Whether your an old hand at finding new sustainable solutions, reducing your carbon footprint and can fit your annual plastic waste into a jam jar, or are just starting your zero-waste journey, at GlobalWAKEcup we believe in a shared responsibility and welcome input and ideas from the friends and partners which make up our community as well as business (both independent and international) in the knowledge that this is what will encourage our governments to legislate change.
We know that changing the world is a daunting concept but remember that every marathon begins with one small step. If you start with something you can easily fit into your daily routine, you're far more likely to stick with it once all the good intentions at the start of the year have all and truly worn off (usually about Jan 15th, ha). It's also worth noting that you're more likely to embrace new ideas, if you have support from a friend or family member. Encourage one another to form your own zero-waste group at a social club you already attend, establish a sustainability team at your place of work or perhaps you could start a zero-waste coffee morning (reusable cups only ;) at your local cafe). From these small beginnings, ideas and communities will grow, it's the only way, we promise.
To help you on your way, we've pulled together some of the very best thinking around zero-waste living and sustainability, plus ideas to help reduce your single-use plastic waste and carbon footprint. We very much look forward to hearing your feedback and top tips too!
Kick Start Your Zero-Waste Community
- Share your ideas and skills with others and if you're feeling really confident teach a workshop on it! If you've a talent for sewing, show others how to mend their clothes or perhaps you can knock up your own facial cleanser or kitchen detergent to share with your new zero waste community.
- Organise a free swap event or market, it's a good example of what a circular economy within your community could look like. Invite people to bring things to swap (clothes, household items, services, DIY products, etc) and get to know your new zero waste community!
- See what you have taking up space in your home that could be of better use to someone else. If you've not used something for over a year, give it to a local hospice or charity and take your old magazines to the Doctors surgery.
- Starting a local zero waste movement, will empower you and has the potential to affect change your entire local community. Become the local change maker!
- For essentials make and stick to a weekly or monthly list, otherwise it’s too easy to justify unnecessary purchases. Before you buy something new, think.. do i need it, can i afford it, is it ethical?
- It's estimated that going from carnivore to vegan for a whole day saves as much CO2 as you'd burn in a gallon of fuel. Whether it’s meatless Monday or getting involved in this year's Veganuary, an easy way to reduce carbon emissions is by changing your diet.
- Thinking and shopping locally and cooking with seasonal produce can significantly reduce the carbon footprint which comes from food production. There is a significant sustainability issue around flying food in from around the world out of season.
- Take the bus or even better cycle to work if you can. If driving a car is unavoidable, calculate your footprint and invest in carbon offsets or donate money to an environmental organisation or charity instead.
- One of the largest causes of carbon emissions is flying. A 10 hour flight equates to approximately 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide. Again look to offset in a similar way to your car.
- If you're looking for a vegan milk option? The best alternative is oat milk – cheap, simple, and oats are much less resource-intensive than cows milk and so much easier for humans to digest!
- As every boy and girl scout knows "Be Prepared" is the key to avoiding single-use plastics outside of the house. We created our Zero Waste Kit to make your daily routine simple without sacrificing style.
- Make use of what you already own. An old glass jar is great for storing spices and leftovers and drinks. Cut up old t-shirts for cloths, use brown paper for wrapping presents at Christmas (wrapping paper contains plastic) and keep the paper and ribbon to reuse at the next birthday or anniversary.
- If you can't reuse, recycle or refurbish something then you should refuse it.
- Make all your meals from scratch and stop using shop-bought products wherever possible. Food packaging and plastic bottles are the top 2 biggest contributors to marine pollution.
- Grow your own food in the garden an allotment or on the balcony - even if it's just one tomato plant...do it. They will taste so much better and it's a great way for children in particular to appreciate the time, energy, and resources that go into producing the food we eat.
Reducing Single-Use Plastic
- The UK government has pledged to increase the bag tax to 10p which is welcome news and will reduce usage further but what about the plastic produce bags in the vegetable and fruit aisle? Bring your own or if possible make some reusable cloth bags out of old sheets or t-shirts.
- Instead of picking up pasta sauces, salsa or hummus in their plastic packaging, why not make your own. All you need is a micro blender, they're easy to make with less waste, more taste and less money spent!
- For Kitchen non perishables such as rice, pasta, herbs, spices and beans that you use daily, buying bulk can save money and packaging. Many grocery or health food stores have large bins to buy from; otherwise, you can invest in your own bin at home.
- Switch to loose leaf tea (did you know teabags contain plastic?) and ditch those plastic coffee pods and grind your own beans.
- If you don't have access to bulk buying, independent stores are the best for shopping as package-free as possible.
- Bamboo toothbrushes, old school razors, bars of soap rather than bottles and recycled toilet paper are all great single-use plastic swaps for the bathroom.
- Take your WAKEcup coffee cup, water bottle with you every day and always refuse plastic straws.
- Encourage others to do the same... It's our shared planet after all!
Here's to a healthy, happy and zero-waste 2019!
Nick, Buffie and all the GlobalWAKEcup team.