Shop Smarter – Reduce your waste – increase your savings

The three key principles of being green are to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Some experts would say that the energy involved in recycling makes it an energy inefficient activity itself so our focus should be on reducing and reusing where possible.

Now consider that it can cost upwards on €300 to throw out two bags of rubbish per week for a year in some parts of the country, or nearly €400 for a black wheelie bin to be emptied every week.

Remember though that a green wheelie bin is used for the recycling of dry recyclable household materials and is collected and emptied free of charge. In some areas, the brown bin collection for kitchen and garden waste is also free.

We can make sure that we save our cash by getting more into the green and brown bins and less into the black bins and black rubbish sacks by shopping smarter in the first place. Here are some tips to consider:

Do your shopping in bulk – by buying larger items you’ll end up with less packaging that you’ll eventually have to throw out.

Check the packaging for items you’re buying to make sure they’re recyclable. Even better, check the items themselves to see if they themselves can be recycled.

Buy better quality items that will last longer and won’t need to be thrown out. With so many cheaper quality alternatives available now, the temptation is to buy cheap, use and throw out. Resist!

When food shopping, make sure you shop to a food plan for the week. In the UK it’s estimated that 30% of fresh food purchased is thrown out uneaten and unused.

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2 Responses to Shop Smarter – Reduce your waste – increase your savings

  1. Dermot February 26, 2009 at 12:57 #

    Just to pick you up on a few points with refuse collections, Etc. Not wanting to get into this here, but refuse collection is different in differnt parts of the country. Where I live (County Sligo) we pay €10 per (normal rubbish) wheelie bin liner, which is collected every fortnight, but you don’t have to leave it out every two weeks. I leave my wheelie bin out every four weeks, which therefore costs me about €150 p.a. (allowing for a couple of extra bins through busy periods such as Christmas, Etc.)

    The dry recycling rubbish (green bin) is collected on alternate weeks, i.e., fortnightly also, with bags costing €2.50 each. There are 2 different bags here, one for paper, card, Etc., and another one for plastics, tins, tetrapak (e.g., milk and juice cartons), Etc. I’d probably leave out 3 of these bags a month, costing about €90 p.a.

    There is no kitchen/garden waste collection (brown bin)available here, but I have a home composter for my garden.

    I think your main point, though, about being careful how much packaging, Etc., you use in the first place is the most important thing for all of us to remember.

  2. valueireland March 1, 2009 at 22:21 #

    @Dermot – thanks for your comments. I appreciate that I probably should have been a bit more general regarding the costs etc- I was only going on what I know myself here in Dublin.

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