One Planet Week: Zero Waste Challenge

For the first time ever, One Planet Week presents: York’s Zero Waste Challenge.

We invite you to try living without waste for one week. From 12 to 18 February, celebrate One Planet Week by drastically reducing your waste. Sounds impossible? People are doing this all over the world. Here’s an example:

The challenge, then, is to live your ordinary life while being mindful of the waste you produce as an individual. Don’t put off buying clothes that come in a lot of plastic packaging until the next week, instead buy something similar from a charity shop – and bring it home with your reusable bag, not a plastic shopping bag! Don’t just eat out for every meal to seemingly escape the waste; shop packaging free for your own food.

We have devised two separate challenges for both those who want to just try zero waste, as well as those who want to go all out.

ZERO WASTE BEGINNER

Keep all the waste you produce but would otherwise send to landfill over the week in one place, don’t throw it away (you can use a jar or a small bin). If it can be recycled, donated, or given away, do so.

On Sunday evening, take a picture of everything you have and send it to sustainability@york.ac.uk  or add the image to our Facebook event, including your name and department (and college, if applicable).


On average, a full-time student or member of staff creates 96 kg of waste annually at the University of York.

ZERO WASTE ADVANCED

Keep all the waste you produce over the week in one place (including recyclable waste), don’t throw it away (you can use a jar or a small bin). If it can be donated, do so.

On Sunday evening, take a picture of everything you have and send it to sustainability@york.ac.uk  or add the image to our Facebook event, including your name and department (and college, if applicable).

RESOURCES

  • Food
    • On campus: Shop packaging-free at Scoop and visit our Ethical Food Fair between 12-3pm at Market Square
    • Off-campus: Shambles Market is open from 7am daily, or you can visit Alligator Wholefoods on Fishergate
    • Food to go: Store a fork and a spoon in your
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper: a cheap and sustainable option is Who Gives A Crap (if you live off-campus)
  • Homemade all-purpose cleaner (2 ingredients)
  • Homemade Febreze (2 ingredients) (note: I’ve been using this for months and it works so well! Just let clothes dry completely before to avoid smelling like vodka)
  • Storing food without plastic
  • General tips (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) – etc; there are many more resources online!

Q&A

What can be recycled?

The processing in York and on campus are different. Check here for information about recycling off-campus, here for a comprehensive guide for recycling on campus.

How come recycling isn’t enough?

Waste management hierarchy

The journey towards zero waste starts with using less. Recycling is not as sustainable as you might think — for anything you purchase, a much bigger amount of materials are used to produce, package, transport and sell it.  The aim of this challenge is to take a good hard look at what you’re consuming — and if you could do without. A lot of the stuff we own we really don’t need. Often, we can multipurpose items but are lured into thinking we must buy new ones (one Pyrex container can act as Tupperware, a baking dish, a bowl, etc). Almost all single-use items are much more expensive than multi-use ones and spend 1000x more time in the landfill than you use them for.

For any other questions, leave a comment – and you can find an alternative to creating waste by a simple Ecosia search more often than not!

Enjoy the challenge of going zero. It feels good to be liberated from cycle of buying, hoarding, and disposing of crap. Now, what are you going to do with all that extra time and money? (source)

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