Reducing our waste – Reid family 0 waste week!

I was recently teaching a lesson to a student which involved an interview with film director Candida Brady about her documentary film ‘Trashed’ starring Jeremy Irons. If you haven’t heard of the film, it is about how the waste the human race is producing is devastating locations all over the world.

Despite being a ‘keen green’ I am only human too, I also have my F-it moments when I just want my kitchen tidy and start throwing things in the bin that could effectively be recycled. Then comes the guilt…

The interviews with Candida Brady and the trailer for the film (well worth a watch even if you don’t watch the whole film) got me thinking though. How could we, as a family, reduce our environmental impact even further. In particular, how can we further reduce the amount of waste that we produce that goes in to landfill.

As a family of four we don’t do too badly. Our general waste bin, which is maybe a third to a quarter of the size of a standard UK wheelie bin,
is never full for the weekly collection. It often only goes out with one small supermarket shopping bag full in it once every two weeks.

BUT, I am shocked by how much plastic and paper recycling we produce. There must be some way of rethinking our shopping habits and our way of living so that we are not creating things that need to be recycled. So my mission is on.

Objective 1: Can a normal family of four reduce its waste to such an extent that we don’t put put anything in landfill for at least one week?

Objective 2: Can we reduce our card, paper and in particular our plastic usage to the point that we only have a half full bin each collection day?

I think we can do it, with some canny thinking. Here, are my ideas so far:

1) Instead of buying supermarket packaged meat I will be buying from the butcher – who is only 100m from the supermarket. He wraps in waxed paper instead of polystyrene cartons and the packaging is much less. Needless to say, the quality of the meat is also much better and the price is not really any different.

2) I am stopping drinking fizzy water. I like fizzy water, but when I can get unlimited fresh water from my tap without adding to the consumption of plastic bottles then why not. Bubbles are overrated anyway!!

3) We already use a giant handsoap refill pack. Can I find the same thing for shampoo and shower gel?

4) I don’t know if this even exists, but I’ve noticed we consume a fair amount of fruit juice. I wonder if there is anywhere I can buy fresh juice filled into bottles that I already have.

If you have any ideas of your own, tips, hints, suggestions please, please comment. Look out for the next progress report.
 

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