New year, new habits – Try our 31 day Reduce, Reuse, Recycle challenge!

Published: 6 January 2022

Blue bins on street

We’re encouraging the people of Derby to change their rubbish habits and reduce, reuse and recycle

It’s that time of year where many people will be settings resolutions and goals for the year ahead. This year, we’re encouraging the people of Derby to change their rubbish (pun intended) habits and reduce, reuse and recycle more than ever. To help you all get started, we’re kicking off the year with a 31 day challenge!

There are no rules to the challenge - you don’t have to do it in order or try all the suggestions. Any changes you can make are great!

Week one – Reducing waste

Day one: Find your motivation. You’re here, reading this article so (we hope) you want to reduce, reuse and recycle in 2022! Whether you want to save money, reduce your environmental impact or have another reason, write it down to remind yourself.

Day two: Make a simple swap! If you’ve always had your kitchen bin in the same spot, swap it out for a recycling bin or bag instead and put the kitchen bin in a different place. Making little changes like this is one of the easiest ways to create new habits!

Day three: Do you really need it? January sales are underway and there are bargains to be had! But, before you head to the tills or the checkout page stop and think – do I really need this? Every time we buy a product it creates demand and in turn, more waste.

Day four: Make a list and check it twice. If you’re getting ready to do your food shop, take a list with you and stick to it. 70% of wasted food comes from our homes is a huge contributor to climate change. It costs the average family £700 a year too! You can find more food waste reduction info on our website!

Day five: Chill the fridge out. What temperature is your fridge? Keeping your fridge at the right temperature will make food last longer and save you money too. Head over to the Love Food Hate Waste website to find out more.

Day six: Go paperless. If you still get paper bills and bank statements, go paperless instead. Some companies offer discounts to customers that opt for paperless billing.

Day seven: No more junk. If you’re fed up of junk mail (who isn’t?) you can sign up to the Mail Preference service. It’s free and will reduce the amount of paper being pushed through your door. There are other ways to put an end to the junk on the Citizens Advice website.

Week two – reuse more

Day eight: Ditch those disposables. Last year, a new epidemic started in the UK, disposable masks were being littered everywhere! Reusable fabric masks are a much better choice for your pocket and our planet. You can purchase fabric face coverings or make your own. We’ve put together some inspiration on Pinterest.

Day nine: It’s not just coffee cups, straws and face coverings that can be swapped for reusables. Paper kitchen towels, washing up sponges, cling film and more all have reusable alternatives.

Day 10: T-shirt transformations. If you’ve got old t-shirts hanging around, why not have a go at some of these upcycling ideas to turn them into something totally new. You don’t need to be a seasoned crafter or have fancy kit like sewing machines.

Day 11: It’s not just t-shirts that can be transformed. Head over to the Love your clothes website for more inspiration and advice on caring, repairing and recycling clothing.

Day 12: Spring cleaning? Save money. Some cleaning products can cost more than £2 a bottle! Many contain either harsh, harmful chemicals or items you’ve already got in your home. If you’ve got empty spray bottles, reuse them by trying these DIY cleaning products that cost pence, not pounds.

Day 13: Those veggies aren’t scraps. Did you know that lots of veg can be regrown in your kitchen? Onions, lettuce, potatoes can all be given a second life. Better still, complete your food!

Day 14: Remind yourself why. Blue Planet two showed us all the problem of single use plastic and the devastating impact it’s having in parts of our planet. We all have a part to play in protecting our world. The series is available to re-watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Week three – recycle more

Day 15: Make sure you know what you can recycle in Derby. We collect lots of items in the blue bin but not everything that is labelled as recyclable. The most common contaminants (things that we can’t recycle) in our blue bins are:

  • Plastic bags
  • Crisp packets
  • Used nappies

You can take plastic bags back to supermarkets to recycle. There are also some public recycling points for crisp packets. Used nappies should be placed in the black bin or try washables instead. We even offer a cashback scheme for those who want to make the switch to washable nappies!

Day 16: Check your home, not just the kitchen. There are lots of things in other rooms of your home that can be recycled. Shampoo, shower gel and cleaning spray bottles from the bathroom (rinsed out with lids left on) can all be recycled along with toilet roll tubes. Deodorant and air freshener cans, can also be recycled.

Day 17: Make it a habit. You’ve found recycling all around your home. Now make it a habit by keeping a bag or bin in these rooms for recycling!

Day 18: Get more room to recycle. We really want residents to recycle more so if you’re regularly filling up your blue bin, we can give you another one free of charge! Just use our online form to request it.

Day 19: Composting isn’t just for gardens. There are lots of different ways to compost food, garden waste and other organic items! You don’t even need a garden for some of these home composting methods. If composting at home just doesn’t seem right for you, you can register for a free garden and food waste bin and we’ll do the composting for you!

Day 20: Buy recycled and recyclable. When you shop, try to choose products that can be recycled or have been made from recycled products.

Day 21: Give something back. If upcycling isn’t your kind of thing, donate or sell your old items. Some charities will collect unwanted items from your doorstep.
Week four – go the extra mile

Day 22: Set some targets for your home. Find out how effective changes you make are. Perhaps you only want to empty the kitchen bin once a fortnight instead of once a week? Other examples could be reducing the amount of food you throw away or making sure you recycle every toilet roll tube in the house.

Day 23: Refuse, reduce then recycle. Buying items that don’t have packaging (like shampoo bars, loose fruit and veg) helps reduce the volume of packaging and waste altogether.

Day 24: Share your successes (and fails)! If you’ve tried any of our suggestions, snap a picture or video and share it with us on social media. We’d love to hear about what went well and what could have gone better.

Day 25: Fed up of packaging waste? Tell the producer. While government can legislate to reduce packaging waste, you can also get in touch with companies to tell them you want them to reduce the amount of waste they produce through packaging.

Day 26: It’s not just rubbish. We’re all using more power in our lives. Have a look at these top tips from the Energy Saving Trust. You could save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Day 27: Audit your waste. We’re not suggesting you go hunting through your bins instead, make a note of what you’re throwing away most often and if there are any ways you could reduce it.

Day 28: Go plastic free. You might be surprised at just how hard it is to go 100% plastic free but any reduction is better than none. Get started on the Plastic Free July website.

Day 29: Go zero waste. Not throwing anything away seems unimaginable but it is possible. Find out more about going zero waste on the Zero Waste week website.

Day 30: Make a pledge. At the start of the challenge we suggested writing down your motivation for taking on the challenge. Now, make a pledge to yourself or someone else that you’ll carry on reducing your waste and reusing and recycling more. You could even share it with us on social media!

Day 31: Challenge someone else. Encourage a friend or relative to take on the challenge and support them on the journey.

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