Waste Free Feb
Reducing Our Waste For A Whole Month
With the growing impact that single-use plastic is having on our environment, we took part in Wildlife Wiltshire’s Waste Free Feb challenge to reduce waste.After doing a week’s rubbish audit before February started, we identified which type of waste we were unable to recycle.Plastic packaging from foodstuffs like pasta, rice, lentils and pizza are our main downfalls.Some foodstuffs come in packaging that is only partly recyclable.
As the month progressed it became apparent, that the fault is not with consumers but with food manufacturers and supermarkets not doing their part to ensure that their packaging of their products is single-user plastic free in order to reduce waste.Some products like rice can be put in cardboard packaging, which we found some supermarkets do, only to use a plastic film window in order for the costumer to see the contents.I feel this was totally unnecessary. Over packaging of plastic, like pizzas was another problem.If were to reduce our plastic consumption there needs to an active change to look for other materials that will naturally decompose once disposed of.
How we already recycle and reduce waste
- I’ve had a Green Joanna hot composter since last August.I turn it every two weeks, which hopefully will be ready to use in the garden in a couple of months.
- Plastic and cardboard kerbside recycling.This gets filled to the brim every fortnight.I’ll be actively trying to reduce this by the end of the summer.
- Glass, cans and foil kerbside recycling.Although this again fortnightly it takes a month for it to get filled.I reuse jars around the house and as I Cook mostly from scratch we don’t buy many jars.
The challenge to reduce waste
To choose how much of non-recyclable items we were to reduce.I went for a small cardboard, hoping that I wouldn’t fill it with anything that I couldn’t recycle.I really had thought that after doing the rubbish audit this wouldn’t be too difficult.How wrong was I?
- As waste reduction starts at the supermarket I had to make alterations to my shopping list.This helps to reduce the amount of waste created.
- Only buying what I needed reduces unnecessary waste, like fruit and vegetables for us.I usually to buy what we needed then a little extra but we never got to use the extra.This goes for any purchase other than food.If you can borrow or rent Items that rarely get used, or even share.
- Making sure we bought reusable products.I try to buy glass jars and bottles instead plastic ones.We also use rechargeable batteries.
- I moved from to buying all-purpose household cleaner instead of buying many different ones for each cleaning job.Buying non-toxic products whenever possible.Even better is to make your own such using baking soda and vinegar. Olive oil with lemon juice makes great furniture polish and using scented candles instead of air fresheners.
- Go for products with little packaging.Bulk buying is a better option, there are some independent shops that offer this.This could save you money, dependent on how often you go.
- I had a clear out of all of my kid’s clothes, giving them to the local Salvation Army collection point.
- Reducing paper waste by cancelling unwanted post.You can unsubscribe to many national mailing lists by contacting the Direct Marketing Association.
- Reuse what you would normally consider as rubbish.Try up-cycling projects.
- Cardboard, newspaper and bubble wrap can be used as packing materials.Kids can make some fabulous art from scrap packaging, like as foil and egg cartons.You can always donate to your local, school, nursery or scrap store.
- Jars and pots can be used as small containers to store odds and ends.
The solution to reduce waste
There were some items that I hadn’t anticipated in replacing when I did the rubbish audit back in February.Toothbrushes which I discard every 3 months was our first, along with empty toothpaste tubes.My first port of call was bamboo toothbrushes, of which there are many on the market.
As we progressed through the month to reduce waste, I made an effort to start avoiding single-use plastic.I became very much aware of how much we as a family were using it. I now refuse plastic bags and take way spoons, making a point to explain why they should consider not to use disposable plastic.It’s going to take some effort to get the message out there, but it is spreading.By taking part in this challenge, it has enable thousands of people to avoid single-use plastic and to raise awareness.Manufacturers and supermarkets need to work introducing environmentally friendly products and alternatives.We should actively put pressure on the government to make sure these changes take place for a more sustainable future.
Plastic free in the headlines
Iceland last month declared that it will replace all the plastic packaging of it’s own products by 2023.
Want to take part in another plastic free challenge? Friends Of The Earth run #PlasticFreeFriday take part on social media to show people how you’re making small changes.