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This means cutting down the amount of waste we make and throw away. It makes sense because if we don’t buy or use things we don't need; we save resources, energy, money and reduce pollution. It is the first and most important of the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), as can be seen in the diagram on the right.

For information on how you can reduce waste at your school, check out the 'How to Reduce at school' guide in the downloads box on the right-hand side of the page.

Examples of how to reduce rubbish:

Be a savvy shopper

  • Buy only what you need often we are tempted into buying things we don't want or need by sales and special offers. Taking a shopping list and sticking to it is a good way of making sure you only buy what you need.
  • Choose products with little packaging  much of what ends up in the bin is packaging from food. Try to buy things that have as little packaging as possible; all that fancy packaging isn't free!
  • Buy in bulk – instead of buying individual bags of crisps, or individual portions of cheese to snack on, buy a multi-pack of crisps, or a chunk of cheese and put what you need in a reusable tub. This will reduce waste, as well as save you money!
  • Don't buy anything disposable disposable items such as paper plates, plastic cutlery and disposable razors are designed to be thrown away after one use. If we have more disposable items, we have more rubbish and less money.
  • Say no to plastic bags bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket. A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade!

Give repairing a go

  • If you have clothing which are ripped, worn or just don’t quite fit anymore, repair or alter them to give them a second life!
  • Not sure how? Ask family and friends for help, someone is certain to be nifty with a needle and thread.
  • Lots of shops now offer repair and alteration services – look on your high street, search online or look in local directories.
  • Visit Love Your Clothes for great tips on how to make the most of your clothing, including easy to makes repairs.

Drink tap water

  • In the UK, we drink about 2.5 billion litres of bottled water every year. However, in this country our tap water is clean enough to drink and by doing this; all those empty plastic bottles wouldn't exist. This would reduce a huge amount of rubbish.