R is for Reducing, Re-using and Recycling

Did you know that every year, the UK produces over 100 million tonnes of waste?

Did you know that we could fill the Albert Hall in London with our waste every two hours?!

And that we could fill Lake Windermere, the largest and deepest lake in England, with our waste every eight months?

For many years, we simply either dumped this waste into landfills (big holes in the ground) or burnt it!

However, we can’t carry on creating this much rubbish, it’s hurting the planet. So we need to find ways to reduce our waste.

It’s easy to do – around 60% of the rubbish that ends up in your dustbin can easily be re-used, recycled or composted.

We can cut the level of our waste by remembering to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle


  • When you’re shopping, always ask yourself, do you need all of that packaging when you’re buying food, or that new carrier bag?
  • When buying food, only buy what you need!
  • Where you can, and when safe, walk more instead of using the car.  This reduces the petrol your parents will use!
  • Switch off electrical items, such as your television and games console, when you are not using them – this will reduce the amount of energy you use!
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – you’ll reduce the amount of clean water being wasted!


  • When you are heading out to the shops, always take with you an old carrier bag.  That way, you don’t need to pick up a new one and pay 5p for it!
  • When something is broken, see if you can mend it instead of throwing it away!
  • And if it can’t be mended, see if you can find a new use for it!
  • Give unwanted items to charity!
  • And re-use scrap paper – remember you can always use both sides of a sheet of paper to draw on!


By recycling, we are using materials from things you don’t need any more to make new products.

Did you know that you can make fleeces and shoelaces from old plastic bottles, and that all newspapers are today printed on recycled paper?

And instead of throwing away your food, you can turn it into really useful compost!

  • Always see if you can buy things made from recycled materials
  • Sort all your rubbish so that the glass, tin cans, plastic and paper can be recycled
  • Think about what other things can be recycled at your local recycling centre, like batteries and ink cartridges
  • Use kitchen waste as compost on the garden.

Click here to find out more about compost!

As well as reducing waste, recycling helps save energy.

Some everyday objects you can recycle include:

  • Glass – including bottles and jam jars (but remember to wash them first!)
  • Plastic – not all plastics can be recycled like plastic wrapping cannot be recycled currently.  Check with your local council what they recycle!
  • Cardboard – including cereal boxes, packing boxes.
  • Paper – including Christmas and birthday cards, newspapers, envelopes, as well as drawing paper.
  • Mobile phones.
  • Old fruit and vegetables in your compost bin.

If we reduce, reuse and recycle we can save energy and also save money!

Did you know that…?

  • 70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials
  • The unreleased energy contained in the average dustbin each year could power a television for 5,000 hours
  • Up to 80% of a vehicle can be recycled

Recycling also causes less pollution than starting from scratch. For example, if we recycle old bottles we can cut pollution by a fifth and halve the demand for water!

Check out this video for more on how recycling works…

Here’s the SciShow Kids on How Recycling Works:

Header imager source: Kevin Dooley

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