Manage resources more efficiently to reduce your carbon footprint

Managing how we use our food, water and waste more efficiently can help to reduce our carbon footprint.

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Every item we buy has an environmental footprint. From the raw material mined to create it, to the pollution emitted during production, to the packaging that ends up in landfill.

Lower the amount you throw away to reduce carbon emissions associated with production and conserve natural resources and landfill space by following the five ‘R’s’

  • Reduce

  • Reuse

  • Repair

  • Recycle

  • Refuse



6% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from household water supply and use (estimate by Waterwise in 2021).

90% of this water related emissions is derived from the way we use water at home through heating water and the use of appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and electric showers.


You can conserve water by following these top tips:

  • Taking shorter showers

  • Turning off taps when not in use, including brushing your teeth - a running tap uses around 9 litres of water a minute

  • Running washing machines and dishwashers when there is a full load

  • Fitting a water butt to collect rainwater from your roof  - this can be used as a better solution to water your plants as it reduces the amount of treated water you use

  • Washing fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water so the water can be recycled for another purpose

  • Checking regularly for leaks on your internal plumbing

  • To support households, water suppliers Severn Trent are subsidising products such as water butts.


Producing, transporting, and disposing of uneaten food releases 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and in Leicestershire, around a third of rubbish in black bins is food waste.

In Leicestershire, around a third of rubbish in black bins is food waste.


Taking simple steps can help reduce waste and emissions and save you money with Love Food Hate Waste tips and advice on how to reduce food waste including preparation, portion sizes, understanding food dates, and storing food in the best way. You can also find out how to use leftovers to create tasty meals.

Find out how to compost vegetable and fruit peelings - a great way of helping the environment with the added benefit of producing a free-soil conditioner for your garden.

Plant-based alternatives

A meat rich diet generates considerably more carbon emissions than a plant-rich diet. Studies also suggest that high-fibre, plant-based diets are also better for your health.


Consider substituting meat with plant-based alternatives by making one dinner a week meat-free, replacing meat in your favourite casseroles with beans or lentils or making vegetables the main in your stir-fry instead of chicken.

Find plant-based diet recipes to help you on your journey.



5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprints are caused by clothing production.


Give clothes another life by swapping, borrowing, renting, or buying second-hand.

Love Your Clothes starts with buying smarter. This means choosing clothes which are well made and easy to care for. These clothes don’t have to be bought new but can be bought at a charity shop or on online sites such as eBay, Vinted, and Facebook Marketplace at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, you could hire something, especially if it’s for a one-off occasion.

There’s plenty of information on reducing your clothes impact, with handy tips and guides on the Less Waste website


By repairing items instead of buying new, you eliminate the entire production process and the associated carbon emissions.

Common repairs you can do yourself include:

  • Clothes – you’ll find lots of relevant advice on caring for your clothes on the Love Your Clothes website, including information on washing, drying and ironing and stain removal.

  • Furniture – like fast fashion, ‘fast furniture’ is increasingly becoming more common leading to higher disposal rates. Before throwing away furniture, consider whether it can be fixed at home. YouTube is a great source of information for tutorials and step-by-step walkthroughs on quick fixes.

  • Household Appliances – Similarly, there is an abundance of small appliance and machine repair advice on the internet as well as the opportunity to buy small repair components at ease and cheaply online. If your appliance has reached end of life, refer to our A to Z guide on how to safely dispose of it.


Currently, Leicestershire’s recycling rate is 43% (2020). Therefore, there is a drastic need to improve our recycling habits at home, in schools and at workplaces.


Here are some top tips to help you get the most out of your recycling:

  • If you need to dispose something but not sure of your options, use our A to Z guide which covers some of the items that cause confusion, or take a look at our recycling guide on our Less Waste website.

  • Items for recycling should be clean and dry, so make sure to empty food and drink containers, give them a quick rinse and then leave to drain before recycling.

  • Remember to put lids back on to jars and bottles before popping them in your recycling bin.

  • Avoid contamination by selecting the right bin. Disposable nappies, food waste and textiles should never go into your recycling bin.

To learn more about what you can do to stop valuable resources going to waste, visit the Less Waste website

Refuse single-use items

Single-use items are damaging to the environment as they are disposed of after just one use irrespective of the time, energy and effort gone into producing, exporting/importing these products. This can be especially harmful when items are made from non-recyclable material.


It is important to seek alternative reusable items where possible to help cut waste and reduce emissions associated with production.

The most common reusable items you can swap in your household are:

  • Refillable water bottles instead of single-use bottles.

  • Reusable storage boxes instead of single-use plastic snack bags – perfect for school lunches and picnics.

  • Reusable cloth towels instead of ordinary paper towels.

  • Washable cotton pads and face clothes instead of cotton pads/wipes – these can be washed and used again and again. 

  • Reusable shopping bags and tote bags instead of single-use plastic bags.

  • Silicone bowl covers instead of cling film.


Go a step further by visiting refill stations in Leicestershire. Some examples include:

Ekojoe, Gladstone St, Fleckney, Leicester LE8 8AG

Refill Revolution, 65 St Mary's Road, Market Harborough, LE16 7DS

NEXTGEN Refill Station in Market Bosworth, No. 3, Wheatsheaf Courtyard, Market Place, CV13 0LR