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Suggestions To Try From The Zero-Waste Movement

 width= Founded just ten years' ago, Zero Waste Week is held early in September each year. Although it is great to have a dedicated time slot for this environmentally-friendly way to go, in time it is hoped that every week will become a zero waste week. Rachelle Strauss is the founder of the movement and she shares her suggestions for us all to try at home...
  • Take a waste audit for a week and look at everything you're throwing away. When you know what you're dealing with, you are already 50% there!
  • Look at what you could divert from landfill into recycling. As you have to put out the trash anyway, it is not much more effort to separate into the dedicated bins.
  • Set up a dedicated recycling area to make it as easy as possible: A container for compost items close to where you prepare your food. A recycling bin next to your computer. A place for cans and glass to await their turn for recycling. I have a container next to the sink to take everything that is suitable for our compost bins on the allotment.
  • Remove the kitchen "trash can" as this can be a game changer. By making it easier to recycle than to throw things in the can could help to put new habits in place more quickly. It can instead be placed in somewhere less at hand! In my home, I have matching 30 liter bins in the kitchen - one for garbage and one for recycling. The local authority in our area collects garbage once a fortnight and recycling once a week. The recycling has to be sorted into two bins - one for cardboard, glass and foil while the other is for plastic, paper and cans.
  • Think about creative ways to reuse items you might usually recycle or throw away. For example, glass jars to store small items in the garage or pantry cupboard, toilet roll inners for growing seedling or they can be added (along with other thin cardboard waste) for making compost.
  • When reaching the stage of being in the habit of recycling and reusing all you can, choose one disposable item that you regularly buy which you could swap for a reusable alternative. Suggestions include cloths in place of kitchen towel, reusable menstrual products, a refillable water bottle - or research items that can be refilled such as shampoo. For example, I have recently bought a box of 50 x 30 liter biodegradable trash can liners which will last me a full year as I now only have enough trash to fill a bag once a week. The liners are 100% made from plants.
  • When you get to the supermarket checkout, ask yourself what you are going to do with this product or packaging once you have finished with it?" Rachelle Strauss says: "This helps you to think about the most sustainable option before making a purchase. It is also the opportunity to go hardcore zero waste by refusing to buy products that create waste - and creating demand by voting with your money!"
Change is definitely happening and there are growing popular movements such as those against disposable coffee cups, plastic straws, single-use plastic bottles and much, much more. Long may it continue.