Reduce your waste

In Herefordshire around 62% of items thrown into the general rubbish bin could have been reused, recycled or composted. View our waste statistics and average bin make up.

Reducing this waste, at home or at work, can go a long way to helping reduce our impact on the environment.

There are lots of ways to make a real difference from thinking differently about what you buy, to using reusable items and home composting. Some simple swaps are likely to help you save money too.

Check how you're doing

Complete our simple waste audit to see if you are recycling all you can - and see where you can make changes to reduce the waste you produce at home.

Download the waste audit

Visit Herefordshire Zero Carbon and Nature Rich to see the county-wide Waste action plan - and for examples of how others are reducing waste around the county.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

The waste hierarchy encourages a focus on reduce and reuse. Recycling as much as possible is fantastic but we need to start focusing on preventing the waste in the first place. Putting items in our recycling and general rubbish bins should be seen as the last resort.Illlustration of waste hierarchy - Reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, disposal - with reduce the first action to take

Reduce

We can make the biggest impact on our waste reduction, if we don't create it in the first place.

Quick tips to reduce household waste

  • Know your fridge - check what needs using before it goes out of date
  • Create meal plans for a week to include items which need eating soonest - Visit Love Food Hate Waste for ideas on how to store food correctly so it lasts longer or search for recipes to help you meal plan and use your left overs
  • Make and stick to a shopping list when you shop
  • Try buying loose vegetables and fruit
  • Look out for shops which let you refill bottles, tub, jars to avoid single use plastic bags
  • Buy better quality products that are going to last

If you have something you don't need - could it be used by someone else? From spare windfall apples, food you can't use before it goes out of date, to clothing, furniture or household items. The next option is Reuse.

Reuse

Many things we throw away haven't reached the end of their useful life. Think before you throw it away, could someone else make use of it or could the item be repaired if it's broken?

Quick reuse suggestions

  • Challenge the throw away culture and start embracing the idea of reuse and repair
  • Offer items to family/friends or donate or sell on social media sites such as Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, Freecycle, Ebay
  • There are reuse containers for items in good condition at Hereford, Leominster and Ledbury household recycling centres. Kington has a collection point for bicycles only. Items are collected by local charities.
  • Check our directory of local reuse organisations and repair cafes

If items can't be reused or repaired you can use our recycling A-Z to see if and where it can be recycled or if it's accepted in your green recycling or black waste bin or at one of our household recycling centres.

Recycle

Recycling is quite far down the waste hierarchy because producing new products from waste takes a lot of energy. But it still has far less impact on the environment than if the item goes to landfill or is burnt in our energy from waste facility. And if you can't reduce, reuse or repair - it's the next best thing.

Items can only be recycled so many times. A plastic tub is turned into a new product only once or twice before the quality of the product is compromised.

Check our recycling A-Z to see if and where an item can be recycled.

Quick recycling facts

  • We currently recycle 41% of the 87,000 tonnes of waste collected from Herefordshire households and businesses
  • Most of the waste that is taken to our household recycling centres is recycled. Wood is turned into chipboard or used as animal bedding, metals and plastic are stripped from fridges/freezers to create new items
  • Garden waste taken to our household recycling centres is turned into soil improver which is available to purchase at any of the sites
  • We are in a waste partnership with Worcestershire County Council and all of your collected recycling goes to Envirosort where the different materials are separated before they are sent to specialist recycling facilities. Watch this video to see the items being sorted

and tips

  • Home composting is a good way to recycle appropriate food and garden waste, if you have space. Check our garden waste and composting page to see what you can compost
  • When purchasing new appliances, check whether the old one can be taken away to be recycled
  • Some electrical retailers are part of a take-back scheme, meaning you can return items to them for free disposal. Check with your local retailer

Recover

Most of our county's waste which can't be reused or recycled is used as fuel to generate energy.

This process takes place at an energy from waste (EfW) plant. Herefordshire's waste for recovery is sent to EnviRecover, where it is incinerated and creates electricity (energy). View the recover process.

Recovery is right near the bottom of the hierarchy because, once the materials have been burned, they're gone and can't be used again.

Disposal

Any waste that is collected from households or household recycling centres that cannot be recycled or reused is sent to landfill.

Severn Waste Services manage and monitor our landfill site at Hill & Moor, in Pershore, Worcestershire to make sure it's safe and meeting all of the required legislation. Any methane which is given off as a result of the waste decomposing is collected and turned into electricity.

Landfill sites are the earliest form of waste management, but we now know that these sites aren't good for our planet. This is why we are encouraging people to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.