Re-using is the second step in the waste hierarchy and is a great way to cut down on waste, protect the environment and often save money too.
Thinking about what we buy and how we use, and re-use, it is really straightforward and easy to do.
Re-using at home
There are lots of great ways to re-use at home, our top five suggestions are:
A staggering 300,000 tonnes of clothes go to waste in the UK every year. If we kept our clothes in active use just nine months longer (to an average life of around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.
By buying less clothes in the first place, buying pre-owned and better quality clothing, caring, repairing and re-fashioning the clothes we already have, and donating items we no longer need, we can all help to reduce clothing waste and save ourselves some money in the process.
93% of blocked sewer pipes in the UK are due to face wipes and wet wipes as a staggering 9.3 million are flushed down the toilet every day. Re-usable face wipes and flannels, that can be used again and again, are an easy switch to make to reduce this. Many are available on the market and can be relatively inexpensive.
A lot of our waste comes from the kitchen but did you know that there are some easy to switch to re-usable alternatives? Beeswax wraps and silicone bowl covers make a great alternative to cling film, which is hard to recycle and can end up in our environment as litter.
Nappies and baby wipes
The average baby will go through over 5,000 disposable nappies from birth to potty training. Nappies have a huge environmental impact as they can take hundreds of years to decompose.
It is estimated that the cost of real nappies is around £80 for a basic set plus around £1 a week to wash them, saving money across your child's early years. If these are then used for a second child, the savings really mount up - both environmentally and economically.
Tea bags and coffee pods
An estimated 170 million hot drinks are consumed every day in the UK. Switching to loose leaf tea and an infuser or strainer could help reduce waste and the spent tea leaves are great for your compost heap.
Re-using at work
The average office wastes about 45 pieces of paper a day, so why not switch to a re-usable notebook. There are many available to buy in a wide price range. Use your phone to take a photograph of your notes and wipe it clean afterwards.
Re-usable lunchboxes and food containers are a great way to store or transport food and can even help cut down our food waste. Using a lunchbox or food container to store leftovers gives you a quick, easy meal for when you are at work or school.
An estimated seven million disposable cups are used every day in the UK - that is enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall. Having a re-usable coffee cup is a great way to transport hot drinks on the go and at work. Some retailers may also offer a discount for using them when you purchase a hot drink.
Re-using while out and about
If used and cared for properly, a re-usable bag can replace over 600 single use ones over its lifetime. Remember to take your re-usable bags with you when you are out shopping as it helps the environment and will save you money too as most retailers charge for single- use bags.
Fruit and veg bags
Buying loose fruit and veg cuts plastic packaging at home, reduces food waste by letting you buy just what you need and often saves money. Try putting a basket in the front of your trolley to pop your loose fruit and veg in, visiting a greengrocer or simply swapping plastic veg bags for fabric ones that can be reused, washed and keep your items together.
The UK uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Only 7.5 billion are recycled. If just 10% of Brits refilled a bottle just once a week, we could save around 340 million plastic bottles a year