By thinking about what we buy, we can reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. Take the following steps when you shop to reduce the amount of waste you take home:
- Make a list before you go shopping. It will help you buy only the items which you are likely to use.
- Use a reusable bag instead of taking plastic bags each time you shop. Currently in the UK an estimated 13 billion free plastic bags are given out each year. To reduce the number of bags ending up in landfill, many shops are now selling their own "bag for life" or you can purchase one of the partnership's own reusable cotton bags from your local council office and some local grocers. For further information on carrier bags, see the factsheet below.
At the shops
- Always check "use by" dates. Buy food with a long enough date so that you have time to eat it.
- Don't be lured by special offers. Only purchase 'Buy One Get One Free' items if it is something you always use. Many of the BOGOF offers often end up in the bin as they are not consumed before the use by date.
- Buy items that come with little or no packaging such as fruit and vegetables, or with recyclable packaging such as glass bottles. Visit the packaging page to find out more about packaging, why some packaging is essential and what manufacturers and supermarkets are doing to reduce it.
- Buy concentrated products such as fabric conditioner, soups, tomato purees and squash.
- If it is convenient, source locally produced items as these tend to come with less packaging and have travelled less distance than imported products, therefore helping to reduce your carbon footprint too! Visit www.bigbarn.co.uk to find your local farm shop.
- Buy second hand goods from charities and reuse organisations, second hand shops or from web based reuse schemes.
- When you can, buy refillable products such as washing powder and hand wash. They are often cheaper and save on the container each time you buy the product. For further information on refills see the factsheets below.
- Buy your milk from your local milkman. To find your local milkman visit www.findmeamilkman.net
- Avoid buying disposable items such as plastic plates, cups and cutlery, single use cameras, razors, batteries, etc and use reusable alternatives instead.
- Choose longer lasting products. For example, low energy light bulbs not only cut your electricity bills but also last up to eight times longer than normal bulbs.
- Choose items which are packaged in recycled materials where possible. Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk or www.recycledproducts.org.uk to find recycled products.
- Buy cheese, ham, bakery, and fish from the delicatessen, bakery counter or fish counter, so you can specify the amount you require.
- Buy washing powder, washing up liquid and toilet rolls in bulk to save on packaging and your pocket.
- Instead of buying books and DVD's borrow them from your local library. To find your local library visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries or www.york.gov.uk/libraries