Thank you to all who entered this competition. It has now ended and the winner is announced in the Rafflecopter widget below.
Welcome to Zero Waste Week – a week we love to get involved with and celebrate every September. We love the fact it is a whole week dedicated to not only reducing waste but trying to live in a way which eliminates it altogether, too.
This competition has now closed. Thank you to all who entered.
September means Zero Waste Week – a week we love, and always get involved with. Alongside sharing relevant content all week on our social channels this year, we decided it would also be fun to give away a Zero Waste Lunch Kit.
Of all the zero waste challenges in life, lunch is a big one. After all, how many of us grab lunch from a local shop or café, which involves all manner of ‘single-use’ plastics? Even if you pack your own lunch at home, avoiding waste can be very tricky unless you plan it well – many people use cling film, foil, and sandwich bags, purely out of habit.
So, how can you pack a zero waste lunch? With a zero waste lunch kit, of course! With the right kit, you can easily pack a lunch at home, avoiding all unnecessary waste.
By deciding to take a packed lunch to work instead of buying a pre-packaged lunch from a local shop, you are already taking a step in the right direction of avoiding unnecessary waste; takeaway lunch options always involve some form of ‘disposable’ wrapping – be it a polystyrene carton, a paper bag or a cardboard box. Of course, if you are comfortable doing so, you could ask the staff at your local cafe if they would be happy to place your takeout lunch in a container you provide, but not everyone is happy doing that. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s concentrate on packed lunches you make at home – after all, they are a cheaper alternative, and they leave you in full control of the waste you do or don’t produce.
Containers for zero waste lunches
Making the change to zero waste packed lunches can seem daunting, but just a few simple changes can make a big difference. Once you have got yourself set up with the basics, it should be fairly easy. I’d recommend the below items for your lunch kit. And don’t forget a cloth bag to store it all in!
This competition is now closed. The winner was Karen Parker of Stevenage.
September means Zero Waste Week, and this year’s theme is ‘Use it up!’ – with a focus on food waste, and how to reduce it. The week runs from 5th-9th September this year, and in celebration of this important campaign, we are running a Zero Waste competition throughout the month of September. Recycle Week and Waste Less Live More Week are also this month, so there’s lots to celebrate!
Win a Zero Waste lunch kit!
We have a wonderful zero waste lunch kit to give away. This kit includes a stainless steel two-tier lunchbox (which contains a small additional container), a glass water bottle, and a sustainable bamboo spork. This brilliant prize is worth £50.00, and could be yours if you enter our fun competition.
This zero waste lunch kit would be great for use at home, work, when travelling, for late summer picnics… there are so many possibilities!
The concept of ‘zero waste’ can seem daunting, especially if it is new to you. We live in a country which has for too long relied on disposable items for help in carrying out many everyday tasks. This is especially true in the kitchen, where we are faced with frequent use of cling film, plastic bags, egg boxes and kitchen towel, amongst other items. If you are wanting to explore a zero waste lifestyle, or start your waste-free journey, your home kitchen is an excellent place to begin making changes.
Why Zero Waste?
In a nutshell, the less waste the better – for the environment, and also for your pocket! Waste which gets sent to landfill creates greenhouse gases, which is terrible news for the environment, and leads to global warming. There are also other major concerns linked to this, such as the impact of the waste on wildlife, who ingest waste or get tangled up in it.
Total zero waste is a huge challenge, but even just attempting one of the below tips could start you off on your path to a zero waste lifestyle. You’ll probably find that once you start being mindful of these things, it is impossible to switch off from it – wherever you are, and whatever you are doing! And that is great news for the environment, and also, you will find, for your pocket.
9 Zero Waste Kitchen Tips:
Swap disposables for reusables
This means swapping out kitchen paper for a reusable cloth, sandwich bags for reusable containers, paper napkins for cloth ones (perhaps made from old fabric), and cling film for a plate lid or homemade linen food covers.
For food storage in the kitchen, use glass containers such as Mason jars, which can be reused for years and years.
Say goodbye to plastic bags
You don’t need plastic bags in your home, even if you think you do! Stop using them in your bins; just use the bin without, and wash it. If you usually reuse your plastic bags for supermarket or other shopping, invest in a cloth bag or bag for life instead.
Embrace tap water
You don’t need to buy bottled water. Tap water is generally fine, but if you aren’t so keen on the taste of yours, add something to it, such as a squeeze of lemon or a slice of apple. Not only will it taste nicer, but you’ll be adding nutrients too.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk means a lower product to packaging ratio, which can only be a good thing when it comes to waste reduction.
If you’re visiting a specific bulk buy outlet that sells food products from large bins, take containers with you from home, such as jars and cloth bags, so you don’t require any packaging there.
Find new uses for food waste
Coffee grounds are great for keeping ants at bay, over-ripe bananas are perfect for baking, and spring onions regrow in a jar with some water. Get imaginative with your food waste, and you’ll be surprised at what you can reuse.
Create less food waste
By scrubbing some vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, instead of peeling them, you will be preserving more nutrients and also stopping the scraps from becoming waste. Win-win!
Create a compost bin
Whilst this could be argued to not be ‘zero waste’, I am including it, as it is good for the environment, and an excellent option for the few food scraps you will be producing when living a low-waste lifestyle. Some non-food items can also be added. Our guide to creating your own compost pile can be found here.
Prepare lunches at home
Food on-the-go tends to cause many problems with waste packaging, so why not prepare your work day and school lunches at home, and save waste as well as money? You’ll also no doubt be eating food that is of higher nutritional value, and generally better for you!
Try a lunch box with various compartments, so you can carry several food types whilst keeping them separate – and without using foil or cling film. Don’t forget a reusable bottle for your drinks, too.
Minimise gadget numbers
Do you really need that new spiralizer? Kitchen gadgets are often faddy or end up breaking, which then leaves you with waste. Remember that when it comes to cooking, Google is your friend, and will often provide you with alternative methods of doing kitchen tasks without the need for a specific (and often expensive) gadget.
Zero Waste Week is a week in September which focuses on protecting the environment through sending no waste to landfill. The 2015 theme is ‘reuse’, which is great as it will help people realise that by reusing items, we are benefiting the environment and our purse/wallet.
This video explains National Zero Waste Week really well:
Ideas for your Zero Waste Week pledge
What will you pledge to do for NZWW 2015 – at home, or at work with your colleagues?
If you’re an individual, you could try:
Preparing all your lunches at home for the week (not buying packaged lunches)
Commiting to using only reusable carrier bags – no plastic bags
Repurposing all glass items you use in that week
Repurposing all tin cans you use in that week
Using a refillable cup for coffee shop drinks
Using a washable alternative to facial wipes or cotton wool for make-up removal, such as a flannel or reusable eco cotton pads
Using reusable and washable cloths for cleaning rather than paper towels or other ‘disposables’
At work, you could try:
Preparing your lunches at home
Using a refillable cup each for coffee shop drinks
Reusing any paper that is printed out: utilise both sides instead of just one
After shredding confidential documents, reuse the shredded paper – it can be used for packing items up, or as cat litter or animal bedding
Reuse all jiffy bags and boxes you receive deliveries in
Setting up a compost bin for fruit peel, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc., which staff members can then take home for their garden
Switching to a fabric hand towel instead of paper towels
What do Forge Waste & Recycling already do to reduce waste to landfill?
We are committed to helping the environment, and as a company who collect around 200 tonnes of waste per week, we don’t send any to landfill. Anything that can be recycled, is, and any leftover waste is turned into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF), which is then used to create electricity.
Even our plastic waste collection bins are recycled; when they are no longer fit for use, we remove the wheels and the plastic is shredded and granulated to produce other high quality items.
Of course, in an ideal world there would be nothing to recycle, but in 2015 there is still a lot of work to be done on this issue. This dedicated week is a great help though, so why not get involved?
What will Forge Waste & Recycling be pledging for Zero Waste Week 2015?
When we gave this some thought, we realised everyone in our office has been drinking bottled water to keep hydrated in the hot weather. Whilst we, of course, recycle these bottles, we know we need to eliminate them completely. So we pledge to reuse all of the plastic bottles we currently have for as long as possible, and not buy any more – ever!
Where can I find out more?
If you’d like to know more about Zero Waste Week, the official website is here. The couple who run it have their own brilliant website too, which can be found here – take a look for year-round hints and tips on living waste free. Small changes can make a big difference if we all work together. Let’s be Zero heroes! What will you pledge this September?