Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Refuse






We hear a lot about how we should all be working to reduce what we use of the earth’s natural and non-renewable resources. Some things we can probably do without too much difficulty and every step is worthwhile. The bonus being that as well as protecting the earth’s resources this will also reduce CO2 emissions and so help to slow down climate change.

There are well publicised things like turning off lights and taps, turning down the heating and reducing the volume of baths and the length of showers. These are all important and individual effort does make a big difference.

Then there are more complicated things like reducing food miles which probably also reduces the range of foods available to us. Eating food which is locally grown and in season is usually the most environmentally friendly form of food use plus it helps the local economy.

Reduce waste of anything – food, all purchases, packaging, fossil fuels.

We should lobby suppliers to not use as much packaging and where they need to it should be of recycled and recyclable materials. Or better still we should take our own containers to places like Rugby Unwrapped or at Flore (not only coffee related items) . Please let YEG know of any others.

Some containers, like that for Carex antibacterial handwash, can be re-used by buying refill pouches which can be recycled eg. at Clifton Primary School. Also online at e.g. Funky Soap Company and Fiils Please let YEG know if you come across other examples.

The ultimate aim would be to reduce the amount of all goods that we buy and be selective about what we think we really need.


The mantra of ‘waste not want not’ is valid now as another way of reducing waste.

We might have had enough of an item ourselves but often it is just what someone else needs and the Facebook local village notice boards,
Gumtree and Freecycle are ideal for this, as well as passing items on to charity shops etc. eg. British Heart Foundation in Rugby takes furniture and other large items and Age UK at Hunters Lane Recycling Centre take all manor of items.

Food and other containers can be re-used for unwrapped purchases from refill outlets. Some retailers offer reusable non-plastic containers that can be refilled with their products. Have a look at Funky Soap Company and Fiils

We may be able to re-use some things ourselves for different purposes eg containers in the garden, fabrics.


Before you throw anything away think about whether it can be repaired. Sometimes Reduce/Re-use can be helped by repairing. Some areas have a local Repair Café. There is one in Rugby, which opens once a month in St. Andrew’s Church:

Please let YEG know if you come across any other similar facilities locally. Also any less usual items you have had repaired. We cannot recommend repairers but we can list them for people to verify for themselves.


Some items simply cannot be re-used or repaired and where possible these should be recycled. There are more possibilities for this than it at first appears. Not everything can go into our West Northamptonshire Council bins but the list on the Council website is quite extensive:

Clifton Primary School PTA recycles crisp packets, terracycle packaging, some cheese wrappers

Soft Plastic Packaging such as clean crisp packets, carrier bags, salad bags, bread wrappers can easily be recycled at large supermarkets

Plastic coffee maker pods can be recycled via Podback

There are now more eco-friendly fuel options for open fires and log burners e.g. Homefire Ecoal which produces less smoke, less C02 more heat and lasts longer than either coal or wood and is made using crushed olive stones, a natural waste product. It is available locally e.g. KG Smith and Son, Hartwell.

There are also ‘logs’ made from coffee waste and other natural and renewable resources. 

A website which has lists of local re-cycling centres for numerous items

Medicine Blister Packs (those foil and plastic wrappers that pills and tablets come in) can now be recycled from home for free via a scheme sponsored by Aldi

Do you ever wonder what happens to our recycling after it leaves Yelvertoft?

The collection lorry takes it to Daventry where it is unloaded and stored until it is loaded onto a larger vehicle (20 tonne capacity) to take it to Norse’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Norwich. There it is sorted into different types (paper, card, plastic etc.) and taken on to processors elsewhere to be made into a commodity for re-use. The first link below shows what happens at the MRF and the second where the material then goes for re-processing.


The use of plastics took off in the 1950s and since then some 9 billion metric tones of plastic products have been produced more than half of which has ended up as waste. In the UK 9.4 million tons of plastic is placed on the market each year of which  three quarters becomes waste. As such the UK is a major contributor to the plastic waste problem. Our population is only the twenty second largest in the world but we are the 8th largest producer of plastic waste.  

We can all make difference by, where possible, REFUSING to buy single use plastic products and products sold in plastic packaging and looking for alternatives, which can often be found in local shops and refill stores.