03 Sep #EthicalHour Goes Zero Waste, and you can too – #ZeroWasteWeek 2018
There is no such place as “away” – everything we throw away has to go somewhere, and we’ve got a growing waste problem on our hands.
At the start of this year China announced they would no longer be taking imported plastic recycling from overseas. The UK alone generates enough single-use plastic waste to fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls every year, and with the world waking up to the amount of plastic pollution harming our planet, consumers and brands are searching for better solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.
Today marks the start of Zero Waste Week – a global campaign to encourage people to rethink waste and make personal changes that are more planet-friendly.
The idea of ‘Zero Waste’ can feel overwhelming – especially when you consider that the average UK household produces more than a tonne of waste every year, and each year we produce around 3% more waste than the year before.
However, as we discussed with #ZeroWasteWeek Founder Rachelle Strauss in this week’s #EthicalHour Podcast, ‘Zero Waste’ is an aspirational goal, but there are many small, positive steps you can take along the way to make a big difference.
Fortunately there are many businesses working on innovative solutions to rethink, reuse and recycle waste and encourage consumers to do the same, who are all here help us on our zero waste journey.
I’ve been chatting to members of the #EthicalHour tribe about plastic free and zero waste for a while and it’s always inspiring to see the range of potential solutions springing up across different industries.
For #ZeroWasteWeek 2018, we rounded up 10 sponsors with inspiring zero waste ideas to share:
The Berry Berry
The Berry Berry are an ethical slow fashion brand in the UK who handcraft unique, eco-friendly handbags, clutch bags and wallets from upcycled textiles and upcycled magazines and posters.
Their aim is to create and deliver the best eco-friendly handbags, uphold ethical and slow fashion practises and help the planet by reducing textile and paper waste.
The Berry Berry’s top tip for going zero waste:
“Always ask this questions before buying clothes and accessories:
- Do I love it?
- Do I really need it?
- Will I keep it for long time?
- Can I wear it with what I already own?”
The Berry Berry are currently preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign – follow their journey and find out more here.
Follow The Berry Berry:
Inspired by a trip to a vegetable market in Portugal and determined to battle food waste, Oddbox are on a mission to give ugly, wonky veg a better, more beautiful future.
20-40% of produce in the UK is wasted before it even leaves the farms, turned away due to the high standards supermarkets impose, which means a lot of unnecessary waste and a raw-deal for producers.
Oddbox deliver wonky fruit and veg boxes across London to prevent food waste. Their top tip for going zero waste is:
“Like our teeny, tiny veggies, no action is too small and they all make a big impact so celebrate the small acts as well as the big ones. Don’t beat yourself up when things aren’t as successful as you’ve aimed to be, zero waste is a mindset as well as a lifestyle and doing something is better than nothing at all. It can be as simple as pledging to use up all your vegetables and food, make use of your freezer, learning to love leftovers, buying in bulk, cooking in bulk, freezing in bulk and reducing before anything else.”
Be For Change
Be For Change are exploring what it means to be sustainable and how we can live better by being more mindful in everyday life.
Their vision is to connect people, companies and consumers to make the most out of materials and infrastructures already in existence and minimise waste.
Be For Change are creating change both at the supply chain and end user side of their products by ensuring sustainable and ethical production and by designing products which are elegant, long-lasting and a reminder to be considerate in everyday choices.
Visit their website to shop their collection of Bags For Change – some of the largest, most resistant tote bags on the market.
Be For Change’s top tip for going zero waste is:
“It’s easier to be intentional with your purchases once you determine what’s important for you and if it’s aligned with your values – take the time to think of what matters to you.”
Follow Be For Change:
Gone For Good
Three-quarters of consumers admit to binning their discarded garments, usually because they do not realise that worn-out or dirty clothes can be recycled or accepted by charities. 6% of consumers said they did not have time to visit a charity shop, or could not be bothered to sort items.
Gone For Good is an app which aims to make it easier for people to donate unwanted clothes and goods to charity shops. They hope to re-channel 6% of the saleable clothing and other items which currently end up in landfill. If they achieve this, charity shop income will double, helping important causes as well as reducing landfill and helping the planet.
Simply download the app, photograph your pre-loved items and your chosen charity will come collect them, making it easier to send things to the charity shop.
Gone For Good’s zero waste tip is:
“Donate preloved and unwanted items to charity instead of throwing them away”
Follow Gone For Good:
Zero Waste Market
Zero Waste Market began as a series of market stalls around Glasgow and has now joined the Zero Waste community online.
All their products are aimed at helping people cut back on single use plastic and move towards a zero waste lifestyle. They try and test every product before they stock it with the aim of making the move to plastic free more accessible and affordable.
Zero Waste Market’s top tip for making the move towards a zero waste lifestyle is:
“Moving towards a zero waste lifestyle requires preparation. Remembering your straw, cup, bottle and container will contribute to a huge reduction in waste consumption. Be bold, ask to use your own container whenever possible, it’s easier than you think.”
Follow Zero Waste Market:
The Green Edition
The Green Edition is an online magazine documenting the journey towards a more ethical lifestyle, designed to help the ethically and sustainable minded find their way in the fashion world.
When she first started to take steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle, Laura was concerned about her wardrobe, so she started wearing a capsule collection and only replacing items when needed.
She created The Green Edition to make it easier for people to find a selection of brands and tips to help on the ethical fashion journey.
Over the past 10 years, clothing has been the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Thinking more mindfully about our fashion habits is the first step to a more sustainable wardrobe.
Laura’s tip for going zero waste is:
“Swap to reusable alternatives. It can be overwhelming and costly to change everything at once, so focus on one item at a time. Whether it’s a reusable water bottle, tote bag or menstrual cup – small changes make a big difference.”
Follow The Green Edition:
Each Christmas the UK alone bins 226,800 miles of wrapping paper, which is enough to stretch nine times around the earth, or reach the moon!
It’s estimated that it takes 15 trees to make a tonne of wrapping paper, which amounts to 60 million trees cut down just to wrap our gifts, and results in 4 million tonnes of holiday cheer dumped into landfills.
REGIFTWRAP™ is a unique, eco-friendly reusable wrap for gifts. Reusing is better for the environment than recycling, which takes lots of energy and water.
Regiftwrap™ looks and feels like traditional wrapping paper but it’s made from a very strong special technological material that makes it extremely light, tear resistant, soft and waterproof. It is designed to be scrunched up and stored in its own reusable gift tin. Each REGIFTWRAP™ also has a unique ID number so you can track and follow its life.
REGIFTWRAP™’s top tip is:
We currently dump more than a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Recycling alone cannot undo this; reducing consumption through better products is key.
Unwrpd are on a mission to make the plastic-free, zero-waste lifestyle as convenient as possible.
They have carefully-tested and curated a selection of zero-waste alternatives, focusing on plastic-free, minimally-packaged alternatives to disposable, single use plastics and implementing a buy-for-life mentality and reusable products wherever possible.
On Unwrpd’s website you can curate your own subscription box of plastic free products and have it delivered directly to your door.
Unwrpd’s advice for moving to a zero waste lifestyle is:
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You quickly learn to request ‘without straws’ as part of your drink order but if you are on the go without a re-usable coffee cup or cutlery then just ask! If you ask politely, bemused staff are typically more than happy to help out. You can have a nice chat, raise awareness and if you’re feeling bold can even suggest the establishment think about more sustainable options!”
The Crop Club
The Crop Club are a social enterprise who encourage and support people to grow their own food in small spaces.
They reconnects communities through the joy of growing food, encouraging biodiversity and inspiring healthy happy lifestyles. By working with companies, communities, schools and local authorities they reconnect people with nature and the value of food.
They take local action to encourage communities to grow more food through hands-on learning events where people can get planting. They provide people with seeds, pots, coffee sack planters and instructions, simplifying the process to get anyone growing at home – even in small spaces.
The Crop Club also design promotional giveaways for companies that want to offer branded gifts to their customers and spread the joy of growing.
Their top tip for zero waste living is:
“Food waste is a major area we could all address quite easily. Expiry dates are an invention so use your common sense to check your food before you throw it!”
Follow The Crop Club:
Plastic Free Party Bags
One of the most common challenges I hear people mention when it comes to zero waste and plastic free is children’s toys – especially in situations like parties where you can’t control what they’re given. Thankfully Plastic Free Party Bags is here to help!
Traditionally party bags are filled with single use plastic toys and packaging that will probably only be played with for a day but will be around on the planet for thousands of years to come.
All items from Plastic Free Party Bags, including the bag itself, are recyclable, biodegradable, reusable or compostable, and free from animal products. They have spent time sourcing Fairtrade fillers and toys which, where possible, actively support charities or the people who have produced them.
Plastic Free Party Bags extend their ethics to every single part of the business. When you order, your bags will be delivered in recycled boxes collected from local businesses or from other deliveries – this may include second-hand bubble wrap or similar materials which you can also reuse.
Their top tip for moving to zero waste is:
“Don’t try and achieve everything at once! Search and replace plastic-free swaps as and when your existing products get used up. Keep all your old containers – if you can’t use them zero waste shops will gladly take them for new customers.”
Follow Plastic Free Party Bags:
There are many areas of our lives where we could cut back on waste and make more planet-friendly choices, but as many of our sponsors have said, the key is to pick one place to start and celebrate the small steps we can all take – as these soon add up to a big difference.
Find out more about Zero Waste Week and get involved here: https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/
Thanks to our sponsors for supporting our 2018 Zero Waste Week campaign. Through their support not only have we raised awareness of the many different ways to go zero waste and sparked a conversation with our community, we’ve also invested a percentage of our sales revenue from this campaign into a Lend With Care loan.
Lend With Care provide microfinance loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries to help them start or grow their business, support their families and communities.
Through our Zero Waste Week campaign we supported María Ajila, who lives in a rural community near the small town of Cariamanga in southern Ecuador. Maria and her husband are smallholder farmers rearing pigs and chickens and they grow maize, peanuts and beans. They have six children aged between 9 and 22. The eldest two children are working while the younger four are still in school.
Maria has been farming her whole working life. She currently has 8 pigs and around 60 chickens and cultivates around three hectares of land. María requested a loan to buy eight pigs, 18 sacks of ground maize and 10 sacks of specialist feed to help grow her farm.