What have BBC presenter Alys Fowler, campaigner Peter Tatchell, organic veg box provider Abel & Cole and waste minister Lord Taylor got in common?
They’ve all made public pledges in support of Zero Waste Week, an annual event that’s the brain child of blogger and activist Rachelle Strauss.
The first Zero Waste Week was back in 2008, and this year, Rachelle has been encouraging others, through her blog, to get involved in this year’s theme - ‘One More Thing’. This, she says, reminds us that the collective impact of taking baby steps can add up to significant change.
“This year we’re focusing on improving our recycling habits because if every household in the UK recycled ‘one more thing’, the total amount collected for recycling could increase by more than three quarters of a million tonnes,” she writes.
Rachelle has been asking people from the world of recycling and beyond to make pledges for ‘one more thing’ they can do to ensure they recycle more as part of Zero Waste Week – although I’m sure she hopes that the pledges cover activity that will carry on long after the week is over!
MRW has covered the initiative and is running a gallery of who has pledged what so you can see for yourself some of the areas of focus.
Of course, a week like this provides a useful prompt to remind us all to think about what we do to encourage re-use and recycling, and whether there’s anything else we could be doing to help make a difference.
But recycling simply isn’t enough – we need to take steps to stop waste occurring altogether, and move towards a circular economy. This is easy to say and much harder to deliver but we do need to take steps in that direction – and we all have a role to play, both as individuals and as organisations.
If you’ve not already seen it, I commend to you the excellent Ellen McArthur Foundation animation, which sets out in simple visual form some of the principles behind the circular economy concept and encourages us to think differently about the way we design products so they can be 'made to be made again'.
Oh, and before you ask, yes, I did make a pledge of my own in support of Zero Waste Week:
I already recycle empty plastic containers and tubs, bottles and jars and similar items. But we all need to do our bit towards moving up the waste hierarchy – so while recycling is better than sending these items for energy use or disposal, re-use is an even better option. So I will try and think of other uses for these items, for example, I will offer any empty jars to friends for jam or marmalade making and I will try to use old ice cream containers (of which we have a lot in our household) for storing other things.
And finally, on another matter – WRAP will be exhibiting at RWM from September 11-13. Please come and say hello to us at stand 19W25 if you’re visiting the show. We’re also fielding some speakers during the event – our topics this year include textiles, business development support for re-use organisations and infrastructure and market development for energy from waste. We look forward to welcoming you in the audience!