There is a growing movement called zero waste, which is a wonderful aspiration and certainly something to strive for, but even the most dedicated of us might never truly be ‘zero waste’.
That doesn’t mean we can’t try though?
Many of the zero waste activities revolve around plastic reduction, but it doesn’t stop with plastics, do you use all food in your fridge or throw it away? Do you repair clothes or chuck them out to buy new?
So what small changes can you make?
Tackle your wardrobe. According to figures from Wrap, the UK buys one million tonnes of clothing each year but discards 300,000 tonnes.
Could you commit to cutting down? Or give up buying clothes for a challenge? Take a look at loveyourclothes.org.uk for ideas and inspiration. And while you’re online take a look at wiseuptowaste.org.uk for tips on repairing, reusing and even swishing.
Rather than discarding old bits of furniture, you can get crafty and upcycle it. Take your electricals, toys and gadgets to a Restart Party or Repair Café to be fixed.
Recycle and compost. Fruit and vegetable peelings, plate scrapings, coffee grinds, tea leaves, paper towels and tissues that haven’t touched meat and egg shells can all be added to household food waste bins for composting if you have one.
Do a plastic audit of your household. Shower bottles, deodorants, washing up liquids, shampoo bottles. Aim to make reductions here by ditching shower gel for soap and the plastic cotton buds for biodegradable ones; buy liquid detergent in recycled plastic bottles and find a refill station to fill up (such as Bicester Green).
Carry reusable fabric shopping bags.
Try buying wholesale and put dried foods such as rice, pasta and lentils into glass jars to avoid buying plastic-wrapped products.
Recycle old children’s toys. Search for a toy library in your area to borrow from or donate to. And consider charity shops when looking for gifts.
Carry a reusable coffee cup or flask; 7m plastic-lined coffee cups are thrown away in the UK every day.
Say no to plastic cutlery. Carry a fork with you or use a compostable alternative.
Ditch cling film wrap for your food, it cannot be recycled in most UK collections. Foil is recyclable, so use foil instead or reusable plastic boxes. Use an electric razor instead of plastic disposable one.
Given that each UK home produces a tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to about 31 million tonnes a year, the small things do matter.
What are you ‘wasting’ for? See what changes you can do to join the movement.