The zero-waste community is growing in numbers while radically reducing their waste output. No doubt spurred on by the increasingly volatile effects of climate change and global warming, and the alarming sights of plastic pollution suffocating our oceans, more people across the UK and beyond are looking to lead more sustainable lives and find ways to slash the trash.
We at Just Clear are firm members of this thriving community and have been passionate about our ‘zero-to-landfill’ mission since the very beginning. We keep as much of our work as we can out of rubbish dumps and instead get it back into society for use by community housing projects and charities, or to be professionally recycled.
Our strong social and environmental purpose forms the foundations of our business and fuels our drive to revolutionise the industry with our ‘waste to commodity’ mantra.
So, if you’re like us and interested in living a zero or less waste lifestyle, here are some key things to keep in mind.
What is zero-waste?
The definition of zero-waste adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) is:
‘The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health’.
Why go zero-waste?
Adopting a zero-waste approach has far-reaching benefits, impacting local communities, protecting the environment, strengthening the economy, and boosting our own wellbeing.
For society, minimising waste protects the health of our communities by reducing pollution in the air, water and soil by keeping toxins out of landfills and incinerators.
The environment benefits from the conservation of energy and natural resources used in the production of goods, and a reduction in pollution from extraction, manufacturing and disposal.
A zero-waste community builds a valuable circular economy, where one person’s ‘waste’ is a resource for something new. This creates more ‘green’ jobs as resources are recirculated through the economy instead of being used once and then disposed of.
It is also important to say that living a more waste-conscious existence can help bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment which can boost your mental health.
How to be zero-waste?
Refuse to buy things with lots of packaging. This is a particular issue at supermarkets. You could start buying fresh, seasonal produce from local vendors that are free from the usual plastic coating we have become accustomed to.
This also means that you can select and purchase exactly what you need when you need it, rather than being forced to buy more than you require due to the limitations of a large plastic bag – goodbye food waste!
You could also swap your regular hair and skincare products for ‘naked’ products that do not come in any kind of packaging but can be stored in metal containers. LUSH is one such company that uses organic materials and recyclable pots, as well as offering naked products.
Don’t buy things you don’t really need. Before you hit the supermarket raid your freezer to check there isn’t anything lurking there which could bulk out a few meals in the week.
Also, try and borrow rather than buy. Perhaps become a member of your local toy or book library and enjoy the variety these bring. Interesting initiatives like the Library of Things and Streetbank are helping to encourage a borrowing culture.
Repurpose worn-out items. Think about patching holes in your clothes and taking tired footwear to a shoe cobbler to give them a new lease of life before buying new.
You could also shop for used goods, such as clothing, home décor, furniture or kitchen items. Not only can you save yourself some money but sourcing items with a backstory can be an exciting process.
Invest in reusable products too. These could be things like a steel water bottle, bamboo coffee cup, handkerchiefs, or cloth cleaning towels, to avoid contributing to landfill.
Also, think about donating your unwanted items to charity or gifting them to a friend before throwing them away.
According to National Geographic, up to 80% of waste by weight is organic, but this rarely decomposes in landfills. Creating your own compost heap is a low-cost and environmentally responsible way to dispose of garden waste.
It will take some time, energy and a few pounds to create the right enclosed area for your compost, but it will no doubt be a rewarding process as you benefit from the year-round nutrient-rich food it provides for your garden! Visit RecycleNow or GardenOrganic for further tips and advice.
You could even be tempted to grow your own food with your compost and bypass the chemicals, pesticides and fossil-fuels bound up in mass food production.
It still takes some energy and resources to recycle, but it’s far better than sending unwanted items to the landfill or allowing them to become litter.
According to Keep Britain Tidy, three-quarters of the UK population do not recycle effectively. Ensure you know your council’s recycling rules and recycle everything you can! This includes unbroken glass, some plastics, paper and cardboard, tin and aluminium cans.
We at Just Clear ensure that all the waste we are unable to reuse goes to professional recycling facilities – this actually makes us the first house company in the UK to become zero-waste to landfill, something of which we are extremely proud.
We hope that the tips above have illustrated how you can choose the planet over plastic and champion a zero-waste lifestyle – come join the waste revolution!
Just Clear offer national rubbish removal, offering house clearance in Leeds, office clearance in Leicester, rubbish removal in Birmingham as well as supporting areas nationally including London, the Midlands, Scotland and further afield.