I tried Zero Waste January - here is what I found

For January I took on the task of reducing my landfill waste and use of single use plastic. I will admit, I did start this challenge hoping to have zero waste however I quickly learnt that was near impossible! Here is what I learnt. 

  1. Pet food packaging is so tricky! The majority of dog food comes in non-recyclable packaging and there are no options for refill stations (a huge gap in the market in my view). However, brands such as Skinners have just switched to recyclable plastic sacks and switching to tins of wet cat food made the packaging recyclable at the very least. 
  2. Your local butcher will put meat orders straight into your tupperware. Meaning zero packaging! I found out from my local butcher that this is quite common and widely supported. Wye Butchers in particular have wax wrap if you forget your tupperware but don't want plastic.
  3. Switch to compostable tea bags. I drink A LOT of tea, so loose leaf tea seemed like a bit of a faff but Clipper tea bags are now compostable, with cardboard boxes and no other packaging, it's a great alternative - just don't let your shopping bags get wet otherwise you'll have a cold brew by the time you get home! 
  4. Be considerate of what parts of fruit and vegetables you can cook. Don't peel your potatoes or carrots, eat your beetroot leaves and turn your carrot tops into pesto. Too much fruit? Prep it and freeze it. 
  5. Some items just have to go into landfill. These include: any medicine, certain parts of skincare packaging that can't be recycled, and to an extent, toothpaste tubes 
  6. Terracycle is a good idea in theory. For those who don't know, terracycle collect branded packaging that can't be home recycled and recycle it themselves. Items include most of the Colgate branded items, pet food pouches, specific skincare brand packaging and lots more. My only gripe? I haven't been able to find a terracycle drop off point in the entire South East that works for the items I plan to use. Saying that, a luxury skincare brand in Canterbury claim to take back all of their items packaging so I may have to treat myself! 

And here are the top 6 things I will keep doing

  1. Taking the time to wash out recyclable containers thoroughly
  2. Checking with my local council what can and can't be recycled, you'll be surprised!  
  3. Shopping with my local butcher or fishmonger when I can with my own tupper ware
  4. Actively choosing recyclable pet food packaging (and dreaming of the day it is available in refill form!) 
  5. Looking at a products packaging before purchasing - mostly beauty or sanitary products - what can become of the waste? Terracycle, home recycling or refill options? 
  6. Being less wasteful with my cooking. Such as cooking potatoes with the skins, eating beetroot tops, carrot top pesto, and making sure the rest is composted. 

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