Blog written by Young Ambassador Kody

**Drum roll please**… it's Waste Free February!

That’s right. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have set us all the almighty challenge of limiting February’s waste to no more than a carrier bag or black sack’s worth of rubbish. *dun dun dunnnn* But please don’t fret - everyone’s goals are going to be different depending on what is realistic to them, and that’s absolutely fine. Taking on the challenge for a week or two, or aiming for a small bag’s worth of rubbish a week will still make a massive difference. After all, there’s only one goal: to make a dent in the amount of waste your household is sending to landfill. And kudos to anyone who makes an effort!

I must admit that I find reducing waste one of the hardest parts of greener living. I try to do what I can, where I can - but will openly confess that I am by no means near perfect at it. It can be hard, and we may even forget, to take a step back every now and then to question: do I really need this? Or could I do this in a more sustainable way? In fact, many may never even consider the impact one expired food or plastic tray will have when they ditch it in the bin. But this is the point of Waste Free Feb - creating much needed awareness over these issues in all of us. Let's be real - most of us won’t be saying au revoir to our rubbish bins just yet. But by playing your part, hopefully you’ll take on a few greener, waste-reducing habits that will stick and become part of your day-to-day lives. After all, reducing our collective waste begins with these small, simple actions that literally anyone can make! 

It can be a little daunting figuring out where to start, so to give us all a bit of much needed inspiration - *cough cough* you’re welcome - I have compiled an elite list of tips encouraging us to cut our trash this month. 

Recycling:

Photo of a bin

  • Start by upping your recycling game - plastics, paper, card, metal, glass - know exactly what you can and can’t recycle kerbside by checking your local authority’s website. Also, do the planet a bit of a favour and rinse your plastic items before you chuck them in the recycling.
  • Have a system: keep a recycling bin (or even a box) next to your rubbish bin so it becomes easy & second nature for everyone in your house to recycle. 
  • Check if you have any nearby community or Terracycle drop off points for those other ‘hard to recycle’ items. Batteries, crisp packets, tassimo pods - you name it, it can be done.

Food Waste:

1 in 5 bags of food shopping is wasted each month

  • Grab all your foods nearing their use-by dates and create an ‘eat me quick’ box or shelf in your fridge. Make sure everyone eats what’s there first before reaching for anything else i.e. when the kids rush in from school and after a snack.
  • Get friendlier with your freezer - and know what you can shove in it. It’s literally one of the easiest ways to preserve food - and you can freeze soooo much. 
  • Running low on food before the next shopping trip? Try ‘Too Good To Go’ - a brilliant app that lets you rescue surplus food from local stores that would otherwise go to waste. Oh - and it’s all super cheap. You're welcome!

Plastic waste:

Photo of reusable flasks and bag

  • Go on a hunt for some nearby stores with zero-waste options, and elsewhere choose products with minimal, more sustainable or recyclable packaging that you know your going to dispose of responsibly.
  • Keep a reusable shopping bag, bottle and reusable coffee cup with you at all times.
  • Ditch that cling film. Stick to good old reusable tupperware, or you could even try out beeswax wraps. 
  • In the bathroom you can opt for bar soap, and when you come around to buying your next toothbrush - go bamboo! 

I wrote a blog for the WWT last July titled ‘Our fight against plastic’ in which I listed many ways you can cut down on your plastic waste & consumption.

Go check it out for some more ideas

Sustainable fashion:

Photo of clothes recycling bank

  • It really is about focusing on quality over quantity here. Before you buy something - think: is it a decent piece that’s designed to last? Will you wear it lots & get the most out of it?  Start thinking of clothes as investments rather than cheap, easy-come easy-go items that you’ll only wear a few times.
  • When it comes to throwing away clothes, see if you can donate them onto friends, or sell them second-hand online. As a final resort, if it simply can't be worn anymore then textile recycling points will do the trick. They can be found at supermarkets, local car parks, and (legendary tip right here) if you drop them off at Swindon Designer Outlet - you will also receive a discount to use in store ;)

And that’s just about it! Thanks for reading and very good luck with Waste Free February. Let's not throw this chance away!

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Photo of Kody
Kody is 16 years old and lives in Swindon. He currently runs @ecoswindon, an Instagram account promoting green thinking in his town.