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  • binbagchallenge


Updated: Nov 8, 2021

Before buying or disposing of anything, from clothes to food to tools, ask yourself some questions:


Think before buying


Ask yourself the following questions.

1. Will this add value to my life? Why do I want this?

If you already have something similar, are buying on a whim, or if this purchase is mostly to lift your mood, resist! Refuse. Don’t buy it. Instead, go on a walk, meet a friend, or spend money on something immaterial such as a cinema entry, ice skating, or a restaurant.

2. Can I borrow or rent it instead?

You can borrow equipment, appliances, books, from friends, neighbours or even charities or for-profit organisations.

  • Library of things has many things to rent

  • Camping gear to rent on this blog

  • Organise a toy and book swapping group with parents in your kids’ class.

  • Join the local library; in Wandsworth, they also provide free access to online movies and audio books.

3. Can I buy it second hand?

We can now buy most thing second hand.

  • Check charity shops, or websites like Freecycle, Oxfam, Ebay and Gumtree to see if anyone is giving away the very thing you are looking for, or something similar enough.

  • Buy books for kids from Fara kids on Northcote Road, and books for adults from other charity shops. You can also order them from Oxfam and other web based secondhand libraries.

4. Can I buy an eco-friendly alternative?

Look for an alternative item that will last longer, has less packaging, and more eco-friendly ingredients.

For instance, buy a fountain pen rather than a disposable pen; buy a refillable item; rechargeable batteries (they are more expensive than disposables at the time of the purchase but quickly become cheaper as they can be used again and again); use real crockery and cutlery for your parties instead of disposable ones.


Think before binning


Ask yourself the following questions:

Can I donate it?

​Your rubbish is another person’s treasure.

  • Donate good quality clothing, books and unwanted gifts to charity shops.

  • Contact Emmaus for heavier furniture.

  • Advertise your items on websites such as Freecycle or Gumtree.

Can I repair it, or get it repaired?

  • Get to know the artisans around you: tailors, plumbers, cobbler and other artisans to fix rather than buy new

  • Learn how to fix things: darn a sock, sew a hole, fix a button, learn to fix leaks, blocked pipes, sewing machines - many websites, such as wikihow and electronic ifixit provide useful tutorials to fix things.

  • Upcycle items, i.e., transform them or use them as material for new things: dye your old clothes, turn cardboard into papier mâché items, use old dishes as flower pots.

Can it be recycled?

Before throwing anything in the main household trash, check if you can put it in the recycling bag.

Check our list of recycling facilities between the commons.

If you’ve never visited Smuggler’s Way, it is well worth looking at their website – they take and recycle everything; even agricultural/garden/veg peelings and cooking oils can be disposed of there.

Download the questions and keep them in your wallet:

Download PDF • 136KB

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