The first week of September is Zero Waste Week. I first came across the idea of living a zero-waste lifestyle when I heard Bea Johnson talk about her experiences trying to run a zero-waste home. She expands on the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ to include ‘refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot’.
Refuse means stopping consumable items coming into your home (or business, or school) in the first place. So instead of using fewer straws, reusing them, or recycling them, work on saying ‘no thank you’. It makes sense for the little things in life, like straws, but as you expand it up it becomes ‘no thank you’ to fast fashion, to fast food and its packaging, and to excessive consumerism in general.
Rot is the principle that what waste we do inevitably generate we aim to eliminate in the greenest way possible, by returning it to the land
I am delighted that ‘moving towards a zero-waste society’ is a Green Party commitment.
For my home, I use zero waste week to review what goes in our landfill. This year I can see I need to work on the ‘no thank you’s for receipts, and I was disappointed to see plastic packaging from greetings cards. It will be reused and recycled cards from now on!
Next year I’ve decided to look at what goes into the recycling bin too. The increasing challenges of the recycling industry mean those first three Rs- refuse, reduce and reuse- are really the key to achieving anything close to zero waste.