Rubbish Diet – your zero waste week
Over the past 3 weeks of the Rubbish Diet, you’ve learned all about your local recycling facilities, sorted your food waste and identified ways to reuse or repair items. For your final week, you’re now ready to put all this into practise to see how low you can go.
Why not plan your zero waste week in advance? This will be your chance to see how much you can slim your bin over the next week. Tell everyone in the house what you’re planning to do, how you’re going to shop and what things you’ll be doing over the next week to trim your waste-line.
Plan your waste free week
Go through your cupboard and see what you can use up over the next week. Plan your meals in advance and if there are any leftovers after you’ve cooked, make sure you store them in the fridge or freezer as a meal for another day. If you use up what you have at home, it could mean that you won’t have to buy any food that week.
If you’ve no other choice but to get the shopping done after you’ve planned your meals for the week, make sure you take some reusable bags with you. Similarly, you could ask the supermarket if they have any empty boxes you can use instead of using plastic bags. In fact, why not ditch the drive to the supermarket and order the shopping online instead? Ordering your shopping online means that you can shop for your items with waste in mind e.g. you can buy items loose and you can request that no bags are used. If some items do come in bags, you can give them back to the delivery driver who will take them back from you.
If you’ve decided to eat out during the week, make sure that you order just enough so that everyone can eat but not leave anything on the plate. If this doesn’t quite work out – as is often the case – then don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant for a doggy bag. Many of them will happily oblige and in any case, you’ve already paid for the meal. It is a zero waste week after all and money is all a part of what you’re trying not to waste!
Make reuse the focus
In week 3, you learned about all the other things you can do to reduce your waste around the house. If you’re tired of looking at the pile of clothes that you’ve accumulated because they need repairing, choose this week to get your sewing kit out. Sew those buttons on, mend the seams of that sweater or embellish that plain top with some beads so you can love it again. The new Love Your Clothes campaign from WRAP aims to get us thinking about how to see better value from the clothes we have and dispose of the unwanted ones through the best channels. You can recycle your unwanted items through charity shops, household recycling centres, textile banks and increasingly, home recycling services. You could organise a swish, think about trying out washable nappies or visit free donation sites such as Freegle and Freecycle or borrow sites like Ecomodo or Streetbank.
Furniture reuse schemes will accept old furniture and large electricals for repair and if they are unable to be repaired, they will make sure it gets recycled appropriately.
You could also start your compost bin this week. Make sure all your vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells and tea bags get thrown into the compost bin or heap but make sure any meat, cooked vegetables or bakery products go into your food waste recycling bin instead.
Out and about
Don’t forget to take your zero waste ‘hat’ out on the road with you as well. Whether you’re at the office or on the high street shopping, try to keep the same zero waste principles uppermost in your mind. If you like to buy takeaway coffee or tea, bring your own thermos and get them to put your favourite drink in it. Recycle glass and plastic bottles and cans where you can or if you can’t see any recycling bins, take it back to the office or back home with you.
Enjoy your week
When you’ve finished being a zero waste hero, make sure you record how you’ve done for the week. Weigh your rubbish and record what’s left. Some of you will see a big difference at the end of the week while for others, the change may not be so dramatic. Regardless of how much change there is, the aim is to slim your bin in some way and get into new habits.
What else can you do?
Once your final week is done, you don’t have to stop being a zero waste hero. Continue to do everything you’ve learned from being on the Rubbish Diet – there is no reason to stop slimming your bin all year through.
Additionally, you can encourage your friends, neighbours or family members to take the diet as well. You can visit this site regularly for hints and tips to keep your bin slimmed and share what you’ve learned with others. This way you can spread the word about reducing waste and help others slim their waste-line too.