What is Zero Waste Week?
This week is Zero Waste Week, started in 2008 in the UK and now millions of people all over the world take part. It's a great time to challenge yourself to reduce your waste, start new habits and look at rubbish with new eyes. Linda, our co-director, talks us through the challenges she's taken to go zero waste at home.
Over the years, I've given myself little challenges to reduce the waste that my family produces. The challenges have led to a change in habits, changes in the food we eat and made me more creative, less wasteful and more mindful of what we eat and how we live. Doing smaller challenges, rather than a big zero waste challenge, has really helped me stick to my goal, and made it less overwhelming. Hope these tips help you!
No plastic veg and fruit
I collect a local fruit and veg box every fortnight, which is packed in a cardboard box that we return and gets reused. For additional veg and fruit, I visit my local greengrocers or buy the loose fruit and veg from the supermarket My son loves cucumber, and I'm lucky that my greengrocer sells them plastic-free. I also started growing my own lettuce leaves and herbs- really easy to grow in a pot and nice to be able to pick them straight from my small garden!
[Linda' garden herbs ⤵ (includes chives which are very easy to harvest, just grab a handful of non flowering chives and snip away)]
No plastic bread
We bake bread once a week- we usually bake 2 loaves, and freeze one for toast, whilst we eat the other fresh. Both loaves usually last us a week (family of 3). We have a sourdough starter that a friend gifted us during the first Covid lockdown- it's still going strong! I also like to make flatbreads. It's super easy to mix up the dough, no rising time required- I often make these for sandwich wraps, delicious with a bit of nut butter. For special treats, we buy pastries or baked goods at the local market, where we can pick it up in a paper bag, or use our own cloth bag.
[Linda's delicious raisin bread⤵(add some soaked raisins, maple syrup and cinnamon to your basic bread recipe for a treat)* see below for basic bread recipe]
We have a growing supply of zero waste/fill your own container shops in my local area. They're great because you can buy what you need, no more, no less. They can be a little more expensive than supermarkets, but you can really reduce your plastic packaging and also try new products too (dark chocolate brazil nuts are a new fave snack for me!). I usually stock up on dried fruit, nuts and dried legumes. I really recommend you pop in to one this week and have a look.
Some things we eat a lot of, like pasta, oats and dried beans. We started a food coop with friends a couple of years ago, and although the dried food is delivered in plastic packaging, one 5kg bag will save us more than 4 plastic bits of packaging. Buying straight from the wholesalers means that we save money too. It's also handy for other items, such as laundry detergent and soap.
Other food stuffs
I try to buy any other things I need in cans or glass containers which are recyclable. Did you know aluminium and glass are infinitely recyclable? It's important to recycle properly, most items need to be rinsed clean and make sure there's only recyclable items in your recycling bin. Check what can and can't be recycled with your local council. Sometimes we can't avoid plastic packaging. If we do end up with plastic packaging, we save it up to take to the big supermarkets, so we can recycle them in their plastics recycling bins, however we try to avoid it as much as possible.
I hope my journey inspires you to take on a zero waste challenge this Zero Waste Week!
Other ideas for your zero waste challenge might include making a poster to help you remember to bring your reuables with you, perhaps one that says in big letters 'Dont Forget...', you can get the kids invloved on this one to help you remember. Another may be teaching yourself a useful skill, perhaps some clothes mending by challenging yourself to mend and not spend, or simply educating yourself with a good book, that may lead you to make better decisions when out and about.
Linda & the Sunny Jar Team X
Fruit,Veg & Herbs: Try a zero waste surprise bag to save food waste, try out a community garden or grow for yourself.
Good Bread Recipes: The simplest 4 ingredient 'no knead bread' recipe
Soft Plastic Recycling: At most big supermarkets, near the entrance.
Useful Zero Waste Skills to Learn: read this article to inspire you to pick up clothes mending, (including some helpful book recommendations at the end) or Come along to our fun and informal workshops, where you can learn all sorts of engaging and accessible low waste skills, to keep up to date follow us on instagram @sunnyjarecohub or subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.