What's the issue?
What we buy
Everything we buy has an environmental cost. As well as the raw materials involved, things need to manufactured, transported before you even start using it. When we've finished with it, we then have the additional carbon cost of disposing of it.
The most carbon efficient way you can address this is to not buy something in the first place.
What we do with it when we've finished with it
Every time throw something away, something needs to be done with it. It needs to be transported somewhere and then dealt with in some way, possibly recycled or possibly sent to a landfill, where it will continue to cause ecological damage for hundreds of years.
Dealing with waste, does not need to be just about putting something in the right coloured bin.
What we can do about it
Buy second hand
Didsbury has some of the best charity shops in Manchester. You will find nearly new clothes for a fraction of the shop price and no one will even notice.
Have some fun at Christmas or birthdays, by insisting on only second hand presents for the whole family. If you don't like what you get, just take it back to the charity shop!
Make do and mend
Do you need to throw away clothes if they need patching up or don't fit any more. If you don't have the necessary skills, many dry cleaners offer repair and alteration services.
Make the most of your local library
Why buy new books when you can borrow for free? Did you know that you can reserve books online and the library service will notify you when the book is ready for collection. The library even subscribes to a hugs set of magazines that you can download for free if you have a library account.
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We talk about recycling as the environmental choice. It's much better than disposing of course course, but there is much more that we can do. Think about these 4 Rs.
Do I need to buy this?
Can I buy less of it?
Rather than dispose of it, can I reuse it?
If you need to recycle, make sure you know what can go in which bin
There are lots of items that you can't put in the recycling bins. However, there are many schemes around to stop items going into the black bin (destined for landfill).
Terracycle maintain a page with many options for how to you can recycle many products from Gillette razors to disposable pens
Tesco's at Parrs Wood now collect soft plastics that don't go in the blue bin. Just drop them in the collection rack.
Gift your old phone through Community Calling. You phone will be cleaned, wiped and redistributed to someone in need.
The fifth R - Rot
Every thought of composting. Much of what goes into the green bin, doesn't need to. If you've got a garden, get a compost bin and stick the compostable items in there. Saves on transport, processing and landfill.
Find another user
Your unwanted goods are someone else desirable items. Before something goes into the bin, think about how it can be used.