5 handy resources for your #ZeroWaste journey

4 September, 2019

By Sarah Hargreaves, Senior Consultant at Resource Futures

As a specialist consultant in resources and waste, we are called upon to help with everything from minimising construction waste to reducing plastic packaging footprints. We’re also a committed team (some may say geeks!) who take waste pretty seriously and do our utmost to #reduce #reuse #recycle wherever we can. Here are a few ideas and resources to help you on your way this #ZeroWasteWeek.

Groceries unpacked

Going #zerowaste starts with the day to day purchase of groceries. Although Waitrose is taking the lead and offering unpackaged groceries in its flagship Oxford store, it’s not yet widely available across the country or in other retailers. But remember there’s nothing stopping you taking your vegetables loose up to the till. And for everything else, fortunately, there are plenty of Zero Waste stores across the country. Here’s a helpful round-up of 90 zero waste stores you can visit to purchase your day to day essentials in refillable containers, top up your cleaning and washing supplies and generally get inspired.

There are also local fruit and veg markets. If not, a veg box is a great way to get fresh, tasty, unpacked fruit and veg delivered to your door. We love our fellow BCorp, Abel and Cole in London, Wonky Veg Box in Leicestershire, Riverford or The Community Farm in the South West and Odd Box also in London. 

Wonky Veg and Oddbox, in particular, rescue unwanted veg and deliver it to your door, which leads us nicely onto food waste.

Cut your food waste

Did you know that a third of food is wasted across the globe? That food waste is responsible for enormous greenhouse gas emissions that collectively we can stop. Here in Bristol we’re championing Going for Gold, our bid to be a gold standard sustainable food city and that means cutting out food waste. If you’re an organisation, why not conduct a food waste audit, seek out an internal food waste champion and create a ‘take less’ culture in your canteen. At home, take advantage of the brilliant Love Food Hate Waste recipes  and don’t be hoodwinked by the buy one get one free offers at the supermarket. Buy what you need and no more! For more top tips, visit Going for Gold

Beat the building bloat

Are you working on a building project? An extension perhaps, a garden shed or outbuilding? Often overlooked, construction projects are a huge source of waste. With a bit of planning ahead, a significant proportion can be avoided. We have created a number of guides for Resource Efficient Scotland on minimising your construction waste and maximising reuse of materials.

Meanwhile, why not consider using reclaimed materials in your project? Surplus building materials can often be found at local reclamation yards or building reuse centres while reclaimed stone, tiles and finishing’s are on trend and unique in style.  Salvo is a great source for architectural salvage. You can even pick up surplus or remanufactured paint in many areas thanks to our Community RePaint scheme which is sponsored by Dulux and works with communities and local authorities across the country to offer leftover paint at an affordable price. The remanufactured range of paints even comes in 20 different colours.

Lastly – don’t forget to say ‘no’ to packaging where possible. 23% of materials found in general waste skips is packaging waste, lots of which could have been avoided. So, challenge your supplier. Ask them if they will consider using reusable packaging alternatives such as box pallets, plastic crates, and bulk bags. Or at the very least, offer a packaging take back scheme to make sure it is recovered and appropriately dealt with. It may not make a difference now, but it may help sow the seed for change in the future.

Adopt a fix it first approach

Phones, washing machines, lamps, toasters? While your granny may moan ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’, we probably don’t fix ‘em like we used to! And yet – there is nothing more satisfying than repairing a trusty old friend. At Resource Futures, we have been delighted to support Repair Cafes in Devon and Oxfordshire through our Community Action Groups and to be working with The Restart Project which helps people learn how to fix their electronics. Seek out a repair café in your area. Restart advertises their repair café events from all across the world. Failing that, IFixIt is a great resource with handy repair guides for everything (curated by everyone) from wheel spokes to water heaters.

Perhaps you have upgraded your laptop or phone? Then why not put your old device to good use and choose a scheme like we use, Byte Back, who will clean your data, refurbish the device and ensure those on low incomes or facing other challenges can get connected like everyone else. #ZeroWaste and a #Force4Good 🙂

Find your furniture a home

With the British Heart Foundation offering a free collection service for furniture and even working electronic equipment, there is no excuse NOT to give your well loved furniture a future. There are plenty of avenues for recycling your furniture these days even at your household recycling centre.

Our Scottish team were delighted to help Total Homes get off the ground in Glasgow through our Circular Economy support service for Zero Waste Scotland. Total Homes had identified that 100% of furniture from housing association properties was going to landfill. The team turned to Resource Futures to help them create a viable business model and secure funding for a service which aimed to divert 80% of this furniture from landfill. Not quite zero, but a significant reduction in waste.

So, this Zero Waste Week take time to consider how you can reduce your #waste footprint. And remember while it’s clearly a destination, it’s a journey too. A journey that feels good.