Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle

In order to tackle our waste issues. There are five practiced steps that can help you become a zero waster and improve everyday sustainability. Take a look at the 5 steps and methods used to reduce waste in your life.


Step one in the journey to zero waste and living sustainably is saying no. Refusing to waste valuable materials as well as those materials that are harmful to the environment is the first step to cut out waste from your life. Refusing is all about saying no to buying single-use plastics, like disposable bags, straws, cutlery, and cups, as well as unnecessary paper waste like receipts over E-receipts or junk mail.

The process of saying no can be difficult but the key is to be prepared. Although plastic cutlery and paper plates might seem like the most efficient choice for a picnic because it will save you time on the washing up, you’ll just be wasting unnecessary materials. Saying no to these single-use items will help you to become a green zero waster.

It’s important to understand that refusing doesn’t mean saying no to everything. But instead saying yes to sustainable goods and services. Like your reusable picnic set or buying the loose fruit and veg instead of the multi-pack bags.


Reducing what we use takes us to the second step of living a zero-waste lifestyle and achieving sustainability in our everyday lives. By reducing what you waste, you are protecting the earth finite resources by saving resources like, water, energy, and materials.

Reducing separates, the want from the need. It teaches you to shop with purpose and avoid wasteful spending on clothes and food, which can prove costly to the environment. Before buying something, it’s important to consider the lifespan of the product. If you’re planning on only using or wearing something once, then it’s probably not worth it. What’s more, you now have the option to rent clothes, perfect for special occasion dresses!


Once you have decluttered your life, it’s time to swap the single-use items for reusable ones. There are numerous reusable alternatives for your single-use items, that this step could be the easiest in the journey and over time could help you save some money.

This means swapping your plastic bottles for a permanent one, changing to wax wraps instead of clingfilm or even ditching those plastic straws for metal ones. With so many possible solutions, be creative with the possibilities because chances are there will be a savvy swap for you to make to take you one step closer in your zero-waste journey.


Sometimes the things we once loved, don’t interest us anymore. Step four is simple and is all to do with upcycling and rehoming. You probably own a few things that you no longer use or wear so alter them and turn them into something new. Up-cycling clothes is a fun way to revamp your wardrobe whilst not costing a fortune.

As well as upcycling, rehoming is equally as important. Taking unwanted belongings to a charity shop or donating them is a great way to stop your waste from going to landfill and instead can bring joy to someone else.

Alternatively, you can also sell your unloved items to help them find a new home. E-commerce sites like eBay and Depop can be a great way to make money from your unwanted goods and prevent them from going to waste.


The final stage in the journey to zero-waste is recycling. Hopefully, if you have followed all the previous stages you shouldn’t have much left. What you do have leftover, you can recycle (only if able to do so).

Remember that anything made from metal, wood, most plastics, paper and cardboard, and electronic e-waste are all likely to have a recycling option. Just check with your council regarding what they do and don’t accept!


Following these steps gives you the option to minimise your waste footprint and reduce your overall impact on the planet. Helping you to achieve sustainability in everyday life. There is always something more we can do to protect the planet and use less stuff.


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