Waste Reduction 101

Nicola Turner Behaviour Changer

Reducing the waste we throw away is a really tangible way to cut down on our environmental impact. When we chuck things in the rubbish bin, not only are we throwing away what we see, but we’re also throwing away all of the embedded resources and impact that went into making that item. In fact, it’s estimated that “45% of global greenhouse gas emissions comes solely from the production of the things we use and buy every day.”*

The great news is, that reducing our waste doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re keen to get started, here are some of my favourite tips.

  • Bin gazing: The best place to start is often to take a look in your rubbish bin. It sounds so simple, but so many of our daily habits happen on auto-pilot, and throwing things away is often one of these. Taking a conscious moment to see what is in your bin might make you realise that you are throwing away things that you don’t need to or it might highlight one particular waste habit that you feel motivated to change. For me, when I started looking in my rubbish bin I realised how many food scraps were going in there. I then found lots of ways to get better at using up my scraps and composting what was left over, and it made a massive dent in my waste. You could put links to the food waste and composting blogs in here if you like… eg You can check out previous blogs on food waste and composting for tips and ideas.



  • The mindset: We’ve all heard the mantra ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ – add the word ‘rethink’ to the start of that list and you’ve got a pretty good blueprint for waste reduction. It really is as simple as having a mindset of rethinking what we buy, reducing the amount of waste we create, and reusing things we already have.
  • One thing at a time: Once I have done one thing to reduce my waste and created a new habit, I will take another look in my bin and challenge myself to move onto the next thing. Taking it one step at a time means it never feels like a big deal, but you can end up creating really significant changes to your habits and your waste.

So, take a look in your bin and choose one small change to kickstart your waste reduction journey – I reckon you’ll be amazed at the difference you can make.


Photography: Sacha Kahaki

*Reference: news.climate.columbia.edu/2020/12/16/buying-stuff-drives-climate-change/

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