The Three Rs of the Circular Economy


Every year, roughly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the manufacture and disposal of the things we buy or ‘consume’. When you’re finished using it, it will often be disposed of as waste. A lot of waste is difficult to break down and re-use, especially electrical equipment and components.

The first and easiest way to reduce waste is not to buy things in the first place. Before buying something, consider how long you will likely use it for, and if it is really essential. Many of the things we throw away are difficult to break down and contain valuable raw materials. Another easy action is to opt out of junk mail, this can be achieved by contacting:


The second way to reduce household waste is to consider ways to repair, upgrade and re-use the things you already have – rather than buying new.

  • Mending items that are broken – or having someone else repair them for you.
  • Buying second hand – this can be especially beneficial for things which are expensive to purchase brand new as these tend to devalue quickly so you are likely to make a good saving. Cars, bicycles, smart phones and electrical appliances are good examples.
  • Second-hand clothes have become very fashionable. Visit one of the charity shops in Congleton (North West Ambulance Service, Oxfam, Cancer Research, Barnardo’s, YMCA and League of Friends for Macclesfield and Congleton Hospital) or try one of these popular websites.

Quick wins include:

  • Switching to rechargeable batteries – will cost a little more initially, but will save you money in the long run. 
  • Avoiding using single use plastics and bulky packaging. Try to take your own shopping bag and reusable containers when you go shopping.
  • Use Freecycle if you have unwanted items that you don’t wish to sell and cannot recycle.


Recycling does make a difference. Currently, roughly 45% of household waste is recycled in the UK, (52% in Cheshire East) but some households are still not in the habit of recycling. In Cheshire, all non-recycled waste is incinerated. Much of our packaging is worth recycling as the energy savings compared to making it from scratch are quite large – up to 95% saving in the case of aluminium and 25% for glass. Paper and many plastics can also be recycled through our household recycling bins.