The Zero Waste Movement is picking up momentum as more and more people strive to limit the amount of waste they produce. The idea of the Zero Waste movement is as simple as it sounds. To live a waste-free life. In a Zero Waste life, everything we use should recyclable, compostable or able to be used again- never sent to the landfill or incinerator via the bin.
Zero Waste Week (September 3rd - 7th) challenges us to live one week with the goal of not producing any waste. Even if it might be difficult to follow the rules 100%, it’s a great exercise to actually see how much waste we produce in an average week (and then hopefully reduce it!)
If you’re up for the challenge, here are a few beginners’ tips for going Zero Waste this week.
Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle
The UK uses a staggering 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Only 7.5 billion are recycled, while the other 5.5 billion end up in landfills, incinerators, or as litter. 5.5 billion! Imagine the space that would take up! Bringing your own water bottle is one of the easiest ways to ditch the plastic, and reduce your waste.
Rethink Disposable Coffee Cups
This is a hard one because we seriously love coffee. But we seriously hate waste too. And disposable coffee cups produce a lot of waste. In the UK, we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day, and less than 1% is recycled. A substantial amount, roughly half a million, end up as littler each day. If you can’t resist a barista making your morning pour, then bring your own reusable cup instead. Most coffee shops will offer a discount if you do, so there is another bonus for your zero waste effort!
Shop Local & Buy In Bulk
We’re not exactly sure why bananas and oranges often come in plastic packaging in the UK. (…Doesn’t the peel naturally protect them?). But it seems nearly everything comes in plastic packaging at the super market and it can be almost impossible to avoid. Opting for local food markets can be a great way to skip the packaging on produce. Not only will the produce be fresher and have travelled less distance from the farms, you’re helping support small, local businesses too! For other non-perishable items, try shopping at bulk stores that allow you to bring your own reusable containers.
It’s hard to avoid plastic. While we applaud anyone who has managed to limit their waste to a small glass jar, we know it can be an extremely difficult journey to embark on. For us, the idea isn’t to be perfect. It’s to be mindful. Think twice about the items you buy and their packaging. Think twice about the straw that came in your drink, and maybe ask your waiter to skip it on the next one. Bring your own reusable shopping bag, and make small daily changes where you can. They add up.