Another year, and another Zero Waste Week is coming to a close. How did you get on?
As I’ve said on multiple occasions, I’m not a zero waster, but I do aspire to waste less. I love following the movement, and learning tips and tricks for being more eco-friendly in my purchases and disposal of items too.
Zero Waste Inspiration
Before I got started this week, I checked in with my favourite zero waste resources. With so much going on in the world of eco and conscious consumerism, it’s always worth going over the principles!
My #1 inspiration for the week has to be Rae Strauss, who started and runs Zero Waste Week every year. I’m subscribed to her newsletter, and while the aesthetics are a little bit dated, the content is bang up to date. Each day, she sends out a personal story alongside ways to cut down on waste.
Second is obviously Bea Johnson, who writes the blog Zero Waste Home. I read her book a few years ago now, and found myself going over the fundamentals with my mum last weekend. If you’re unfamiliar with the 5 R’s, these are the guiding principles, which go in this particular order:
The theme of this year’s zero waste week was plastic, as in, avoiding plastic. It makes sense – there’s a real push to get rid of it now, with the Plastic Free Mark on its way and campaigns such as #CleanUpCoffee calling for a ban on disposable coffee cups.
Here’s how I got on, day-by-day…
On Monday I travelled back to London after visiting my parents. Whenever I travel, I like to carry a bottle of water, along with my KeepCup and cutlery. It means I’ll always avoid disposable waste, and it’s super convenient too!
I arrived home to a new parcel from Nude Ethics – my jumper had arrived! It came in a large cardboard envelope, with a paper thank you note, meaning it was all zero waste too.
In the afternoon, I tackled the supermarket shop. As I said, I’m not a strict zero waster, so it was actually quite eye-opening to discover how much I couldn’t buy because of plastic packaging. The “handful of herbs” in plastic bags, spinach, rocket, pasta, plant-based yoghurts… I ended up only picking up half of my shopping.
Plus the only rice that came in cardboard packaging was £4 for 1kg – what a rip off!
On Tuesday, I went to work in my usual co-working space. By the time lunchtime rolled around, I went to pick up a meal deal, and came away with only the plastic window on my sandwiches as waste. Result! It would have been better to find a fresh place, but this just shows how convenience can sometimes outweigh more mindful options – and why we need retailers and manufacturers to take note.
On my commute after work, I stopped a man for dropping a Kinder Bueno wrapper. Having seen it happen right in front of me, during Zero Waste Week of all weeks… I thought “not on my watch!”
He was quite embarrassed and put it in his pocket to throw away later.
In the evening, I attend the Po-Zu x Wear The Walk AW Preview with Ella of The Ethical Fashion Society. Everything was served in glasses, and finger food came without packaging – brilliant! They also had paper goodie bags with Earth Conscious deodorants in cardboard tubes – perfect!
We then went to Bourne & Hollingsworth for drinks and onto a Goan restaurant for dinner. After stuffing myself with far too much peshwari naan, I had almost half my chana masala leftover. The kind family who runs the place gave let me take the food home – except it came in a plastic box. D’oh!
I couldn’t decide which was worse, food waste or plastic waste…
On Wednesday morning, the bins went out. Having relocated to East London last month, I have the pleasure of a food waste bin provided by the council, meaning there’s hardly anything that goes to landfill.
I then spent some time looking up zero waste shops in East London (of which there are plenty!) If you’d like to find some near you, I’d recommend using Zero Waste Home’s Bulk Finder.
In the afternoon, I started planning my appearance at the Zero Waste Panel Talk on September 20th – how exciting! If you’re based in London, please do come along!
Thursday was a quiet day – lots of working from home. Over on the Ethical Influencers network, we put together a list of zero waste tips for a final push of motivation, with tips from so many different people doing different things.
It makes me feel so happy knowing there is a huge community of people working to reduce their impact and support businesses that help us do just that.
On Friday, I received a green delivery from Percol Coffee. I’m a big supporter of their #CleanUpCoffee campaign, with which they’re aiming to get non-recyclable coffee cups banned. Their compostable capsules, recyclable iced coffee, and glass jar of ground espresso shows their commitment to eliminating plastic too!
In the evening, our flat headed out to Crate, a bar and pizza place that doesn’t shout about its eco credentials, but serves everything without packaging or plastic. It made for a good evening out, and we even cycled to and from the venue!
Just like a puppy isn’t just for Christmas, cutting down on waste isn’t just for the week. I still have places I can improve:
- Buying my rice, pasta, and other cereals in bulk
- Going to the local grocers for my salad bits and leafy greens
- Visiting the local bakery for bread in brown paper
I would also like to look into buying more zero waste beauty products, but that’s still proving slow going. Places like Acala and Kjaer Weis are fully zero waste, while REN Skincare and Sukin are using eco-friendly plastics. Maybe there will be even more progress next year!