Tackling the waste culprits

Since working on the Waste Team at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, I really try to practice what I preach and think of myself as an ‘environmentally friendly’ kind of gal, reusing and recycling all that I can; I’m pretty confident our rubbish bin load has halved since starting this job. But it wasn’t until I carried out my own waste audit in preparation for #WasteFreeFeb that I realised quite how much I was chucking out which could have been avoided!

The main culprits in my black bin were plastic food packaging – the un-recyclable kind, why is so much food drowned in plastic?! Cotton wool, cotton ear buds, kitchen roll, cleaning surface wipes, sometimes general food waste and always limes and lemons!

I immediately set out to make some easy changes; no cotton wool (I’ll simply use a washable face cloth), no surface wipes (some household cleaner and a washable cloth does the same job surely!) and my latest purchase, a metal straw which I can use when I’m out and about to avoid those pesky plastic ones. And as for food packaging well that’s another story…

The first food shop

I was feeling rather confident at this point that this waste free concept was easy so I popped out for my first food shop, armed with reusable bags and a list filled with loose fruit, vegetables, rice and pasta! Shortly after entering my local supermarket, the challenge became apparent! Finding items in recyclable packaging was difficult in itself and finding items with little or no packaging was an even greater challenge! I was able to pick up some loose fruit and vegetables but that’s as far as it went. Even dry rice and pasta, which seemingly just came in a recyclable card box, had a hidden non-recyclable plastic bag inside! It was an uphill battle which left me with limited choices…

  c_Gemma_Annan       c_Owain_Shaw

After that experience, I pretty much had to cross supermarkets off of my list, although I did find that it was possible to make smarter decisions when buying items, such as buying bulk/multipack items to reduce packaging, always looking for a loose alternative, particularly when buying fruit and vegetables (does a banana really need a plastic bag when it has a naturally protective skin?) and simply being more conscious of the amount of packaging you’re spending your money on!

New plan of action; selective shopping and composting food waste!

So, onwards and upwards! We have a local market nearby which is on my list to visit this week, where I hope to buy loose fruit, vegetables and cheese and a local butcher for meats. Wilton Whole food store and/or Harvest in Bath are also on my visit list as they stock package-free rice, pasta, nuts, cereals and pulses – a rarity it seems!

So with food back on the menu, my last change to face this week is the food waste! Great Green Systems offer the Green Johanna, a food waste digester which Wiltshire Council have subsidised for Wiltshire residents to only £25. They take all food waste including meat, cooked foods and the usual! The other option is a wormery which may work better in my house which has no real outdoor space but for some reason my in-laws don’t seem keen on the new houseguests…strange! Watch this space!

At the beginning of our challenge it seems living waste free is not as easy as we first thought but I’m happy to of already made a few simple changes; let’s see what this week brings!

Take on the challenge and get in touch!

We’d love you to join us and take on the challenge or simply share your helpful reduce, reuse or recycling tips for #WasteFreeFeb – get in touch using #WasteFreeFeb on:


Twitter - @SlimBinsWilts

Need some help to get started? We’ve also popped together a simple guide for going ‘waste-free’ filled with quick and easy tips – just email us at [email protected] for a copy.

Happy #WasteFreeFeb from Chelsie, Gemma and Jess on the Waste Team!


Thursday 2nd February 2017