What is Zero Waste?

April 18, 2018 Environment
zero waste

Do You Know What Zero Waste Means?

The simple answer: The aim is to send nothing to a landfill. Refuse what you don’t want, reduce what you need, reuse as much as you can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost whatever you can’t. 

The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write rubbish out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no rubbish in nature.

Instead of discarding resources, we should be aiming to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.

Zero Waste sounds like something that’s unachievable and in it’s truest sense it probably is; but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all try.  

The goal should be Zero Waste and every little thing we do to help achieve that is a step in the right direction.  You can do as much or as little towards the Zero Waste Goal that works for you.  It doesn’t have to be a radical change in your lifestyle, but obviously the more you change the more it will help to make a difference.

zero waste
The amount of non-recyclable trash Kathryn Kellogg says she produced in a year. Photograph: Andrew Burton for the Guardian

Where Does All Our waste Go?

According to official Government statistics, the UK produces 200 million tonnes of waste every year. This is total waste for households and Business with around half generated by households, the amount that is sent to landfill is just over 26%.

The UK has, in recent years, exported a lot of non-recyclable waste to Europe – more than 3m tonnes in 2016 – where it is used as fuel to generate heat and electricity in specialist Energy-from-Waste (EfW) power plants.

England now has 7 years left of non-hazardous landfill life, based on 2016 inputs, according to the Environment Agency.

England landfilled a total of 44.7 million tonnes in 2016 and managed a total of 203 million tonnes of waste. That’s a lot of waste.

Can’t We Just Recycle More?​

Unfortunately, no. 

There’s simply too much to process, and we’re just consuming way too much. Recycling isn’t a perfect solution and did you know only 9% of plastic is actually recycled?

There’s a reason recycle is at the bottom of the list. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot”  

Can I Make A Difference?

YES! Even small changes can add up.  Every day you are making decisions that have an impact.  How do you get to work? How do you buy your groceries? What are you eating? What are you buying? Everything is interconnected. 

With just one small step at a time, you can help make a difference. But, going zero waste isn’t just great for the environment, you’ll notice an improvement in your quality of life. Side effects include eating better, feeling better, saving money, and not having to take out the rubbish!

Zero Waste The 5 Rs

Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to food wrapped in plastic, say no to that plastic straw.

Reduce – Think before you buy.  If you switch to homemade natural cleaning products you only need some White Distilled Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda to cover most jobs link

Reuse – If things break, repair them or have them repaired. Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away, paint that old chair and give it a new lease of life. Buy second hand.

Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recycleable rubbish in the recycling bin.

Rot – Compost your food waste and use it to fertilise your plants and many grow a few veggies or salad leaves of your own.

You can read my Blogs on Homemade Natural Cleaning Products  and 10 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste for some ideas on how to get started.

Zero Waste Week 2018

Why not sign up to 2018 Zero Waste Week Challenge

Zero Waste Week 2018 is a grassroots campaign raising awareness of the environmental impact of waste and empowering participants to reduce waste.

Launched in 2008, the campaign is conducted online with an e-newsletters and social media.

Whilst Zero Waste Week formally runs for one week in September, regular newsletters and fresh blog content is sent out throughout the year. Our friendly online community share practical experiences and suggestions about waste avoidance via social media to keep the discussion and learning process going.

Click here for Zero Waste week

One Reply to “What is Zero Waste?”

  1. Liz says:

    I am really going to try harder after reading this. It has to be possible, the consequences if not are too awful! Great post ❤️

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