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Seven ways to minimise your household waste over lockdown

With lockdown restrictions in place once again across the UK, waste sector workers are gearing up for another busy period. However, there are ways that we can all help out key workers in the sector by doing our bit to minimise household waste.

During the first lockdown, surveys by ADEPT found that municipal waste increased by 20% and household recycling by 30% due to a huge proportion of the population spending their days at home. This change has been reflected in the composition of household waste too, and items that would usually be recycled at the local tip or donated to charity shops are now being wrongly disposed of and causing problems for HWRCs.

If you are planning to declutter your home or embark on a DIY project over the next few weeks, then read on. These 7 tips will help you to deal with your unwanted items and household waste responsibly during these difficult times.

1. Plan your meals ahead
Planning out your meals before going shopping is a great way to reduce food waste and ensure that you only buy what is needed each week. WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign recommends freezing perishable goods like bread and fruit before their use-by date and cooking more creatively with leftovers.

2. Start composting
Since staying at home and cooking more, you may have already noticed that your organic waste has increased. By composting anything that can’t be used in cooking, you’ll be helping to steer waste away from landfilling and incineration whilst also returning nutrients to the soil. If you don’t have a garden, then there are other alternatives like worm bins and community composting sites.

3. Reuse cardboard delivery boxes
With so many items being sent by post, household in the UK are throwing away more cardboard than ever before. Try to find another use for your cardboard delivery boxes before recycling, such as using them for additional storage, or you can use them with your children to make all kinds of imaginative games!

4. Don’t burn garden waste
If you have become an avid gardener over lockdown, then don’t be tempted to burn any garden waste that might be mounting up. Fire and rescue services across the country have seen an increase in callouts because of this, and are urging people not to light bonfires in their gardens.

5. Get waste sorting right
Making sure that your recyclables are sorted correctly will help to minimise the effects of COVID-19 on waste sector workers. Looking at the recommendations of your local council around waste sorting is the best way to aid a flow of clean streams of recyclables towards for waste treatment facilities.

6. Box up charity shop donations until shops reopen
Donating unwanted items to a charity shop is a fantastic way to recycle them. Box up your items and keep hold of them until the charity shops reopen. Charities are urging people to avoid leaving donations on the doorstep of their local charity shop as this constitutes fly-tipping.

7. Store large items until recycling centres reopen
If you’re decluttering your home, then don’t put waste that you’d take to the tip into your wheelie bin. Instead, you should store bulky furniture waste, cardboard and garden waste at home until recycling centres reopen. You can check your closest recycling centre’s opening times using our Recycle Locator.

Knight Energy Services work with councils, blue chip organisations, WRAP and government bodies to monitor and evaluate current systems and practices in order to help them to improve. We undertake waste composition analysis to provide valuable data to councils so that they can make changes to their current waste collection service and better inform householders and target problem areas on issues such as high levels of contamination in Mixed Dry Recycling.
To find out more information about our ISO 17025 / 9001 accredited services, please visit our composition analysis page.