Time to rethink: how to produce zero waste

Ever considered how much waste you produce in a week? Claire takes on the challenge of a zero waste week.
Zero waste


Zero waste


For me the challenge was one step towards understanding how to live a zero waste lifestyle and it’s clear that even with such little rubbish, I have a long way to go.

Bottom line: it was difficult.

There was a lot of planning involved for the week. I had to plan my meals so that I knew where to go to buy unpackaged products, and remember to take tupperware/water bottles/flasks wherever I went. This took time and careful thinking. I was constantly considering what I could buy when I was out and about, whether it was recyclable or if it could be composted.

My internet history must make me seem like a recycling fanatic from googling which items could be recycled!

When I was doing my shopping for the week ahead, I noticed that lots of products I use go straight into landfill, especially cleaning products like bin bags, sponges and and cloth washing products. This zero waste week has definitely opened my eyes to how much I use and waste.

But it was worth it.

I felt good going to the butcher and putting meat in my tupperware and visiting the bakery leaving with a loaf in my fabric bag. I knew I was doing good for the planet by buying food this way. It was also a great experience because the shopkeepers would ask me about why I preferred no packaging and after explaining my zero waste challenge they seemed impressed and it hopefully left them with some food for thought.

The week

After planning for the week, I made lunch boxes which I took with me to work and uni. One day I went out to buy something for lunch and went to a bakery for a sandwich which meant I created no rubbish on the food side of things.

What you can see in the image above is plastic packaging, a cupcake wrapper and some coloured sellotape. Reluctantly I admit that I had a moment of weakness with the plastic packaging as it was for a nail varnish. Admittedly I could have done without buying this as it seemed stupid to have a nail varnish wrapped up in packaging but I gave in because of the nail varnish colour.

The cupcake wrapper was a complete accident! I had a gorgeous chocolate cake from a colleagues leaving party and it was only after I’d finished the cake that I realised what I’d done. It may be that the wrapper could be composted but I wasn’t sure so I kept it.

The sellotape was also an accident as it was a plastic wrapping from a tin that I had bought from the supermarket. If I had known about the sellotape I may have thought twice about the tin.  I was attempting to reduce waste by buying a tin box and yet there was still packaging.


The zero-waste week was a success as I massively reduced my weekly waste.

It was definitely a challenge but I can now adopt small changes that I have made to my lifestyle.

I will also continue the challenge by trying to tackle the big things.

It was very rewarding to see how little waste I had produced throughout the week and I recommend the zero waste challenge for anyone who wants to make that first step to reduce their waste!

Take on the zero waste challenge