Reducing and Reusing your waste

Small changes in how we deal with our waste and recycling can make a big difference. As well as recycling, it is important to think about reducing and reusing the waste you create first.

The best way of dealing with our waste and recycling is to:

  • Reduce it – take steps to prevent and minimise the amount you create
  • Reuse it – can you or someone else use it again
  • Then
  • Recycle it – put it in your recycling bin or take to a Community Recycling Centre to be made into a new item

Reduce your waste

Reducing the amount of waste and recycling we create in the first place has a big impact on how much has to be treated. Reducing helps the environment and can often help save you money.

Some quick ways to reduce:

  • Do not use single use items such as plastic bottles, plastic wipes and plastic carrier bags - instead use reusable bottles, washable cloths and reusable shopping bags.
  • Buy items with less packaging or recyclable packaging.
  • Repair items rather than buy new ones - this may also save you money.
  • Reduce food waste. Scottish households can save up to £470 a year by making a few small changes and reducing the food they throw away. Find out how you can reduce your food waste
  • Use real nappies - this can save you money.
  • Use reusable sanitary products - there are a number of alternative menstrual products which last for years and can save you money in the long run. Find out more
  • Stop unwanted mail. There are online mail preference services which can help you reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive.  
  • Compost at home - composting your uncooked fruit and vegetable waste and garden waste at home will reduce the amount of waste you produce and create a nutrient rich compost for your garden. Zero Waste Scotland has useful information to help you compost at home. 

Reuse your waste

Lots of the things we throw away haven’t always reached the end of their useful life. Consider if you can use it again or could someone else?

By reusing you can:

  • Help your local community – others can buy high quality items cheaper and the profits often go to a good cause.
  • Save natural resources - by reusing unwanted items first we can help reduce the need to produce new ones.
  • Save money – using something you already have means there is no need to buy a new item. And buying second hand items is often cheaper than buying new.
  • Save energy – a lot of energy goes into the production of new items, by reusing items we don’t need to produce as many new ones. 

Easy ways to Reuse:

Use items you already have

  • Save glass jars to store items,
  • Use clothes again for younger children,
  • Swap books and clothes with friends

Borrow or hire items

Sell items

  • Online - there are a range of websites,
  • Apps which sell straight from your mobile,
  • Go to a local car boot sale

Donate items

  • To local charity shops
  • At textile banks at Recycling Points - even clothes which are too worn to wear can be donated here.  
  • To local furniture reuse organisations such as Home Basics based in Walkerburn and Hawick. They offer a free collection service within the Scottish Borders. Please note furniture may need to meet certain safety standards or regulations.
  • To the bike recycling scheme Just Cycle
  • Using the reuse facilities at some of our Community Recycling Centres. Donated items are checked and distributed to local social enterprises throughout the region. 
  • To reuse organisations- check out Circular Communities Scotland look up
  • Online – there are a number of websites which can be used to offer items to others for free.

Buy second hand items

  • From charity shops, online, car boot sales etc
  • Buy craft materials from Borders Scrapstore located in Selkirk.

Waste and recycling

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 0300 100 1800