Waste not only pollutes the air, groundwater and soil – it also releases CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
The amount of waste generated in the EU is growing, now standing at around 3 billion tonnes a year. In the EU as a whole, only 40% of household waste is currently reused or recycled.
- Reuse paper. For rough work or a shopping list, use the back of a used sheet of paper rather than a new one.
- Donate old electrical equipment, for example to schools or community centres, so that others can reuse them.
- Buy rechargeable batteries, which can be reused for multiple charging cycles. Don’t forget to recycle your batteries once they reach their end of life!
- Swap, sell or donate clothes, furniture and household items you no longer need. Instead of buying new, consider borrowing, renting or buying second-hand.
- Recycling saves energy and emissions. Recycling one aluminium can saves 90% of the energy needed to produce a new one. Recycling 1 kg of paper instead of landfilling it avoids almost 1 kg of CO2 emissions, as well as methane emissions.
- Check what types of waste can be recycled in your area. Remember to separate glass, paper, plastics and cans from the rest of your waste. Recycling facilities are now able to accept more and more kinds of plastic – check yours for details.
- Don't throw out electronic devices. Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials that can be recycled, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Take them to a local collection point or back to the retailer.
- Recycle your car battery when you need a new one. Old tyres can usually be recycled too.
- Compost. Your organic waste – such as fruit and vegetables, eggshells or coffee grounds – is much better off in a compost heap at home than in a landfill site. In a compost heap, exposed to air, the waste decomposes and will become a natural fertiliser. In a landfill, without air, it ferments and then emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.