Reduce, reuse and recycle - cutting down on waste saves energy and prevents extraction of raw materials, helping to combat climate change.

Steps you can take

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Reduce the amount of waste you produce by avoiding unnecessary printing, avoid food waste, consider every purchase carefully. Try to think ahead before using anything, is it necessary or is there an alternative that you could do/use to reduce waste.

You should especially reduce using single use items as much as possible such as paper towels, plastic cups and bottles, and cheap pens. Have a think about the different single use items you use every day and make a list, see if you can find sustainable alternatives.

If there is any waste, think about how you can reuse things e.g waste paper can be stabled into rough notepads for taking messages, plastic bottles can be made into bird feeders.

Recycle as much as you can - paper, cans, plastic waste, ink cartridges, furniture, computer equipment. Make sure you have good recycling facilities and make it clear at each bin what can be included in them.

Borrow or rent equipment

Rather than buying new equipment (especially if you will only need it occasionally), see if you could borrow from another organisation.

Renting equipment might be more cost-effective than buying and reduce waste.

Renting equipment is a great way to make sure you only have what you need, particularly if you would only need some equipment for a short time.

Could you start of library of things in your building or community to encourage sharing of equipment?

Reduce your plastic use (especially single use plastics)

Plastic takes a lot of energy and fossil fuels to create, takes forever to decompose and impacts negatively on animals and nature.

Minimise single use plastic and reduce plastic waste.

Repair where you can

Always consider repair options before throwing equipment away e.g. did you know you can buy new keyboard stickers when the letters fade on keyboards?

Instead of just throwing things away, see if there are affordable ways to repair them - this saves you money as well as saving the planet as you won't have to buy new.

Getting equipment repaired by local small businesses also supports your local economy.

Repair cafes are also springing up all over - check and see if there is one near you.

Useful links:

Reduce waste water

Wasting water also wastes energy. Do what you can to minimise water waste. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Encourage staff and volunteers to use reusable water bottle by having a water bottle refill site.
  • When you're filling up don't keep the tap running.
  • Use the sink plug or washing up bowl when washing dishes, rather than under a running tap.
  • If you use a dishwasher, make sure it is full before running a cycle.
  • Make sure you only use the amount of water that you need.
  • Turn the tap off in between uses.

Go litter picking

Help improve your local environment and reduce the negative impact of litter on nature.

Buy a couple of litter pickers/ rubber gloves and combine a lunch time walk or walking meeting with a litter pick.

Useful links:


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Case Studies

Actions from the North East and Cumbria

We now have an electrical and battery collection point in our office in partnership with Durham County Council.
Jacqui Coulson
Durham County Carers Support
We’ve reused two old baths to plant potatoes, strawberries and wildflowers in the Catalyst garden. We’re also putting in picnic tables so people can have lunch outside.
Jon Carling
Catalyst Stockton
10-49 employees
We gave the staff team reusable, eco-friendly water bottles for Christmas.

Have you taken action?

If you're a VCSE based in the North East and you've done something about the climate crisis, please share your action with us. We'd love to share it on this website, to inspire others.

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