How much waste can you save in a month? Sign up to the challenge and find out!
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is calling on Wiltshire’s residents to take up the #WasteFreeFeb challenge, which last year saw over 400 people save six tonnes of rubbish from going into their bins.
The aim of the challenge, now in its sixth year, is to try to get people to look at the rubbish they are producing and see what they can do to limit it, by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting more.
It’s estimated that UK households throw away 1.85 billion pieces of plastic packaging a week* and 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is thrown away every year**. There are huge positive environmental impacts to producing less waste, including a reduction in resources being used as raw materials, less waste sent to landfill and incineration, and local councils being able to spend more on public services instead of paying as much landfill tax. Alongside these, there are also financial benefits to reducing food and water waste, as well as energy usage.
By reducing your waste this February, you can learn to live a sustainable lifestyle, reduce your impact on the planet and save some pennies.
Eleanor Dodson, Digital Marketing and Communications Officer at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, says:
“This year, more than ever, people are feeling the pinch from the cost-of-living crisis. By taking part in Waste Free Feb, you can learn how to make the most of what you have at home and save those pennies in the process. A sustainable life is an affordable one, and it helps the environment, too.”
Making small changes can make a big impact. If watching your waste for a whole month isn’t possible, try it for a day, or a week or two! People taking part are encouraged to set their own challenge with an achievable goal and timeframe for reducing waste, with previous participants choosing to throw away no more than one carrier bag’s worth of waste over a week and others aiming to throw away less than a black bag’s worth over the whole of February. Some enthusiastic participants have even managed to fill no more than a jam jar for the month!
However much they reduce, people taking part in the challenge are encouraged to share photos, videos, and stories about their efforts, to encourage others to join them in reducing their waste throughout February and beyond. There will also be an opportunity for fundraisers by getting friends and family to sponsor participants for their waste-saving efforts.
All participants who sign up online will receive a weekly email with hints and tips on:
- How to reduce food waste, including the benefits of community fridges and a guest blog from FoodCycle Swindon
- How to reduce plastic waste, such as single-use plastic, including a guest blog from local business 10 Green Bottles
- How to reduce textiles waste, e.g. by reusing old clothes
- How to use energy more efficiently at home to reduce utility bills and stay warm this winter
A key focus in the campaign’s first week will be on the emergence of community fridges across the county and their benefits. Westbury was the first community fridge in Wiltshire, set up by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and there are now over 10 community fridges in Wiltshire, which particularly benefit those who are struggling financially. Community fridges are spaces where anyone can access free, quality food that would otherwise go to waste, learn about the environmental impact of food, and share food skills and knowledge with others in the community.
The Trust has created a useful map of local shops and businesses that offer waste-free shopping in Wiltshire, including local community fridges, and has a downloadable guide available on their Waste Free Feb page online to give people advice and tips.
Take on the challenge! Sign up for Waste Free Feb and get some inspiration at: https://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/waste-free-february
*Source: The Big Plastic Count: https://www.everydayplastic.org/the-big-plastic-count-results
**Source: WRAP (p.13 of document): https://wrap.org.uk/resources/report/food-surplus-and-waste-uk-key-facts