What can I do in zero waste week?
It’s really up to you! You can make one small change in your shopping behaviour or avoid plastic for the week or recycle more or even just talk about waste with friends and family. As long as you take some action you are making a difference.
Zero Waste Week runs from 5th to16th September 2021. It was set up by Rachelle Strauss in 2008 and is now a worldwide campaign.
The idea of zero waste might seem a bit daunting (and of course zero waste is virtually impossible) but I believe that reducing our waste is manageable if we all just make one small change at a time.
This year’s theme suggested by Zero Waste Scotland is recycling away from home. So you might consider picking one of their ideas when you are out and about:
- Use your own travel mug rather than disposable plastic cups
- Take home fruit peelings and cores to compost at home
- Use your local ‘on the go’ recycling bins
- If eating out, ask to take your leftovers home to reduce food waste (although I don’t do this if it involves using a plastic container)
- Avoid/Refuse disposable straws and cutlery when eating out
When we picnic we always use our own glass food containers and take reusable cutlery. And when we go to our local coffee shop for a caffeine fix we take a Joco coffee cup. And I am more than happy to politely refuse those pesky plastic straws in cafes and restaurants. Especially as I carry a stainless steel straw in my bag.
If, like me, you are already doing all of the above, you might like to adopt the five Rs of waste reduction as suggested by Rachelle Strauss in her blog on saving money while reducing waste. We all know about Reduce Reuse Recycle – see our blog on the three Rs – but she has added two more. They are:
She defines refusing as avoiding making unnecessary purchases in the first place. Before you buy an item, consider what you will do with it when it is finished. Or ask yourself if you really need the item. Clearly this is much more challenging for many of us who have become habitual shoppers influenced by all the pressure to buy, buy, buy. But why not give it a try, even just with one item in your shopping basket?
Rot refers to composting. I realise that it’s not so easy to have a compost heap if you have limited outdoor space. But have you thought about trying a wormery? It doesn’t take up much space; some can be kept indoors. You put in your plant based kitchen waste then it provides you with lovely compost and liquid fertiliser. Of course, many councils now collect garden and food waste for composting which might be an easier option for you.
I am not sure if I completely agree with the order of her Five Rs. I personally would put Rot before Recycle.
zerowasteweek.co.uk suggests that you do your own waste audit before you make any changes with your household waste. You could keep a note of each item of rubbish you put in your bin. They have a free printable sheet which you can download. Or you might prefer to empty out your bin at the end of week and take a photo. If you have children, they would love both of these activities! Either way, you would have a way to measure week by week how much waste you are managing to reduce.
I hope I have inspired you to try one of these ways to reduce your waste. We would love to hear from you about other changes you have tried.