Why is there a national Zero Waste Week in September?
It’s the 8th national Zero Waste Week from 7 to 13th September, but what does zero waste mean to you?
The founder of Zero Waste Week, Rachelle Strauss (aka Mrs Green) describes it as “rethink our rubbish and start to view it as a resource rather than a waste product”. This year you can take part in the week by subscribing to her emails.
Everything we buy has been made from something that has been mined, manufactured or grown, a lot of time effort, energy and money has been invested in every item before it reaches your house. We all know that lots of items can be recycled and we separate them in to the appropriate colour bins, bags or boxes. But for many of us zero waste isn’t just about recycling as much as we can it’s also about re-use, and that’s the theme of Zero Waste Week this year.
We all re-use some of our stuff or things that used to belong to other people but is it something you think about or just do on auto-pilot?
Think about being at home, is there anything in there that has been re-used?
- Perhaps an item of furniture you were given by a friend or family member, or you bought on ebay or from a local charity shop?
- Are there any books you didn’t get brand new?
- Is your baby wearing a washable nappy instead of disposable ones all the time?
- Any clothes you bought from a charity shop, or were given to you because they didn’t fit or suit someone else or maybe you swapped clothes at a Swish?
- Do you have a lunch box that started life as a take away container?
- Do you refill empty plastic bottles with drinks a when you go out and about or use them as ice packs for a picnic?
- Are there any jam jars or yoghurt pots holding collections of buttons, nails, and elastic bands?
If you have any of these then you re-use and why shouldn’t you? So many of the things we buy were made to be used for longer than we actually want them for. Take a mobile phone for example, it’ll work for a few years but on average we change our phones every 18 months because that’s when we can and they’ll have been at least 3 new versions since we first got the phone…
Or a simple tin can, it allowed you to take home your tinned fruit but once it’s empty it could still be used as a desk tidy or drums for your children.
The Waste Train
In west London last year (April 2014 until March 2015) the 1.6 million people living here threw out just over 352,000 tonnes of rubbish. Things that they didn’t need or want any more were put out in black bags and wheeled bins for collection and most was ultimately buried in a large hole in the ground.
The west London waste train takes the rubbish away but when you actually look at what’s inside the train you can see that a lot of it could still be used, recycled or re-used.
What can you do to re-use so less ends up in your bin and on the train? We’ve got lots of ideas on this website but if you feel you could do with a little extra motivation you could sign up to take the 2 week Rubbish Diet challenge to see how much of the stuff you throw away could get you more value by being re-used or recycled.
You can also sign up to be part of Zero Waste Week. You’ll get daily emails containing lots of ideas and the opportunity to share your ideas with everyone else taking part.
If you want to find out more about how waste is created and what happens to it you can play our Wastebuster Universe game. For the little or big kid in you it’s your chance to defeat the evil Bin and save some of the lovely resources from doing noting useful once they’ve been discarded. Play today!
We’re supporting Zero Waste Week and will be posting daily ideas to support the emails sent out to anyone signing up to see what they could do during the week and every week after! Check back on our website from 7th September. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive even more useful tips. You can share with us on social media too.
And next week
We’ll be bringing you information about the west London Festival of Repair happening throughout September.