Producing new consumer goods often generates a lot of carbon pollution. Take a modern smartphone for example - around 85% of its entire carbon pollution comes from its manufacture, not from using it. By repairing or reusing your current items, you are saying no to the manufacturers and demanding change, favouring a circular economy which is more sustainable, as opposed to favouring the sale of items which become obsolete.

Mend

Clothing - The fashion industry accounts for about 10% of global carbon emissions and around 336,000 tonnes of used clothing in the UK gets thrown in the bin each year! Anything you can do to reduce the number of clothes you buy is vital. Sewing on a button, mending a hole or refashioning a garment completely are great ways to make items last a lot longer.

Learn how to become a sustainable refashionista

Electronics - Fixing your electrical appliances can be great for your pocket and the planet. If you're not sure about fixing something yourself then keep an eye out for local stores and projects that offer a fixing service. Repair Cafe and The Restart Project hold events up and down the country to help people give their items a new lease of life!

Recycle and reuse 

Tins - tins from food can be washed and refashioned into lovely plant or candle holders.
Jars - glass jars can be used to store everything from food, cotton buds, pens and plants.
Plastic bottles -these have endless uses! Cut them open to protect your plants from slugs in the garden, create a bird feeder or get crafty with the kids and make bottle animals!

Say no to single use plastics. 295 billion pieces of plastic are thrown away in the UK every year!

What you can't reuse - recycle! Make sure you make use of all local recycling initiatives, and follow guidance on what you can recycle from home. Community schemes often exist for harder-to-recycle items such as plastic bags or crisp packets.

Image of reusable flask and bag

Learn methods to reduce plastic waste

Upcycle

Furniture - the manufacturing of sofas, wardrobes, tables and chairs has a huge carbon footprint! Fast fashion is a big problem with cheap brands encouraging consumers to keep up with the trends whether or not a new item is needed. So fight the power - and get creative! Recover your soft furnishings and sand down and repolish tables and cabinets. And, if you do want something new - why not think about refashioning some reclaimed wood into a bedside table yourself! Pinterest is a great place to find ideas!

Household items - when something breaks use it as an excuse to get creative! Could the waterproof fabric on a broken umbrella be turned into a tote bag? Could an old sweater become a new cushion cover? How about turning an old wardrobe into a new planter!

Take part in the Waste Free Feb challenge