Waste Free February
How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along as we near the end of January? In truth, I didn’t really make any hard and fast resolutions this year, vaguely promising to keep up the (very) few good habits I have. And even that’s been a struggle this year, so I’ve given myself the last week off! But excuses aside (it’s January, lockdown, homeschool, global pandemic etc), Waste Free February is one challenge I plan to set myself again this year.
Waste Free February is an annual campaign run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to encourage people to reduce their waste going to landfill. When you sign up, you commit to trying to minimise your waste for a period of time (it doesn’t have to be a whole month) and set yourself a goal – it could be to limit your household waste to a 50 litre bin bag for the month. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can challenge yourself to fill only a carrier bag or even a jam jar!
Last year over 300 people took part in Waste Free February with over four tons of rubbish saved from landfill. You don’t have to live in Wiltshire; last year people took part in France and Germany!
We have done Waste Free February for the last few years and it has been one of the main catalysts in our quest to live more sustainably and lessen our impact on the planet. Taking part in Waste Free February has taught us a huge amount about waste and recycling, as well as opening our eyes further to other environmental issues.
Thanks to our experiences of Waste Free February, we have been able to really reduce our waste – so much so that this year the challenge of limiting our 4-person household’s waste to a small 20 litre bin bag really seems achievable. But this has been a gradual process over the years, with something new learned or implemented each year.
For us, the big game changers have been:
Using refill shops for store cupboard goods, toiletries, laundry and cleaning products
Switching to soap instead of hand wash and shower gel
Reusing what we already have for food storage (bread bags / plastic tubs / glass jars instead of freezer bags, for example)
Milk delivery in glass bottles or refills from a milk vending machine
Cat food in tins or trays instead of plastic pouches
Choosing loose fruit and veg over things wrapped in plastic or getting fruit and veg box deliveries
Composting all food waste with a Green Johanna
Reusable baby wipes and sanitary protection
Thinking before buying and, in many cases, only buying second hand
Recycling more obscure items not included in kerbside collection (such as crisp packets and dental products through Terracycle or stretchy plastic, batteries and ink cartridges at supermarkets)
Switching to paperless billing
As a result, we have been able to reduce the size of our kitchen bin and no longer need to use bin bags, saving further plastic from landfill. We realise this is quite a long list, but we have made these changes over several years so please don’t feel overwhelmed. Maybe you could start by looking at just one area where you could reduce waste?
Waste Free February is a really positive challenge to take part in, no matter where you are at the moment in terms of waste free living. By reducing your waste, not only are you saving resources from landfill or incineration, you are decreasing greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production and shipping of products and packaging.
If you are ready to take on the Waste Free February challenge, you can find out more information and sign up here: https://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/waste-free-february
We also plan to share some more of our discoveries and tips about reducing waste during the month. And don’t forget our posts I Didn’t Know You Could Recycle That, Bathroom Babble – 7 Simple Swaps and Your Freezer is Your Friend – Eco-Friendly Freezer Tips to Reduce Waste!
Good luck and have fun!