What is Zero Waste Week?

‘Zero’ means nothing, nought, 0, zilch…

‘Waste’ is rubbish, garbage, left-overs or trash. Things people throw away.

The ‘Week’ can happen whenever you choose. Or you could have random days or regular Zero Waste Saturdays. However, to be sure of lots going on every year, join in with the official week at https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/. This year it runs from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th of September 2018.

Zero Waste Week makes us think about what we buy – and helps us to do better for the planet by only taking what we need, then using absolutely all of it. It encourages us to re-use things, recycle more, help the environment, save money and put much less rubbish into our dustbins on their way to the huge ‘landfill’ dumps.

How can you join in?

Aim high and do as much you are able! What ideas can you come up with for yourself, your home, school or club?

Could you:

  • Borrow a DVD or book from the library instead of buying it to use once and sit on a shelf?
  • Challenge your friends to a construction competition using any of your clean ‘waste’. Sit back-to-back and each have 3 toilet roll tubes + 2 bottle tops + a rolled-up ball of paper + a broken cd… What will you each create?
  • Safely use food that is left after a meal as ingredients for another dish or sandwich instead of throwing it away?

Look out for problems with rubbish and find solutions to them. Get new ideas at https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/for-householders/ and https://climatekids.nasa.gov/recycle-this/.

Fruit and vegetables

Talking of using left-overs as ingredients…look at what Edible York are doing! (http://www.edibleyork.org.uk/)

Their ‘Abundance’ project finds fruit that would otherwise go to waste, prepares and stores it, then gives it to groups, charities, schools or local events. Everything from spare blackberries to slightly damaged ‘windfall’ apples are suddenly perfect for nibbling or making jams and juices.

If you are close to York, you could offer to help out. If you live far away, Edible York still “love to hear from people who love fruit and hate to see it wasted!”, so ask an adult to help you contact them. Wherever you are, give a neighbour spare fruit, vegetables or herbs from your garden or window box. Collect safe berries from a hedge along a public footpath near you. Make juice out of your slightly old fruit – don’t bin it!

Be wise with water

There are some simple things you can do to save water. Always turn off the tap while you clean your teeth and tell an adult or teacher about leaking taps and toilets that don’t flush properly. Get some more ideas from websites like http://www.waterwise.org.uk/save-water/ and https://www.edenproject.com/learn/for-everyone/water-saving-tips.

‘Greywater’ is another fantastic way to make your Zero Waste Week a big success. Learning about ‘greywater’ really means using your water twice and not just tipping it down the plughole! For example, if you like playing with the hosepipe, make sure you are watering the grass at the same time, not just creating a river down a concrete path! Or if you let the tap run for a while before making a cold drink, simply collect the cool ‘waste’ water for houseplants –or even your pet.

Have an adult check the hygiene rules with greywater, such as never re-using water from the toilet! But don’t be put off; there are loads of ways to safely re-use water in the bathroom and around the home. Problem-solve with detailed websites like https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/recycling-water/ and https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/tech/greywater-recycling/.

So, will you go that extra step? The team at https://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/ says; “Zero Waste is an ideal, but is it realistic? You decide! But please join in – if everyone recycled just one more thing, the collective impact would be huge! Your effort counts.”

Go for it! You can do it!


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