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Waste and Zero Waste Shopping

Living with less waste

Around 300 million tonnes of waste comes from UK households each year. This is equivalent in weight to 3.5 million double decker buses. We’re overwhelming our recycling systems and landfill sites, and, with around 40% of UK plastic waste exported abroad, we’re overwhelming countries overseas too.

The average person in the UK produces around 400kg of waste a year - imagine the impact if we worked to bring this national average down!

Discover some of the many EcoSwitches you can make.

Personal hygiene and cosmetics

  • You can buy shampoo and conditioner bars, which can last up to 2x longer than normal shampoo.
  • The average person uses 300 toothbrushes in their lifetime. Try those with bamboo handles, which are biodegradable.
  • Switch your toilet and kitchen rolls to one of the many companies who use recycled paper, manufacture in the UK and fund tree-planting projects.
  • Mooncups, reusable pads etc. are a great sustainable alternative to reduce the amount of period products being flushed away every year.
  • Re-usable razors, where you only replace the blade which can be collected and recycled
  • Re-usable cleansing pads are a helpful swap for normal cotton pads or make up wipes.

Cleaning products

  • Use Loofah plant and coconut husks and fibres for scrubbing the dishes. These are biodegradable, durable, plastic free, free from toxic chemicals and naturally antibacterial.
  • Make your own cleaning products using white wine vinegar, baking soda and water.
  • Use refillable cleaning products, which are available at local zero waste stores.

Food shopping

  • Buy fruit and vegetables that aren't wrapped in plastic - visit the local greengrocers, market or the Food Co-Op on campus.
  • Refill containers with various dry goods at local zero stores including cereals, pulses, pasta, rice, baking ingredients, coffees, teas, and sweet treats. It's often much cheaper than you think!
  • Bring your own hot drinks cups to campus and benefit from the various discounts available from retail outlets.
  • Take your own food to campus in re-usable boxes.

Specialist waste streams

There are lots of local collections of specialist waste streams that you cannot recycle from home. Find out more about these including:

  • Baby food pouches
  • Batteries
  • Bedding
  • Bras
  • Glasses
  • Pet food pouches
  • Pringles tubes
  • Stationary

Useful links

Refill (City to Sea CIC)Link opens in a new window - Find those bottle refill points across the UK and beyond (or add any you find) - there are a number of points at the University for you to refill your bottles and reduce waste.

Plastic Patrol Link opens in a new window - a real world tool that combines citizen science and scientific analysis to help us gather crucial insight into plastic pollution.

Your Rubbish! - for Coventry residents - what goes in what bin and when your bins go out. Download from the iTunes app store for iPhone and iPadLink opens in a new window or the Google Play store for AndroidLink opens in a new window.

Trash Nothing - an app that helps you give items away for them to be reused or grab something that someone else is giving away.

ShpockLink opens in a new window - sell/buy items, make money and reuse.

The Circular Economy ShowLink opens in a new window - The Ellen MacArthur Foundation podcast about a new way to design, make, and use things, and how we can build an economy that's fit for the 21st century.

UN Sustainable Development GoalsLink opens in a new window - Find out more about the 17 UN SDGs and the targets beneath them.