Business Waste
Reducing waste at home

How to Reduce Waste at Home

A zero-waste home is the dream for many households across the UK. Imagine no smelly bins in your kitchen, arguments about whose turn it is to empty them, and worries about missing a bin collection. It would also mean you don’t send any rubbish to landfill and avoid damaging the environment.

Becoming a zero-waste home doesn’t happen overnight though and is a challenging goal. A more realistic and beneficial option is to start with a few smaller steps to reduce domestic waste. Reduce waste at home from your kitchen, bathroom, garden, and other areas of your domestic first before moving to zero waste living.

To help you get started with minimising household waste we’ve pulled together some useful advice and information about reducing domestic waste. Discover how to reduce waste at home with these tips.

free bins icon.

Get a FREE quote

Get a fast FREE quote for waste collection

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK

Household waste facts

Domestic waste production isn’t as big as the amount of waste created by commercial activities but it’s still a lot. Minimising waste at home is important to help protect the environment and the numbers behind household waste put it into perspective. Some important stats and facts about household waste in the UK are:

  • Households create 26 million tonnes of waste in the UK every year.
  • About 12 million tonnes of domestic waste are recycled
  • The UK has a 6% recycling rate for household waste, which is below the government’s target of 50%.
  • In 2021 around 8 million tonnes of household waste were sent to landfills.
  • The amount of domestic waste sent to landfill has fallen from around 13 million tonnes in 2010, so progress is happening.
  • The average person in the UK creates around 400kg of waste every year in the UK.
  • Household waste is responsible for 12% of all annual waste generated in England.

How to reduce household waste

There are many ways to reduce household waste, so your bins aren’t overflowing before their next collection. It also helps lower your carbon footprint and ensures various items are reused rather than being thrown out and possibly going to landfill unnecessarily. Use these 5 ways to reduce waste at home:

  1. Buy and use refillable packaging – shop at local stores where you can take along your own containers to fill with items like pasta, rice, and coffee. Buying items in reusable jars, tubs, and containers reduces how much packaging waste you create at home.
  2. Repurpose old clothes – donating old clothes to charity shops eliminates waste. However, if they’re in poor condition you can always cut them up to use as cleaning cloths and as an alternative to paper towels (which aren’t recyclable). Get creative and turn old t-shirts into reusable cloth bags.
  3. Swap bottles for bars – using bars of soap rather than bottles reduces packaging waste and saves money, as they’re concentrated and last longer. You can also get refillable soap, shampoo, and shower gel bottles. Try making your own cleaning products too with baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, and water to reuse old bottles.
  4. Go digital – paperless billing is an easy way to reduce how much waste paper you create. Get your bank statements, insurance documents, legal papers, and anything else delivered online. You can also try and request that any junk mail isn’t sent to your address again.
  5. Have a questionable bin – have a separate small bin or container where you put any rubbish you’re unsure of how to recycle at home. This could include things like batteries and lightbulbs. Look up where you can recycle them and then take them to an appropriate recycling point when it’s convenient, to avoid throwing them away.
three bars of soap on a plate.

How to reduce 
household food waste

The kitchen is a prime spot where you’ll likely create plenty of domestic food waste. From scraps like chicken bones and vegetable peelings to expired ingredients and gone-off milk, food waste at home costs UK households an average of £720 per year. Save money and the environment by reducing food waste in your home.

A few ways to reduce household food waste include to:

  • Compost your food scraps – about 25% of the stuff in household general waste bins is compostable. If you’ve got some outdoor space use a compost bin for your organic waste to create some natural and free fertiliser. Alternatively, ask a neighbour if you don’t have an outdoor area to use their compost bin.
  • Meal plan – avoid overbuying foodstuffs that go off by planning your meals for the week. Write a shopping list and stick to it so you only buy what you need.
  • Brew loose tea – teabags contain many microplastics so switching to loose tea with a strainer helps reduce such tricky waste.
  • Buy wonky fruit and veg – there’s been a rise in supermarkets selling ‘wonky’ fruit and veg. It might look a bit odd, but it still tastes great and saves these items from being thrown away.
  • Rotate your food stock – when you bring in your groceries use the first in, first out technique. Move the older items in your fridge, freezer, or pantry to the front and place the new ones at the back. This helps avoid food expiring and being wasted.
  • Use up all food – slightly bruised or wilting fruit and veg can be used in smoothies and soups. Freeze leftovers you won’t eat in the coming days and find recipes that use up any ingredients to reduce your food waste at home.
Learn more about how to reduce food waste

How to reduce garden waste

Most domestic garden waste is natural and can be used in environmentally friendly ways. If you have a household garden bin then anything in this should be sent to industrial composting sites. However, reducing garden waste at home is still good to minimise the energy and emissions used to collect and transport household green waste.

Learn how to reduce garden waste from your home with these tips:

  • Compost garden waste – home composting is the greenest and easiest way to dispose of most garden waste. Buy or build a compost bin in the corner of your garden and add any grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, food waste, and more to it. In a few months, you’ll have some fertiliser to help your garden grow.
  • Create a log pile – add any logs and branches to a pile in your garden for future use. Simply stack them up to create a home for insects and wildlife. You can also use logs and bits of wood to define the borders and paths in your garden or shred them to make wood chippings for paths.
  • Let your grass grow – avoid creating lots of grass waste by simply letting it grow. Longer grass is a haven for wildlife, and it helps retain humidity and soil moisture, which is useful during warm and dry periods. Plus, it can save you time, effort, and money.
Learn about commercial garden waste
compost bin in garden.

Read more waste reduction guides

Explore more zero-waste living tips and discover other ways to reduce different types of waste for homes and businesses in our detailed guides.

How to reduce waste
free bins icon.

Get a fast and free quote

Get a fast FREE quote for your waste collection

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK