1. Buy only what you need
To reduce waste and support a ‘circular economy’, buy only what you need. With so many low-cost goods available, many of us buy new items without thinking carefully about whether we really need them. If you must shop for new goods, buy items made to last and be easily repaired. Steer clear of low quality products that are destined for landfill.
2. Think twice before you buy new
To turn around New Zealand’s poor track record on waste, we need to think about what we’re buying. Do we really need the item? If so, could we buy it second hand or rent or borrow it instead? If we do decide to buy, consider whether the product is designed to last a long time. Can it easily be repaired or ‘unmade’ after use, with the materials either made into something new or returned to nature? This more sustainable concept is called a circular economy system.
3. Donate your unused or unwanted goods (ties in with using retailers that use ethical practices)
Major international brands such as H&M reuse and recycle through their garment collecting initiative. When you drop off your unwanted textiles & clothing in a H&M store, just ask for the garment-collecting box, often located next to the cash desks. You’ll get rewarded with a voucher. Furniture etc can be donated to your favourite local charity shop, refuge or mission.
4. Repair rather than replace if possible
Extend the life of your household item by looking into the cost of repair instead of throwing it into landfill. If it can’t be repaired, then explore where the item can be used for recycling. There are many initiatives for rescuing items, getting them fixed and loaning them out or selling them again. Research businesses that will come and take away any unfixable whiteware items for you – they repurpose workable parts for other repairs.
5. Buy recyclable and recycled where possible
Choose recyclable products and packaging. Recycling them is an easy way to cut waste, but it’s important to check your local councils rules on what can go in your kerbside recycling bin.
Purchase products and packaging already made from recycled materials. In order for recycling systems to be effective, there has to be a market for recycled goods. So keep an eye out when you’re shopping and choose recycled.