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Reuse and recycle!

Waste not only releases CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.

Each year we throw away 3 billion tonnes of waste in the EU - 90 million tonnes of it hazardous. This amounts to about 6 tonnes of solid waste per person.

 
Recycle!

Save resources

  • Take your own shopping bag to the supermarket instead of getting a disposable plastic or paper bag in each shop. It can take between 15 and  1 000 years for a single plastic bag to decompose.
  • Buy smart. One 1.5 litre bottle requires less energy and produces less waste than three 0.5 litre bottles.
  • Choose products with little packaging and buy refills.Say no to paper towels. A mop or sponge will do an even better job at cleaning up a spill.
  • Use recycled paper. Every ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees.

Reuse

  • Donate your old glasses. 10 million pairs of perfectly good glasses are thrown away each year in Europe and North America. These can be used to help people in the developing world. Most opticians will accept your old glasses for this purpose.
  • Donate your old clothes to charity.
  • Reuse paper. For rough work or a shopping list, use the back of a used sheet of paper rather than a clean sheet.

Recycle

Recycling 1 aluminium can saves 90% of the energy needed to produce a new one. Recycling 1 kg of paper instead of landfilling it prevents almost 1 kg of CO2 emissions as well as methane emissions.

  • Separate glass, paper, plastics and cans from the rest of your waste.
  • Compost. Your organic waste – such as fruit and vegetables, eggshells or coffee grounds – is much better off in a compost heap at home than in a landfill site. In a compost heap, exposed to air, the waste decomposes and will become a natural fertiliser. In a landfill, without air, it ferments and then emits the greenhouse gas methane.
  • Plant a Christmas tree. Buy a tree with roots and you can plant it in the garden after the holidays. If you buy a cut tree, check whether your local authorities will recycle it.
  • Recycle your car battery when you need a new one.
  • Don't throw out electronic devices. Bring them to a local collection point or back to the retailer.

More tips

 

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