Waste Minimisation

Irish Version of Site
Waste Prevention and Minimisation

What is waste minimisation?
Waste minimisation aims to eliminate waste before it is produced and reduce its quantity and toxicity. Waste prevention represents the most favourable waste management option - do not

generate the waste. By not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste. We can also avoid having to pay for these services. Prevention is the primary goal, followed by reuse, recycling, treatment and appropriate disposal.

Why minimise waste?
Population increase and high consumption of products in the developed world has created a global waste problem. Affluence has created effluence - the more we have, the more we have to dispose of safely. Scientists now believe we're producing more waste than the environment can absorb. The benefits of minimising waste include:

  • reducing demand for landfill space,
  • saving resources and energy,
  • reducing pollution, and
  • increasing the efficiency of production.

If each one of us changes the way we think and act, together we can reduce the amount of waste we make and get rid of.


Some simple ways of minimising waste

  • Always carry a reusable shopping bag with you - don't accept every paper bag you are offered.

  • Only buy what you need - buy more & you'll throw it out!

  • Drink tap water instead of bottled water - keep a jug in the fridge.

  • Buy loose fruit & veg not pre-packaged - weigh vegetables separately but put them all in the one bag. Choose products that are minimally packaged or with packaging which can be recycled.

  • Try to source locally produced food to cut down on ‘food miles’ or grow your own

  • Compost organic waste from your kitchen & garden.

  • Choose durable products that will last longer (eg. Choose reusable napkins not disposable ones).

  • Bring a lunchbox to school/work instead of using foil or cling film.

  • When using paper - use both sides of the page. Send emails whenever possible and never print them.

  • Bring old glasses back to the optician for use in the developing world.

  • Bring all your household batteries to the collection points in libraries & offices across the county.

  • Recycle ink jet/toner cartridges & mobile phones through your supplier.

  • Buy a bagless vacuum cleaner or one with reusable/washable bags.

  • Donate books, old clothes & toys to charity shops and jumble sales.

  • Use Styrofoam or broken crockery as drainage in plant pots.

  • Fit a water butt to collect water from the roof. Rain water is better for many plants and you can also use it for washing the car. Use a bucket to wash the car in preference to a hose.

  • Let grass grow a little longer in hot weather to prevent it drying out. Raise the cutting height of your lawn mower and cut it long. If the lawn turns brown in dry weather don’t worry it will green up when the rain returns. Use your grass clippings as a mulch on your lawn or garden to retain the moisture. Water in the evening or on overcast days to prevent evaporation.

  • Grow plants that require less water succulents such as Sedums, Lavender, Hebes, Periwinkle, Iris, Geraniums, Oriental Poppies, Rosemary, Pheasant Grass, Marigolds, Petunias, Alyssum, Campanula, Heuchera, Aquilegia, Evening Primrose, Buddleia, Rockrose, and Thyme. Plants with silver, blue or grey leaves, spiky or furry soft leaves are generally not so thirsty.