LIKE many of you, I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s show about UK recycling ending up in horrible, polluting dumps in Asia.

Shocking. It shakes one’s faith in separating our rubbish into our green or grey bins – but we must keep doing so.

I have in the past spoken to staff at the council’s waste department as well as staff at the Energy Recovery Centre in Ardley, where our grey bin rubbish goes to be incinerated to create electricity.

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They tell me the problem is that there are simply not enough businesses that recycle the different recyclable materials. Each process for recycling is different and complex - and expensive.

Clearly, we cannot create yet more waste in the false assumption that it can be easily recycled.

So where does that leave us?

The unpalatable truth is that this is our own fault. E.g. we wanted our food to last longer so supermarkets used more and more plastic wrapping to ensure food arrives fresh in their stores.

The result: food as fresh as the day it was picked, even if it came from half-way round the world.

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So what can we do?

Refuse: Don’t take ‘freebies’ from shops just because they’re free if you won’t use any of them.

Reduce: Don’t buy new clothes/ phones/ furnishings/ etc just to be fashionable, only when needed. Plan meals, check cupboards and freezer before shopping to reduce food waste. Shop in charity shops where you will find many lovely things, good as new. There may even be a greater choice than in department stores. Join South Oxfordshire Local Exchange Trading scheme to borrow things as well as swap skills ( Reduce plastic bottle usage. Stop buying water in bottles. Hugh’s programme showed tap water is better. Treat yourself to a food-quality stainless steel bottle. Take it with you and ask for refills as needed.

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Reuse: Open gifts carefully and reuse the wrapping paper or gift bag/ box. Did you know foil style wrapping paper and glittery paper can’t be recycled? Use empty containers, correctly relabelled to store other things. Swap unwanted items with family/ friends; use Freecycle.

Recycle: Donate any unneeded/unwanted items to charity shops. Use donation banks too, but don’t use them as rubbish dumps. If fabrics are past their best, bag up and label as rags. Charity shops still get money by weight for rags.

For more ideas,