Reducing waste (including single use plastics and water)
Here in the Horsham District we currently recycle well over 50% of our waste - that puts us as one of the top 20 performing councils in the UK for improved kerbside recycling rates, and the best in West Sussex. Our District residents have also reduced the amount of household waste produced per household by 53kg which is now the lowest in West Sussex.
But we cannot rest on our laurels as more can always be done and, as a council, we continue to ask all residents to keep thinking about how they might be able to reduce, reuse or recycle their household waste even more.
Check out our top tips below - but these are just some suggestions you may like to try. If you have some top tips you'd like to share please contact Horsham District Council and we can add them to these pages.
- Use a lunch box instead of wrapping food in clingfilm.
- When you can, choose food (eg fruit and veg) that is not wrapped in plastic, over the ones that are individually wrapped.
- Take a reusable cup with you when buying a takeaway hot drink.
- Buy loose goods (eg rice, cereal etc) from a refill shop using your own containers (for example Town and Country Weigh in Horsham's East Street - although note that he doesn't currently take card payments (as at October 2021).
- Look out for plastic free cotton buds and straws.
- Carry your own water bottle and find public water fountains / free water refill stations when you are out and about.
- Bar soap works just as well as bottled liquid soap but saves plastic. Look out for ones packaged in paper as this can be popped in the recycling bin.
- Try buying shampoo in bar form (not bottles), or bamboo toothbrushes over plastic ones.
- Carry a reusable bag with you for those unexpected purchases and keep some in your car for shopping trips.
- If you are preparing for an event try to avoid throw away cable ties and use reusable ones instead. These can be untied and don’t have to be cut apart.
- Say goodbye to single-use plastic cutlery: If you are going to a picnic or outside meet-up remember to bring cutlery from home. Simply wrap it in a cloth and pack it ready to go.
- Keep and use the plastic you have, to save you needing to buy more.
- When you have to buy plastic remember to check if it is recyclable.
- Not sure what can be recycled in your bin collection service? Check out this handy A-Z guide.
- You can recycle replaceable batteries on your bin collection day with our simple and free collection service.
- If you need a handy reminder of what you can recycle, why not order a free information sticker for your bin.
- Remember the days when broken equipment all ended up in the bin? Well, no more as we have introduced an additional free collection service for these small electrical items. Small electricals are processed at a specialist facility which breaks down the component parts and then recycles them into something new.
- Don't throw away old clothes - recycle them by selling or donating them if they're in good condition.
- We now collect any un-useable clothing, unwanted shoes, belts and handbags, sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, towels, tea towels and curtains, so no need for these to go to landfill. Find out about our free textile collection service. Your items will be sorted and graded by JMP Wilcox where the company is able to find a new life for over 98% of the clothing collected.
Did you know?
- Local community group Sussex Green Living works with Terracycle and many volunteers to inspire families to lead a greener life and help us all to recycle single-use plastics and other waste items. Visit the Sussex Green Living website to find out more.
- UK's first medicine packet recycling programme: You can now recycle your empty medicine blister packets through collection boxes in every Superdrug pharmacy. For every blister packet collected TerraCycle® will donate points to Superdrug pharmacies to be redeemed into financial donations towards Marie Curie.
Visit our Recycling pages for more tips and advice
Watch this short West Sussex Think Before You Throw video - it's an eye opener!
- From cradle to grave, the stuff we buy has a big carbon footprint. Secondhand is a greener option. If you don’t love it donate it to someone you know will, give it to a charity shop or, if you know how, make it into something you love.
- Your rubbish is another person’s treasure! Advertise your unwanted items in your local paper or on websites such as Freecycle or Freegle (like online dating for stuff!).
- Consider pooling resources with your neighbours so that you can share things like lawnmowers and power tools – you could even start a carpool.
- Having a clear out? Donate good quality clothing, books and unwanted gifts to charity shops.
Try advertising your unwanted stuff on your local community social media pages, they are often good sites for buying, selling or giving away for free - either way, none of it ends up in landfill.
- Horsham Repair Café is a great local resource, open the last Saturday of every month between 10am and 4pm at the United Reformed Church, 45 Springfield Road, Horsham, RH12 1PT and they can help repair not just clothes but many household items too, including small electricals. If you fancy learning how to fix it as well, their volunteers are happy to talk through what they are doing. You may go away with a fixed item and a new skill!
- Use rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. This saves energy because the energy needed to manufacture a battery is on average 50 times greater than the energy it gives out. While the rechargeable cells have a higher initial cost, rechargeable batteries can be recharged many times.
- Run taps for shorter times – turn off your tap while you brush your teeth.
- Fill a bottle of water from the tap and keep it in the fridge – avoids needing to run the tap until it gets cold.
- A dripping tap can be not only annoying but if it is a hot tap it can increase your water and energy bills.
- When making a cup of tea, only boil the amount of water that you need.
- Consider adding a water butt to your garden to gather rainwater and use a watering can rather than a hosepipe.
- Try taking shorter showers. According to the Environment Agency, a normal five-minute shower can use about a third of the water of a bath. However, power showers can use up 136 litres of hot water per scrub – that’s the equivalent of almost two baths (a bath uses about 60 litres of water).The average 10-minute shower uses 50–75 gallons of water, so if you were to cut your shower time by just a few minutes, you could save gallons each time.
- Reduce that water temperature: Consider reducing the water temperature of your shower. By lowering the temperature you could enjoy softer, smoother skin and shinier hair. You'll also have a positive impact on the environment.
Why do we need to save water?
- Water has a carbon footprint because energy is needed to treat and pump water into homes and businesses. Reducing water use will reduce energy use. These options should also save money on your utility bills.
- The Environment Agency has categorised the District as a serious water-stressed area because the demand for water can sometimes outstrip supply. Climate change contributes to this due to having more hotter summers.
- Also, reducing your use of water can reduce your water bills if you are on a water meter. In fact about 12% of a typical gas heated household’s energy bill is from heating the water for showers, baths, and hot water from the tap.
- There is a good video here with water saving tips made by the Eden Project
Food waste makes up a staggering 30-40% of the average household general waste bin in West Sussex!
We are currently working with other West Sussex councils to develop a strategy for dealing with food waste. This is in line with the Government's commitment in its recent Environment Act to roll out separate household food waste collection across the country.
As food is such a big topic area we have created a separate section for this. Read our Top Tips for reducing food waste
Find out more
- At Sussex Green Hub in Horsham on the last Saturday of every month there will be a range of environmental services, solutions and advice, along with lots of friendly and welcoming volunteers who want to help you take small green steps to save money and the planet. There's even a community café where you can enjoy a drink and light refreshments. Find out more as well as a wide range of other carbon reduction initiatives taking place across Sussex at the Sussex Green Hub website.
- Visit https://www.swopitup.org/ which aims to support young people from all backgrounds to understand more about climate change and its impact on the planet, to take real environmental action and to make positive life choices.