Reduce your waste

Tips on how to reduce your waste levels through prevention, reuse or recycling.

What is waste prevention?

Reduce, reuse, recycle - you’ve heard it all before but what does it actually mean and how can you do your bit to reduce the waste produced in West Sussex?

Sometimes we focus too much on recycling, meaning reducing waste and reusing items can take a back seat. Here in West Sussex, we want to encourage residents to move their waste up the waste hierarchy and prioritise reuse and waste prevention/reduction.

The waste hierarchy, by Keep Britain Tidy.
The waste hierarchy, by Keep Britain Tidy.

Waste prevention focuses on reducing the amount of waste that you generate at source and means using less material overall. This web page provides information on how to reduce waste at home.

How to reduce your waste

Food - 40% of an average rubbish bin in West Sussex is food waste and 27.7% is edible food which includes food still in the packaging, leftovers and cooked food that didn't get eaten. When food is thrown away it is not just the food that is wasted, it is also the resources that go into producing it. We have loads of tips on how to reduce your food waste on our Fight Against Food Waste web page.

Repair - When an item breaks it can be tempting to throw it away and buy a new one as opposed to taking it to get fixed. Fixing broken items can save you money and reduce your waste, helping to counteract a throwaway culture. Did you know West Sussex has various free repair cafés all run by volunteers? Find more information on repair in West Sussex.

Reuse - Investing in reusable materials is another way to reduce your waste and can even help you save money in the long run. Did you know the average West Sussex household threw away 26kg of disposable plastic bottles in 2021? By making easy switches such as using a reusable water bottle or reusable shopping bag can make a big difference.

Using reusable period products or nappies can make a big difference too. During Arun’s 1-2-3 food waste trial an average of 263kg of AHP material (mainly nappies and period products) was disposed of monthly. Switching to reusable period products and nappies can help residents to reduce their waste. There are lots of reusable alternatives available; you can search online for more information.

Compost it

In West Sussex there are lots of easy options for recycling green waste generated in our gardens and outside spaces:

  • Home compost bins
  • Kerbside collection bins (available through your district or borough council)
  • Green waste skips at recycling centres (RC).

Sometimes our gardens generate green waste that can’t be composted at home. Woody prunings, excess grass cuttings or just the sheer volume of garden waste are when green waste kerbside collection services come in handy.

Home composting

If you have a garden, get a compost bin. By keeping a container in the kitchen to collect your fruit and veg peelings for compost you could reduce your waste by up to 10%. 

Much of your kitchen waste can be recycled in this way, reducing your waste and saving you money by making compost that can be used on your garden. It’s free and an easy way to help the environment and give your garden a natural boost.

We have teamed up with Get Composting to help you buy a composter at a reduced price - a 220 litre compost bin for £22.00 or a 330 litre compost bin for £29.00. 

You can compost:

  • uncooked vegetable peelings and fruit
  • rabbit and guinea pig bedding
  • torn, shredded or scrunched up paper and cardboard
  • coffee grounds and tea bags
  • grass cuttings and young or annual weeds
  • houseplants and flowers
  • finely chopped or shredded shrub prunings
  • wood ash
  • eggshells.

You can't compost:

  • cooked food
  • fish, meat scraps or bones
  • pernicious weeds, such as bindweed, thistle, dock roots, or weeds in seed
  • magazines
  • cat or dog litter
  • large, unchopped woody branches
  • soot
  • coal ash
  • plastics.

Find information on how to compost.