Tonight 3 - Credit Harriet Leaf
Helping the Hatton family reduce their single-use plastic for ITV’s Tonight documentary

Karen Cannard is a zero waste researcher, writer and media consultant with over 11 years experience helping households reduce their waste.

What began as an ‘average housewife’s blog‘ with entertaining stories about her attempt at a Zero Waste Week in March 2008 when all she threw out was a plaster, developed into an engaging and award-winning online Rubbish Diet challenge. Most householders who took the challenge reduced their waste by at least a third and some by much more – within just a few weeks. The Rubbish Diet project drew to an end in 2018. However Karen’s advisory work still continues predominantly with TV, radio and corporate projects.

She has presented at Zero Waste conferences at European Parliament, in San Francisco, Vancouver Island and at industry events in the UK. In 2012, Karen was featured as a newcomer in the Resource Magazine’s Hot 100 of people making a difference in the resource industry.  In 2013 & 2014 and 2017 she was listed in the Top 10.

Karen’s natural curiosity and infectious enthusiasm regularly tempts her away from her own kitchen bin to investigate what actually happens to our waste, researching new technologies and social changes that are moving us towards a zero waste society.

She is BBC Radio Suffolk’s Bin Doctor. Karen has also appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour & PM, The One Show, C4’s Dispatches, and the ITV1’s Tonight documentary Throwaway Britain, where she helped a family reduce their waste by 95%. In 2015 she worked with KEO Films as a consultant on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste series and more recently has appeared on Tonight’s documentary Plastic: Can you live without it?, Lorraine and Victoria Derbyshire. She also writes regularly for Iliffe Media and has worked closely with editorial teams on features for Woman’s Weekly and Waitrose Weekend.

Prior to family life and being smitten by reducing waste, Karen’s career successes were in technical writing, information management and research, where she worked and consulted in sectors that stretched across academia, public authorities, FT100 companies and music publishing. She holds a degree in Modern European Studies and a Masters in Library and Information Management. She juggles her waste-busting consultancy sessions alongside her role as Librarian & Careers Adviser at a high school academy.

This is her personal blog.