycling reduces the amount of general waste you produce at home or work. Households should ensure all recyclable rubbish is clean and dry then put it in domestic recycling bins (some councils offer additional recycling bins if needed). Businesses should educate employees about the importance of recycling, use various recycling bins, and have a dedicated recycling leader.

Why is it important 
to minimise waste?

The purpose of keeping waste to a minimum is to reduce pollution levels, which harm the environment. Any waste that goes to landfill will decompose and generate methane in the process that’s released into the atmosphere. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. It traps heat in the atmosphere and significantly contributes to global warming.

One of the primary benefits of reducing waste is that it minimises the amount of emissions released to process waste. Even recycling rubbish requires energy and contributes to your carbon footprint through its storage, transportation, and recycling processes. Reducing waste is better for the environment than recycling.

If you reduce waste it also helps conserve resources. Reusing materials, buying products second-hand, and recycling all make good use of existing items, so no new materials need sourcing. This avoids using the energy to acquire natural resources or create new products from them – processes that increase the release of emissions.

Further benefits of reducing waste in business are that it can save your company money on waste management costs. The less waste you produce, the fewer bins and less frequent collections you’ll need. This results in lower waste disposal costs and recycling or reusing more waste cuts how much landfill tax you pay too.

Explore the advantages of recycling
pile of waste at landfill site.

Waste reduction guides

There are many ways of reducing waste across various types and sectors. The most effective waste reduction strategies focus on methods and actions specific to waste types. That’s why we’ve created a range of guides that focus on techniques to reduce waste based on the material or industry.

Explore these individual guides focused on waste material types and sectors to find the best ways to reduce waste in your business or home.

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  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste
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  • We cover all of the UK