Late to the party I know, but this week has been the 10th anniversary of ‘Zero Waste Week’ so I thought I’d find out what it’s all about and also reflect on my own journey to reduce the amount of plastic our household throws away.
Launched in 2008 by Rachelle Strauss, Zero Waste Week is a campaign to raise awareness of the environmental impact of waste. It provides tips and advice for individuals and businesses who want to live more sustainably… and it’s not really just for one week! Rachelle has grown a friendly on-line community for sharing practical experiences and suggestions which keep the discussion and learning process going all year round.
It’s interesting as I do believe there’s always something more we can do no matter how small. Personally, we waste very little in our house – as you might expect! – but I’m regularly dismayed by the amount of plastic packaging in my rubbish bin and started my own ‘war on plastic’ earlier this year.
So how have I been getting on?!!
Well first off we’ve got to know the couple behind Zero Waste Yorkshire, who have introduced us to a whole range of plastic-free products – which I have begun working my way through! So far we’ve tested out: natural roll-on deodorant and solid toothpaste – both of which are packaged in cardboard tubes; mouthwash tablets in a glass jar; bamboo toothbrushes and cotton buds; and (my favourite) beeswax wraps!
There’s loads of innovative new products out there once you take the time to look. I’m also loving my new reusable coffee cup, made from bamboo, and my cutlery wrap. For a while now I’ve refused disposable cutlery when eating on the go, keeping spare forks and spoons in a variety of convenient places… which is great until I find them covered in fluff at the bottom of my bag! …But that will trouble me no more!!
Plastic bottles are next on my list of things to challenge. Ok so they do get recycled but I feel reducing the quantity we use in the first place would be much better all round. I’m going to be trialing out some charcoal water filters and I’d quite like to check out the retro return of the ‘soda-stream’ …memories of childhood here I think!! I’ll let you know how I get on with these in a future post.
I’ve also been trying to avoid plastic food packaging, which I find the biggest nuisance of all single-use plastic and makes up about 80% of what we ‘throw away’… but it’s so hard! Literally everything seems to come in a plastic wrapper these days. I opt for plastic free wherever I see it, using local markets for my fruit and veg for instance, but these options aren’t always the most convenient. When you’re rushing around, juggling work, family and other commitments most of us need to rely on supermarkets. Zero Waste Shops are springing up around the country, where you can buy goods without packaging – weighed or measured into your own containers, but the nearest one to us is still 20 miles away!
Which begs the question, is zero-waste even remotely feasible? Is it a worthy ideal or just an unachievable goal? If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear them!
Personally, I don’t think it’s ever going to be realistic, not in my lifetime at least, but I like to believe each small change makes a difference somewhere along the line.
Check out the hashtag #ZeroWasteWeek for more ideas and simple changes you can make.
Until next time.