Grow your own veg if you have time/space - most of us have room to grow a few herbs; bake your own biscuits and cakes; where possible, make your own meals to cut down on packaging from ready-meals.

When shopping, check if there are unpackaged alternatives, e.g. loose fruit and veg and don't then place in a plastic bag; if you do use a plastic veg bag in a supermarket, take it back and reuse several times; then recycle in their bag recycling container when too old to reuse.   Buy from local shops e.g. butcher or Farmers’ Markets or look for a veg box scheme.  Buy larger containers where possible and decant into smaller ones for use. Avoid foods that are double wrapped: some cereals are contained in a bag within a box or teabags in foil, then a cardboard box, then a cellophane wrap.

Use a cloth bag to carry your shopping, buy and use supermarkets' Bags For Life, or at least reuse plastic bags for your next shop. (I keep a folded-up bag in each of my jackets, just in case - Shirley) Buy clothes loose, rather than in cellophane and cardboard wrapping, and save plastic bags for next time you visit a department store.

However, some foods are packaged to keep them fresh or undamaged, reducing food waste. More information here on the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Buy concentrated products (then remember to use less!), buy larger sizes of non-perishables, buy refills.

Select items with less packaging or that which can be reused, composted or recycled. Flat bottomed wine bottles use less glass and some wine now comes in thinner bottles. Some manufacturers use lighter weight plastic bottles.


Bubble wrap can be reused when packaging up gifts to post or sending items you've sold on ebay. Wrap round plant pots to protect from frost. Large pieces can be rwapped round compost bin in winter.

Reuse plastic containers and tins. See here for more ideas about reducing and reusing plastic


Much packaging can now be recycled. If plastic, check if there are any recycling instructions: some Waitrose packaging, e.g. on some pre-packed veg, can now be recycled in the in-store plastic carrier bag container. You do need to read them carefully because there is a real mix of types, sometimes in the same products. Putting the wrong type in a recycling container can mean that the whole lot has to go to landfill. It is not always easy to find plastics symbols - they may be under a label or lid.

Plastic bottles (not rigid plastics) and cardboard can be placed in blue-lidded bin for kerbside collection. More details here.

There is not a local recycling facility for most polythene bags and films (supermarket veg bags, bread bags, bubble wrap etc). However there is a company, Polyprint, that recycles some of these, but you need to post it to them. 

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust head office in Devizes collects coffee packaging (via the Terracycle scheme). They can accept jar lids and the refill packs, ground coffee bags and single-use sachets – the kind that are plasticised aluminium.  They can’t accept the Nespresso capsules or Tassimo pods however.  Anyone can drop their coffee packaging into Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Reception (at Elm Tree Court, Long Street, Devizes, SN10 1NJ) during office hours or post it to them. (Contrib by Emma Croft)

Crisp packets are a nightmare! Terracycle are doing research into turning them into other products (upcycling).


Contributors to this page: Shirley Pryor and system .
Page last modified on Thursday 05 September, 2013 13:52:13 BST by Shirley Pryor.