Britain and our overconsumption: tips for a clear out

Did you know that every year British consumers spend £21.7 billion on impulse purchases and more than 50% of us make an impulse purchase every time we go shopping? Reports indicate that we consume twice as many material goods today as we did 50 years so think about how much we could save if we stopped doing this!

We have grown into a society of over consumers. The nature of impulse purchases means that majority of what we buy is something we want and not something we actually need. It can be easy to grab those items that are heavily discounted because it seems like a good deal we don’t want to miss out on, or we think they ‘might come in handy’ at some point in the future without really thinking about if we need them, or if we are ever really going to use them.

Whilst this may be good for the economy, consistent spontaneous spending can create a lot of clutter in our homes. There is therefore perhaps an argument for a need for more local waste collection services and a personal recycling service. If we all set about completing a thorough house clearance or garage clearance we would probably find things we have misplaced for months, things that can be put to use (that we might have been about to replace with more spending!). Using a specialist in waste collection and Yorkshire rubbish removal can help this. Once you’ve done as much organising as you can for your property, they can come and do all the hard work. Using a specialist waste collection service means you can recycle or reuse as much as possible. Make sure you are provided with the correct paperwork so you have peace of mind it is being dealt with properly.

What else can we do when we complete a house clearance or a garage clearance? Do it in small chunks. There’s always an excuse to put off clearing out spaces, especially the garage, shed or loft in one go. There are fewer excuses if we do it in short bursts. If you regularly do 15-30 minutes clearing out unwanted or items you no longer need, it’s not as overwhelming as doing it all at once. Of course this depends on your preference. You might find spending a weekend doing it is more beneficial. Donate what you don’t need that’s still in good condition to local causes and if it can’t be passed on, there are more and more local facilities operators who recycle as much as they can for you.

But what about outside of our homes and completing a house clearance or a garage clearance? Well, we’ve already seen the importance of needing to scrap plastic. We aren’t even a month into the year and we have already seen plastic microbeads be banned in beauty products and MP’s calling on supermarkets to scrap plastic packaging. We know this produces a lot of waste that is bad for the environment. With increasing overconsumption comes more packaging. This year we saw a leading supermarket unnecessarily package an organic coconut. Aside from wondering how this got to the shelves in the first place, we stood up and held them accountable for their actions. If they insist in doing this, we need to have a better overall recycling service in place to tackle this.

Whilst we are conscious of things like this, it hasn’t stopped us spending elsewhere. Last year it was reported that non-food stores and online shops recorded their highest year-on-year price growth since March 1992. We continue to spend even if wages aren’t able to keep up with increasing prices. So isn’t it time we were all a little more conscious of our over-consumption? Of course, I’m telling you nothing new. High-street fashion is incredibly fast paced and we want to keep up with all the latest trends. We want more. So what about everything that’s already sitting in our houses? We all have a lot of it, so chances are our local councils are unable to keep up with our demands when we come to throwing stuff out because they already have to look after what we throw out on a weekly basis. So what’s the next step?

There are plenty of local waste collection services that are trained experts and more than happy to help us shift our unwanted stuff. At Yes Waste for example, we work closely with a range of local facilities and charities so that anything you no longer want or need can be put to good use. Our reuse and recycling service rate is important to us and the environment. There are parts of electrical items that can be reused, or old desks and chairs that could be put to better use in a new home. Being able to have facilities like this means less waste gets sent to landfill, and as we are becoming more eco-conscious and the effects our behaviour has on the planet this can only be a good thing.

It’s easy for us all to take one step at a time, and that’s probably easier to do with what’s in front of us. Have a clear out and sort those things you’ve been putting off or get in touch with your local recycling service or waste collection provider.


James Scarlett

Managing Director

Yes Waste Ltd