Zero waste: a glossary



Producing no rubbish, putting nothing in the non recycling household bin and sending nothing to landfill


The British word for trash, waste or non-recyclable stuff that goes to landfill


Refuse to take or buy anything you don’t need, will not use or that comes in packaging that cannot be recycled or composted such as food in plastic bags or containers.


Reduce what you do need and make sure you actually do need it


Instead of buying and using single use products, such as plastic shopping bags, floor wipes, tissues or paper towels, find reusable versions. Take your own cotton bags, use a mop, carry fabric hankies or use cloths to wipe your surfaces. Reuse glass jam jars to hold homemade pickles, leftovers in the fridge or to buy package free meat & cheese. Also check if you can buy refillable products…my village supermarket has a refill station for washing up liquid, washing liquid and fabric softener as well as a coffee refill machine.


Donate things you no longer need or use to either a charity to be passed on or sold, someone you know who could use it, an exchange programme or local recycle group such as Freecycle or Freegle. If things are valuable you could sell them.


What you cannot refuse, reduce, reuse or donate you should recycle through council provided bins or other centres…we have a large recycle area at our local tip. Some recyclables such as cans and glass bottles can be recycled over and over again, some like paper and card can be recycled multiple times and others like plastics can only be recycled a couple of times before being sent to landfill.


Rot food waste, used paper, egg shells and other rotable household waste with your garden cuttings and grass clippings to make compost to grow next year’s flowers, fruit and vegetables. Where you don’t have a garden or space for a compost heap you can send your compostable waste to the council in the garden bins or ask a neighbour if you can share their heap.


Mend what you still use to avoid having to buy more. Sew on replacement buttons, patch holes in clothes, darn threadbare socks, glue together still loved children’s toys, take your shoes to the cobbler to be reheeled. If you cannot do these things yourself either look up how to online, ask a friend who can or take them to a local craftsperson.


Barter skills with people in your local community or share tools and other things with neighbours either by sharing something you already own that they need or by purchasing an occasionally used item together.


zero waste-a glossary-what is it-what does it mean

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