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The most important part of managing waste is to not produce it in the first place! By preventing waste, we remove the need to either recycle or dispose of it in a landfill. Reducing waste involves making choices. These choices are the choices you make every time you go shopping. For example:

  • Try to choose loose fruit and veg instead of bying it in plastic punnets with shrink wrap.
  • Many washing powders and liquids now come in a concentrated form- this reduces the amount of wrapping. Some are also available as refills.
  • Photocopying double sided. It is common sense of course as it also saves money, but it is surprising how often people just hit the "copy" button when printing a large document. In a normal working year if you were to copy just one two-page document every day double sided, you would use 250 less pages. If you consider that a large organisation may produce literally millions of photocopied pages every year, there are huge reductions to be made.
  • Rechargeable batteries are a great way to cut down on waste- in this case, hazardous waste. The quality of rechargeables is improving all the time, meaning that the number of times they will fully charge is increasing.

Food waste in particular is avoidable. The amount of food people in Ireland throw out is incredible. About 35% of what goes into our refuse bin is organic- that means it is either food waste or garden (green) waste. When it comes to the food waste part of this, the best estimate is that between €700 and €1,000 worth of food is thrown out by families in Ireland every year! So what can be done about this?

A very good place to begin is the Stop food Waste website: www.stopfoodwaste.ie This is a great site that explains the issues in detail as well as providing a wide range of solutions to the problem. This includes advice on buying, storing and cooking food to minimise waste. The recipes are great because they show how a range of food items that are in the fridge or the press but need to be used up soon can be turned into tasty meals. It also has information on gardening to reduce green waste.

Another way of reducing waste is to reduce unsolicited mail, or junk mail as many people call it.

The Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA) are able to stop junk mail from arriving at your home.  There are two ways of doing this.

Firstly, you can go to www.idma.ie and fill in an online form you you can click on the link below and download the a Mail Preference Form.  Simply print off this form and complete with your information. 

Then simply send it back in the post, free of charge, to the following address: 

Mailing Preference Service,
IDMA,
8 Upper Fitzwilliam St,
Dublin 2.
 

Alternatively, or if you can not download the form,  you can ring the Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA) directly on 01- 6610470. They will send a Mailing Preference Form out in the post and once this is completed and returned your name will be removed from their database of which serves approximately 280 companies. The MPS form only covers mail originating in Ireland.

For other companies which are not members of the IDMA or for mail originating outside of Ireland it is more difficult to put a stop to junk mail. You can write to the individual companies as they are legally obliged to respond and remove your name from their database within 40 days. It might also be worth finding out from advertisers who they are using to distribute their flyers. You can then ask them not to deliver to your address. Many people choose to put "no junk mail" signs at their letterbox as it should certainly reduce the amount of unsolicited mail you receive.