Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 

This is a common phrase that we hear a lot when talking about how we can minimise our negative impact on the environment and tackle climate change. But what does it actually mean in practice? 

Here is our handy guide of how you can reduce, reuse, recycle in a simple and easy way!


Reduce means reducing the amount of waste you create in the first place. By making small changes in your life, you can easily reduce the amount of waste you produce to help towards a better climate and a better world.


Reuse means having non-disposable items that can be used again and again or breathing new life into items that you want to get rid of—whether you pass them on to someone else or create something new for yourself!


Recycling is the last resort after reducing and reusing. Recycling enables us to take old materials and make new products instead of wasting the valuable resources.


Here are our tips of simple changes you can make:

1. Use refillable water bottles and coffee cups. On average in the UK we use a whopping 35.8 million plastic bottles and 7 million disposable coffee cups per day. If not recycled properly or littered, these materials have a major impact on our environment. By swapping to refillable we can nip this problem in the bud and protect our climate

2. Only buy what you need and use what you buy. Not only will you save money but you will also create less waste in the long run

3. Buy loose fruit and vegetables and avoid items that are heavily packaged. About 70% of food wasted in the UK comes from homes, with fruit and veg being the biggest offender. By buying loose you can buy exactly the amount you need AND reduce your usage of plastic packaging

4. Go paperless. By signing up to paperless with billing, banking and and for other correspondence.  Paper is made by cutting down trees, so by going paperless we can reduce the demand for paper and save trees from being cut down in the first place

5. Buy products with refillable packaging. Many brands now offer refillable packaging for their products at supermarkets and you can also go to places like zero waste shops where you can refill your favourite foods, cleaning products, toiletries and more with containers you bring.

6. If you are able, try home composting your food waste. Home composting is a great way from saving your food waste from going in the bin. You can then use your compost for your own gardening or share amongst friends and loved ones. Check out our home composting page for more tips.

7. Buy second hand clothing. Instead of buying fast fashion, you can reduce waste by buying secondhand clothing from charity shops or from online vintage shops such as Vinted or Depop. You can save money and waste and also find vintage fashion items that will be the envy of all your friends!

8. Try replacing buttons and mending faulty clothing rather than buying new. It is always better to fix or mend an item than simply get rid of it. This way you reduce waste and you can keep wearing your favourite clothes without saying goodbye.


Here are our tips on how to reuse:

1. Donate items that are still in a good, usable condition to charity shops. Clothes, furniture, electricals, books and many more items are accepted at charity. Not only will you be reducing waste, but you will be making a difference and will give your items to a new loving home

2. Sell items you don’t want anymore. If you have particularly good quality items, you can sell them online, at specialist shops, or at a carboot sale instead of throwing it straight in the bin. You get money, the person buying gets what they want and waste is reduced—everyone wins!

3. Repurpose glass, plastic and cardboard containers to give them another life. Items such as scrap materials or used packaging can be repurposed into something new. For example, a glass food jar could be painted and made into a beautiful candle holder, or a yoghurt pot with a lid can be washed and used again as tupperware. The possibilities are endless!

4. Use a reusable shopping bag. Plastic bags take many years to decompose and if littered/not recycled properly they can release toxins into the soil when left in the sunlight. To stop this, opt for a tote or fabric bag that can be used again and again when shopping.

5. Reuse wrapping paper or gift bags. Save your wrapping paper or gift bags and use them to wrap up your loved ones gifts. Not only with they get a lovely present but will receive the gift of sustainability.

6. Convert old clothing, towels, sheets and textiles into something else. You can cut up and sew old textiles that are beyond repair to create new things such as cleaning cloths, a tablecloth or even a comforting blanket. 

7. Use reusable items that have a long life. Things such as rechargeable batteries and swapping out disposable plates, cups and cutlery at parties for the real deal goes a long way in reducing waste and helping the environment.


There are many ways in Sheffield to recycle, including kerbside bins, HWRCs and bring sites. Take a look below to see which items and materials you can recycle and where to recycle them….

Kerbside Bins
In Sheffield we have a blue bin, brown bin and a green bin which is a subscription only service. You can find out more about what materials can be recycled in each bin on the link below.

Household Waste Recycling Centres
The HWRCs are where you can take harder to recycle items such as wood, electrical items, furniture and much more. These centres are perfect for those items that aren’t good quality enough to donate to charity or sell on. For more information of what you can recycle and where the centres are please click below.

Bring Sites
Bring sites are perfect for taking that extra recycling you have if you don’t have enough space in your bin or if you are on the go and have recyclable materials. At these sites you can recycle materials such as plastic, paper/card, textiles, glass bottles and more. To find your nearest bring site please click below.

REMEMBER if you put recycling on the floor at any bring site you can be fined £400 as this is considered flytipping.