LLR monthly challenge: reducing household waste 

The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year.

The decisions we make in our everyday lives have a major impact on the planet.

That’s why we’re determined to make small changes that are eco-friendly, manageable and highly impactful.

There are loads of easy switches you can make to cut down on waste – and our team has noted down their best tips and tricks to make things easier for you.

Here is what they found helpful:


  • We have a weekly meal planner which we fill in on Sunday night. Planning out meals has greatly reduced food waste because we buy exactly what is needed for each recipe and can plan pretty accurately how much will be left over for the following day.
  • Instead of throwing away clothes we no longer use, we keep them for arts & crafts projects for the kids or as cleaning cloths for the house.
  • In our local bakery the bread is usually packed into paper bags but you can also bring your own “bread bag” – we’ve been doing this religiously and have avoided using dozens of paper bags.


  • I try to buy food in bulk that can easily be stored in the freezer once they’re no longer fresh. Bread, chopped vegetables, cooked meals – they’re all great to store away for another day rather than to throw away.
  • I buy almost all my clothes second-hand – shops, eBay and Vinted are all warmly recommended!
  • I am obsessed with Too Good To Go. Buying food off the app takes care of most of my lunch meals, with the added bonus of knowing that you are eating yummy food that would otherwise have unnecessarily gone to waste.


  • I’ve been trying really hard to switch electrical appliances off at the plug each time. It’s annoying because I often forget to switch them back on and wonder why the toast is still bread.


  • I believe one of the most precious contributions I can make as a parent is to teach my kids to not be wasteful. We have invented two names and made them sound french that involve cooking with leftovers. “Restó du ontè” (“restos de ontem” in portuguese or “yesterday’s leftovers”)- no secret here, it just means we are eating leftovers instead of throwing them way. “Le frigorif”- (the fridge) we look for all items inside the fridge that are about to expire and invent a meal. My kids love to pretend we are eating a french gourmet dish, even when it’s scrambled eggs with questionable cheese and leftover rice.
  • We don’t buy any new school supplies just because the school year just started. We try to reuse everything unless it’s completely damaged.


  • I try my best to reduce clothes waste. I’m not a fan of buy cheap buy twice. I prefer to buy something can last for a long time (but ideally not too expensive!).
  • I switch off all the lights that my daughter likes to switch on.
  • I eat a lot less red meat. I think I’ve only had it once or twice this year. I’m considering becoming vegetarian next year. Working on it!


  • Instead of the usual convenient disposable cutlery (plates, glasses, forks, spoons), I purchased washable and reusable recycled plastic items for a recent party. I made a set for each guest, and it was warmly recieved. It’s great – I now I have materials for every new festive occasion!


  • As much as possible, I have my damaged clothes mended (sometimes several times over the years), and I’ve never thrown a garment away because of a minor issue. One year, my birthday present from at least 3 family members was to cover all my mending / refreshing expenses (including changing a full coat lining, re-tailoring a top etc.)
  • The last one is a non sacrifice, really. I hate baths AND long showers, and I thus have one to two 3-minute shower(s) daily, depending on whether I’ve had a workout or not.


  • I’ve tried to reduce plastics by buying a water filter jug. I also use a reusable bottle to ensure I am drinking enough during the day and to take to my Crossfit workouts.
  • I must confess I have been guilty of wasting water – while washing the dishes, brushing teeth, taking showers… I have now become much more aware of it and do my best to turn the tap off whenever possible.


  • Always add extra £ to pick 100% recyclable packaging for deliveries (where available).
  • I’ve filled the car washer fluid from a dispenser at a station rather than buying in massive, poor quality plastic bottles.
  • I use natural or homemade nutrition for training, such as dates and cashews, instead of manufactured bars.


  • We’re re-using glass, plastic and cardboard containers in different ways (to use around the house, store food, make crafts, send parcels, etc)


  • I use a food meal kit to avoid food waste. Before, I’d buy all this food and it would go to waste because I’d forget about it or have too much leftover. Now, I’m sent only the ingredients I need and literally no food goes to waste. Plus, the packaging it comes in is mostly recyclable.


  • I do not like plastic supermarket carrier bags and so never, ever buy these. I prefer to make sure I’ve always got reusable bags with me whenever I shop.
  • I also avoid using smaller plastic bags for fruit and vegetables and will only use paper ones.


  • Our local Tesco has introduced a Soft Plastics recycling point so we’ve been saving our cat food pouches to drop off there – and keep them out of landfill.
  • With a baby on the way, I’ve been chatting to a friend about borrowing a load of their baby stuff – to reduce the amount of new things we need to buy and (hopefully) reduce waste in the longer run.
  • We’ve been refilling our olive oil + laundry detergent bottles at a local co-op instead of buying new.
Share on LinkedIn :
Subscribe to updates:

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Listen + Learn Research: