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Single-use products include plastic bottles, sandwich packaging, wet wipes and disposable coffee cups that are only used once, often for just a few minutes, before being thrown away.

These single-use products can be difficult to recycle and are often found as litter. They pollute waterways and the environment. Single-use items that are made from plastic do not biodegrade or decompose. And large amounts of natural resources and energy are used to make these single-use products which just go to waste. 

How you can help


Join our Swap2Save campaign and swap single-use products for reusable alternatives. Make a difference out and about, at home, school or work.

For example, could you:

  • Use a flannel/washable make-up remover pads instead of wet wipes or cotton wool pads
  • Swap your disposable coffee cup for a refillable one

Go to Norfolk Recycles for more swap ideas. How many things can you swap? Tell us and sign up to the pledge. Share your swaps with us on social media using #Swap2Save.

Sky lanterns and balloons

Releasing sky lanterns and balloons causes problems for our environment and wildlife. You, your school, organisation or business can help stop this - find out more and sign up to the pledge.

Leading from the front

Norfolk County Council decided to do something about reducing the use of single-use products at County Hall. We also wanted to encourage staff to think about their use of single-use products, and how they could make changes individually. We looked at a number of areas to see what we could do better.

Cut down our single-use

  • Our cleaning services reduced their use of disposable wipes, using cloths and liquids/sprays instead
  • We buy cleaning products in-bulk and in concentrated form. We avoid over-use with dosing systems.
  • Our procurement team buy containers in-bulk and choose environmentally friendly materials
  • We have recycling facilities across our buildings, including food bins
  • We encourage staff to minimise paper by using technology and printing double-sided
  • We put focus on influencing national policies on plastics, litter, waste reduction, future targets and the circular economy
  • We use re-usable products in County Hall's restaurant and shop, eg we:
    • Avoid individually wrapped products where possible
    • Use tongs and paper bags for sale snack items
    • Have a 'bring your own lunchbox' scheme, giving 10p off takeaway items
    • Use reusable cutlery
    • Have returnable china mugs instead of disposable coffee cups
    • Use a mains water cooler with reusable glasses
    • Use large, refillable dispensers instead of sauce sachets
    • Use milk jugs instead of UHT milk cartons

Started food savvy lunch club

Our waste team ran food savvy lunch club to challenge 50 staff volunteers to remove single-use packaging from their lunchboxes.

After the four-week challenge, 88% said their single-use packaging had reduced during lunch.

Find out more

Everyone can get involved to reduce single use. You'll save the planet, and save yourself money by using reusable things instead of throwaway items. Go to Norfolk Recycles for more information.

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