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(More than) 99% Less Waste!


Here is my Kilner jar. It’s about 1 litre, so holds 1kg of water, but I am, as of yet, unsure how much rubbish it will take! I am on a mission to massively decrease my waste, living as close to zero-waste as possible.


I recently walked around my local town on bin day on the sight was unbelievable. It’s a small town but every house had stacks of bin bags piled outside. A lot of what is in our bins is recyclable, but much of it is simply waste. Wasted materials, energy, time, health, ecosystems. Waste in this sense is degradation of the natural world. We extract so much more than we really need. I feel sure that with some conscious effort and a little thought I can never buy another bin bag again. In fact, I aim to generate less waste this year than the average British person generates in about 1 day.


On average over the past 10-years the average person in the UK has generated 400kg of waste. Some of this is recyclable, but has been binned. The rest is non-recyclable. I have got rid of my bin (I actually have not had a bin for about 6-years, but have not tracked my rubbish this way). I will be keeping all of what would have been binned in this Kilner Jar. Visible. Demonstrable.


How?


This is the beautiful bit. I am realising that much of what I bin was either not necessary in the first place or is simply bad for me (along with the planet). My main food shop comes from a local farm, Tyddyn Teg, which already arrives with no packaging. I also get bread there (or bake it) and fruit (no packaging). This way I have saved an enormous amount of waste from the start, as-well as supported an amazing, organic, regenerative community farm (worried about costs?*).


I order my grains etc in bulk from SUMA. Their bulk packaging is recyclable and ends up being way less than individual packaging. This involves some financial care on my part, but there are ways to avoid a large payout, such as organising a bulk food order with your neighbours or friends. So here we see an opportunity for community building through waste avoidance.


My book habit is the next part of the puzzle…I order lots of books online, typically secondhand (which makes control of packaging more difficult). So I have vowed not to buy any books online this year (which is terrifying for me!). Again, it appears a sacrifice, but the reality is an opening to seeking out wonderful local bookshops, charity shops and utilising the local library, all of which support flourishing communities, let me try a few pages first and give me social touch points.


The bin bags themselves are also waste! On average, a person in the UK uses around 180-200 bin bags per year, so in this challenge my bin waste will be significantly less than even the empty bin bags being thrown out as bins!


There are, of course, many more sources of rubbish and I will keep this blog thread going over the coming year to highlight learnings, challenges, breakthroughs and inspirations along the way.


My goal is to generate at least 99% less bin waste than average.


Stay tuned


*The cost of quality food: there is much to say on this and on the exporting of costs from cheap food onto social injustice, poor health and environmental destruction, but I can also say (with a lot of joy) that high quality food isn’t necessarily more expensive! I eat a varied yet simple diet of high quality foods. Many are local, most are organic. Over a 400-day period I spent an average of £5.71 on food and drink, including eating out and going to cafes (I love spreadsheets). Amazingly, according to the Gov website, the average spend was £5.67. So really, it doesn’t cost me more and the benefits are virtually immeasurable!


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