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Wales, United Kingdom
Documenting one couple's attempts to live a more self-sufficient life.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pledge for Zero Waste Week

Next week is National Zero Waste Week, and Change the World Wednesday has adopted it for this week's challenge, making it a truly international event! The idea is not, in spite of the name, to avoid producing any waste at all for one week, but to take steps towards producing zero waste in the long term. In other words, don't do something just for the week, make a change in your habits that you can keep up all the time. Even if that change is quite small, the cumulative impact will be greater than making a big effort for a short period of time.

I do try to make changes like this on an ongoing basis, the most recent example being the way I store cold meat. When we've had a roast dinner, I cut the remaining meat off the bones, boil down the bones for stock, and put the meat in the fridge. I've always put the meat on a plate and covered it with foil, but I realised that I could avoid using that piece of foil each time if I just use one of my extensive stock of plastic boxes instead of the plate.

Making use of a box saved from a chinese takeaway had with friends about a year ago.

However, the theme of this year's challenge is Reducing waste away from home. This really is a challenge for me, because I spend most of my time at home these days. These means that when I'm out it's not part of my daily routine. Making changes to my habits that apply in non-habitual situations takes a bit more effort. Then the other day, I was looking at my dressing table and thought, I must put that back in my handbag, shortly followed by, That's a wasteful thing I could tackle. What was the offending item?

Wasteful packet of tissues

It was a small packet of tissues. These are particularly wasteful as not only is each tissue thrown away after use, but for every ten tissues there's a plastic packet that is also thrown away. I confess I have a weak spot for disposable tissues, both at home and away, and I really need to address that. Now is the time! I pledge that for National Zero Waste Week, I will replace the packet of tissues in my handbag with washable hankies (and some suitable containers to keep both fresh and used hankies).


  1. In theory, I am making hankies from old t-shirts. I'm slightly scared of my sewing machine so it hasn't progressed very far!

  2. I vastly prefer cloth hankies since the paper ones seem to aggravate my allergies. At first I thought it would be totally icky, but it turns out that the vast majority of the time I use a hankie, my nose is just runny, so there are no disgusting gobs of snot to deal with.

    I too have a bit of a challenged relationship with my sewing machine, so I took the slow approach and hemmed them by hand. SOOO much easier and more enjoyable.

    And BTW - if you use T-shirts you don't really even have to hem them as the knit fabric generally won't unravel.

    The latest less-wasteful habit I've adopted was to stop using plastic bags in the kitchen. It took a bit of re-training to put things in containers instead of reaching for a bag, but in the long run it's SOOO much easier! I've also discovered that in a pinch, a plate makes a great lid for a bowl!

  3. We produce so much trash, it's insane (I consider stuff I recycle trash too). It's a serious problem I really need to look at tackling. Thanks for the links and the inspiration!

  4. I've pledged to tackle my children's straw habit.Rugby tackling bar staff to stop them from putting straws in their drinks(including our friendly village pub landlord) is often the only way I can prevent them having them (and they;re not about to say no!) I'm hoping they'll use stainless steel reusable straws. We'll see...

    I love cotton handkerchiefs by the way. Once you start you won't go back to tissues!

  5. fantastic challenge - well done you; can't wait to see how you get on :)


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