Wahey! National Zero Waste Week starts tomorrow. If this is the first time you have come across the idea of national Zero Waste Week or are still teetering on the edge about whether it is worth the effort, my advice is to ditch all your assumptions and use this week to focus on at least one idea that will reduce your waste footprint. And here’s why.
1. Like The Rubbish Diet, National Zero Waste Week nudges you to look at your rubbish in a new light. This is a good thing. It’s a perfect platform for disruptive thinking and creating a new opportunity to bring in new habits and choices that can benefit you, the economy and the environment.
2. It’s a timely prompt to influence others in your household who might frustrate you with their rubbish habits. With backing from well known celebrities, bloggers and tweeters, concern over our levels of waste is on the increase, as is positive action to do something about it. It’s no longer a cause that’s reserved for eco-campaigners or waste-geeks. It’s the path towards a more resourceful and innovative economy and creating an exciting new industrial revolution for the 21st century.
3. Any effort to reduce food waste, no matter how small, helps save cash. Love Food Hate Waste, a national waste reduction campaign organised by WRAP, estimates that an average household could save £470 per year and those with children, much more. It’s also the perfect opportunity to try a few new things in the kitchen, especially if you’ve been stuck in a culinary rut recently.
4. A Zero Waste Week is a fantastic prompt to get to know your local recycling and bring an end to any previous confusion. Visit your local council’s website to find out exactly what you can recycle at your kerbside and recycling centre. Trust me, with this information, you’ll never need to worry what it says on the packaging ever again. However, recycling is still a postcode lottery with some local authorities offering better services than others. Things are changing slowly on the plastics front (see this blog post, here). But if you’re frustrated over your local recycling and want to find alternatives to a whole range of products, it’s worth checking out the Plastic is Rubbish site.
5. You could save even more money than you may ever have imagined. Replacing regular disposable products with reusable alternatives can leave those pounds in your pocket instead of your bin.
6. You really do end up with the feelgood factor of an emptier bin. And an emptier bin is less hassle for everyone, whether from a household perspective or municipal cost-saving benefits when it comes to trucking its contents to landfill.
7. You may find your recycling shrinks too. Recalibrating your rubbish with a Zero Waste Week can also reduce your recycling in a way that makes it look like someone’s nicked your empty packaging. Just don’t call the police – unless someone has stolen it of course.
Well, I hope that’s tickled your fancy just in time for Zero Waste Week. You can of course go it alone and have a tinker with your bin bags, but you’ll find it much motivating to take the pledge over at www.zerowasteweek.co.uk.
It’s been six years since I challenged founder, Rachelle Strauss, to her first Zero Waste Week. Back then, I don’t think either of us could have guessed what an incredible annual event it would become but she’s done an absolutely brilliant job of growing the campaign year-on-year and I’m proud to personally support it again in 2014.
To find out more about Rachelle’s motivation and how Zero Waste Week has developed, check out this latest piece in the Guardian.
And while you do that, I’m off to reorganise my fridge. Yes it’s time for our annual Food Waste boot camp! Be warned, Zero Waste Week has the habit of bringing out the odd Cannard food-arama-drama. Hmmm, what will it be this year?
I’ll be back with news soon, and also an update on what’s happened since I passed on the Zero Waste Week challenge to my pal, Laura.
Good luck Zero Wasters, whatever your personal challenge. Zero Waste Week 2014 – Bring it on!