It’s Zero Waste Week next week. We’re signed up and planning to give it our best shot. I’ve pledged to blog about our family’s experience and to spread the word. If you fancy joining in, here’s the link to the Zero Waste Week UK website.
Can we really do it?
Completely zero waste is massively ambitious for our family. At the moment, we’re set up to fail. But we like a challenge. It’ll be interesting to see how we get on.
Ideally, we’ll end the week with an empty black bag and less plastic waste in our recycling bin. Our council accepts quite a few different types of plastic for recycling but the recycling process is complicated and the best way to stop plastic ending up in landfill is to stop buying it.
To show you how we get on I’m going to catalogue anything that makes it into the black bag; and maybe catalogue our recycling waste too.
I’m hoping that by monitoring the bins we’ll have some some clues as to how we can radically reduce our contribution to the rubbish truck in the future. If we’re really good, maybe we’ll become a zero waste household. Now, wouldn’t that be amazing.
What’s In The Bin?
I’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been thrown away this weekend.
The Ugly Truth: all the bins at the end of the weekend.
Our kitchen bin waste is mostly food packaging and cooked food waste; there are vegetable and fruit peelings in the compost caddy; tissues, floss, contact lenses and cases in the bathroom bins; cardboard and plastic packaging in the recycling box; envelopes and the hair out of our brushes in the bedroom bin.
We put a new bag into the main bin on Friday night and it’s only 1/3 full this evening. The recycling box has been emptied a couple of times over the weekend. As it stands, I don’t think we’re too bad but there’s definitely room for improvement.
Food, glorious food
Food – packaging and waste – accounts for most of our weekly rubbish. It’s going to take extra planning and habit changing to get to zero waste in the kitchen. This is where we really need to pull our socks up.
I’m finalising a family meal plan tonight. We’ll be taking packed lunches with us to school or work, except for a couple of lunches that we’ll be eating out. I’m planning to do lots of “from scratch” cooking and baking. I’ve been thinking about where we can buy plastic-free and unpackaged food. I’ve even done a reccie of a few different shops over the weekend. I visited HISBE for the first time on Saturday. The range of organic produce, bulk goods, refillable olive oil and household cleaning products is really impressive. I’m planning to go back this week to stock up on washing-up liquid and some other bits and bobs. I’m really excited about returning.
Warm-up for Zero Waste Week: an almost Zero Waste Shop from Infinity Foods and HISBE Supermarket
Bulk organic wholemeal pasta and milk chocolate buttons from HISBE bought in paper bags.
We usually do our food shopping twice a week at a local supermarket; sometimes we use Ocado. We buy a fruit and veg box from Barcombe Nurseries; a store cupboard box from Charlotte’s Cupboard; we top up from Infinity Foods (a short walk from The Husband’s office) or our local Coop. I haven’t planned to do a traditional supermarket “big shop” this week instead I’ll be visiting the local butchers, greengrocers and smaller shops where I know I’ll be able to buy packaging-free produce or use my own containers. If it works out well, maybe this is something we’ll keep up.
This year I’ve been working on reducing our plastic waste: bars of soap instead of liquid soap, a mooncup over tampons, shower gel and shampoo in bulk containers, reusable water bottles and coffee cups. Regardless of our attempts it’s still plentiful in our bin bag. Bathroom bin waste, DIY projects, celebrations, unexpected gifts, internet shopping, mailings, magazines, toys, craft projects, used sticker books… the list goes on. I can’t imagine we’ll end all of this in a week but maybe the challenge will be the kick up the bum we need to motivate us to do better.
I’m planning to keep a diary-style blog over the next few days to show how we’re getting on. I hope you’ll read along. Maybe I’ll have some genius Zero Waste hacks for you at the end of the week.
Happy Zero Waste Week, everyone. Wish us luck!
Are you trying to reduce your household waste? What are your best tips? Have you changed your shopping habits to avoid unnecessary plastics? Do you find yourself planning more to avoid excess food waste?