When it comes to reducing rubbish, our local community is a great place to start. The more we can share ideas and resources, the more we can all benefit, and at the same time, keep useful items away from disposal.

Community centres and other public places may have talks and advice sessions about how to reduce waste and save money, or may be able to point you towards local organisations that can help. Look out for posters and notices in public places and items in your local paper to find out what’s on and how you can get involved.

If you have reusable items you want to get rid of, or you would like to receive items for your home, why not talk to your neighbours or attend a give and take day? This will not only help to reduce waste in your local area, but could also save you a lot of money.

See below to find out more.


Reducing the amount of rubbish you produce at home (i.e. avoiding or preventing waste in the first place) is both the most environmentally friendly and also the most cost-effective option.

By thinking differently about what you buy, how you can re-use items yourself or donate to others to reuse and how to make composting at home work for you – there are lots of ways to make a real difference:

  • Before you shop – think about how you could reduce the amount of rubbish you create. For example, you could buy things loose or with less packaging. There is a huge range of second-hand shops and outlets in Norfolk as well as a growing network of repair and refurbishment individuals and community groups.
  • Reduce packaging – making a choice to buy products with less packaging can reduce your rubbish by as much as a third and save money.
  • Reduce food waste – think about what is ‘avoidable’ and ‘unavoidable’ food waste and set yourself a goal to reduce avoidable food waste.
  • Reusable bags – take a canvas, cotton or reusable plastic bag with you to the shops to avoid having to buy a disposable one.
  • Opt out of junk mail – Follow our five easy steps to reduce the amount of mail you receive.


Reusing items that you already have is a great way of reducing the amount the rubbish mountain. It can also save you money.

Instead of taking your unwanted items to the tip, try selling them on sites like eBay or Gumtree or donate them through sites like FreegleFreecycle.

Eight of Norfolk’s Recycling Centres now have Reuse Shops, where you can donate your unwanted items instead of dumping them and pick up a bargain at the same time! Our growing network of Reuse Shops are at: Ashill, CaisterDerehamHemptonKetteringhamKing’s LynnMayton Wood, Strumpshaw and Thetford.

Having a clear-out? Check out our Bin Genie to find out where you can take unwanted furniture and household goods to those in need. Or advertise your old furniture in your local paper or on websites such as Freecycle or Freegle.

Or try these ideas

  • Hold a Give and Take Day – Invite people in your local community to donate their unwanted, reusable items and take away items they want and have a use for without having to buy them. Give and Take Days can include a range of different types of items or can focus on a particular type, for example books, furniture, shoes, CDs, DVDs, etc
  • Host a Swishing Event – Swishing is a great way to swap your old unloved clothes for different ones. It involves a group of people bringing along their nice, clean, presentable clothes that are lurking unloved at the back of their wardrobes and swapping them with each other. For more information, visit the Swishing.org website
  • Organise a Garden Produce Swap Day – Do you grow your own fruit and vegetables? Do you always end up with too many of one type of vegetable and wish you could swap it for something else? A Swap Day enables local gardeners to swap their excess courgettes for someone else’s excess carrots, or their apples for some pears
  • Hold a Jumble Sale or a Car Boot Sale – Help people in your local community clear out some of their unwanted items and sell them to others who need them
  • Organise a Knit and Natter – Arrange a group meeting used to develop local skills to mend and repair clothing or to create new items; it gives experienced knitters the opportunity to share their knowledge with beginners
Image of a handmade rag rug, clicking this image will open a pdf instruction guide

Image of a rag rug from Homemakermagazine.co.uk

  • Rag Rugging – Have a go at this traditional technique to create a stylish shopping bag or a funky rug. It’s fun to do and a great way to use up fabric scraps or recycle torn clothes that are beyond repair. Click the image to download the instructions:


Help promote recycling and to reduce the amount of waste going for disposal.

  • Set up a Community Composting Scheme – Community composting enables local communities to collect garden material from households in the community, take it to a community site and make it into compost for use in their own gardens
  • Install local recycling banks and collect recycling credits – Norfolk County Council pays recycling credits to organisations who collect recyclable materials. This helps us save on the cost of disposing of rubbish and helps Norfolk to recycle more and become more sustainable. Recycling banks can collect a wide range of household recyclable items, such as paper and cardboard, glass, cans and tins, textiles, shoes or plastics and recycling credit can be paid to non-profit groups like:
    • Charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises
    • Churches
    • Guides and Scouts
    • Parish councils and district councils
    • Schools
    • Community organisations (for example community composting groups)

In 2018/19 Norfolk County Council paid over £7.8m in recycling credits to district councils and non-profit organisations like charity shops and voluntary groups.  This equated to over 173,000 tonnes sent for recycling, composting or reuse. Click here for more information about Recycling Credits.