Reducing and reusing your waste

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St Albans City and District Council is committed to increasing recycling rates so that as much waste as possible is turned into valuable resources that can be used over and over again. But it's not just about recycling more, its also about reducing the amount of waste that we each produce. There are lots of ways in which we can all play our part to minimise our waste.

Reduce your waste

RRRHere are some tips to help you REDUCE the amount of waste you produce.

Shopping Tips
  • Buy products with less packaging (such as loose fruit and veg rather than pre-packaged). 
  • Join a food box scheme and have all your fruit and veg delivered in a single box.
  • Buy well made products that will last. Avoid disposable products, especially those that are single-use.
  • Choose items that can be recharged to save on batteries. 
  • Refuse unwanted packaging, bags, straws and disposable cutlery and condiments that you don't need.  
  • Use a “bag for life” when shopping rather than carrier bags.
  • Buy in bulk. It cuts down the packaging and requires fewer visits to the supermarket.
  • Shopping online? Buy as much as you can in one purchase from one retailer (to save excess packaging and transportation impacts delivering multiple parcels)
Stop Getting Junk Mail
  • Junk Mail StickerCut the amount of junk mail you receive by registering with the Mailing Preference Service to opt out of mailing lists.
  • Opt out Royal Mail deliveries of unaddressed mail. Simply download this form, complete it and send it to the address on the form. Royal Mail will send you a copy of the form if you can’t print it yourself. You can call them on 0345 266 0858 or email them. You'll stop getting unaddressed junk mail within 6 weeks.
  • Opt out with the Direct Marketing Association’s ‘Your Choice’ scheme. Ask DMA to send you an opt out form by calling 0207291 3300 or emailing. 
  • Put a notice on your door refusing junk mail. It is advisable to specify exactly what you deem to be junk mail. Alternatively, click the image to the right and download it to print it yourself. 
  • Stop charity marketing mail by contacting the Fundraising Preference Service. They'll tell the specific charities to remove your contact details within 28 days. You'll need to have the specific charity names on hand to be removed.
  • If you want to stop getting mail from a particular sender, contact them directly. Include: your full name and address, the date and a sentence such as "Please stop processing my personal data for direct marketing purposes in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.” You should include a reasonable date that you want the organisation to stop sending you mail. 
  • Return to sender. If you get junk mail with a return address on the envelope, you can write "unsolicited mail, return to sender” on the envelope and put it in the postbox. You don't have to pay for postage.
  • Not reading those free newspapers? You can opt out of the free newspapers in St Albans District by calling Archant on 01438 866130 or emailing them. 
  • Refill St Albans LogoMake your own packed lunches and you will save money and create less waste. 
  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it for free at a network of businesses who have all agreed to provide free drinking water as part of Refill St Albans. You can see which businesses provide water by downloading the Refill App to your smartphone.
  • Carry a hot drink cup or flask with you so you can refuse disposable coffee cups. Most cafes now offer a discount if you use your own reusable cup
  • Toys piling up because of all the presents the kids receive? Why not ask for donations into their bank accounts or vouchers so you can buy what is really wanted.
  • Cut down on disposable nappies by using reusable nappies. They've come a long way, are good for babies bottoms and your pocket and the Council also provide a financial incentive to help you try them. Find out more here

Reuse your waste

  • Plastic Bottle reuseDonate unwanted items to charity, friends, family or sell online or at local jumble sales. It's so easy to get rid of stuff now with websites and apps such as Shpock, Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle and many more. 
  • Look for creative reuse ideas online and use your waste for crafts and repurposing. Here are some great ideas we found online. 
Date of last review: 23 March 2018