Welcome to Day 1 – Zero Waste Week 2019!

reforming global warming

Welcome to the 12th annual Zero Waste Week!

I want to begin by saying a massive thank you to Hannah Coogans, who has been an invaluable help this year. Hannah wrote to me at the beginning of the year looking for work experience and was tasked with doing the research for this year’s theme. I think you’ll agree she’s done an amazing job.

This year’s theme then is something brand new for Zero Waste Week. In the past we’ve covered food waste, plastic waste and encouraged you to recycle more. This year we’re digging deeper than ever before…

As we rolled into 2019, the media was abuzz with confronting headlines on climate change. One statement that was particularly impactful was from world leading climate change scientists stating that we have 12 years to keep global warming to a maximum 1.5C. With heatwaves in Australia and intense cold-snaps across the USA, it seems like the whole world is starting to feel the effects of climate change.

12 years to avert climate change

This extreme weather, melting ice caps and rising sea levels are all due to the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect, which happens when excess amounts of greenhouse gases are pumped into in our atmosphere. These include CO2, Methane and Nitrous Oxide.

Without getting too technical, these gases get trapped in the earth’s atmosphere acting like a big coat around our planet. If we keep adding more and more gases, its like adding more and more coats and blankets onto an already overheating person. Uncomfortable, right? You’ve been there, probably!

So, what is causing this excess gas?

The big players seem to be:

  • Landfill
  • Large scale industries
  • Burning fossil fuels
  • Deforestation
  • Mass agricultural production (particularly livestock)

What does this all mean?

Well, as scientists have noted, we need to make a change pretty quickly. This includes how we consume, eat, produce and dispose of waste.  Which leads us on to the good news…

We are not powerless!

As overwhelming as all this information can seem, you’ll know by now that I always focus on how we can be part of the solution rather than the problem. So let’s just pause for a moment and let this sink in. Even though we’re going to spend the rest of the week looking at solutions, I’m aware ‘eco anxiety’ is on the increase. If you find yourself feeling anger, sadness, guilt or overwhelm then it can be good to get professional help. Companies such as BetterHelp.com offer online counseling for all issues.

In fact, a zero-waste lifestyle is one of the best ways to tackle climate change within your own home. In addition to being conscious of saving water, turning off your lights and walking instead of driving, small tweaks to everyday life can contribute to less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. This would have a serious impact and as a result, we would see less landfill, meaning less emission of greenhouse gases.

zero waste lifestyle and climate change


It is estimated that the world produces 2.12 billion tonnes of waste every year, a huge percentage of which ends up in landfill. Landfill is one of the top contributors to climate change, as piles of waste break down and release toxic gas and runoff. Significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas, and leachate (the liquid run-off) are produced by every landfill site in the world.


Each day of Zero Waste Week, we’re reducing the price of an item in our shop. The offer runs from midnight to midnight BST.

Today, owing to the feedback we get from people wanting to do more, you can get the Waste Warriors online course for £15 instead of £60.
It’s a 31 day course where you’ll hear a short audio, then do a challenge for the day. If you follow the steps, you could reduce your waste by up to 80% and save £1500 per year!
Get the course now. Remember, the offer ends midnight BST.


2 billion tonnes of waste

For the average joe, the biggest contributors to landfill include:

  1. Food
  2. Clothing
  3. Plastic from food and packaging

biggest contributor to household landfill

Throughout Zero Waste Week we will look at easy ways to reduce waste in your kitchen, wardrobe and bathroom. These simple swaps and daily habits will show you just how easy it can be to reduce your carbon footprint and help combat climate change. We will tackle things like reducing food waste, limiting plastic consumption and the power of your purchases.

Are you ready to see how you can fight climate change and learn all the tricks of the trade for reducing your waste?

I know that you are!

Here’s today’s challenge:

Read one article on the impact that landfill has on climate change, and locate your nearest landfill site so you can see how close to home the issue hits.

Businesses, we have plenty of ideas in our Zero Waste Week pack to help you engage staff. Plus you’ll know what’s coming up for the rest of the week, so you can get ahead of the game. Get your pack here.

day one challenge - knowledge is power

If you’re short of time, here are four articles to choose from:

Here is a US centric one.
Here’s what Friends of the Earth say.
A simple overview.
How landfills contribute to global warming.

Let me know which article you’ve read and what impact it’s had by emailing me.

I’ll leave you with yet more words from Sir David Attenborough ‘How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew what was happening to the world and did nothing?’ Makes you think, doesn’t it?


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david attenborough quote for zero waste week

Posted in

Rachelle Strauss


  1. Suella Postles on September 2, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Superb topic Rachelle, Thank you for all your efforts on our behalf.

    I spent yesterday as a volunteer Leicester Master Composter helping to run a stall at a big fair. We gave away a lot of information an re-using food left-overs, some wonderful cookbooks for youngsters going to university,, and of course information on composting and subsidized compost bins.
    Because we had an unusual give way which was a plastic piece for measuring spagetti portions, I could ask people who were in the vicinity “Do you have one of these in your kitchen?” And then I could tell them that everything on our stall is Free, courtesty of Leicestershire County Council. Magic word Free.

    We nearly cleared that stall by 1pm, when the fair cwas closing at 4pm so learned a lesson on how much more to bring next time.

    People are interested in the topic of reducing waste,but some are frustrated as it is so unclear as to what plastics are recycleable, as it varies from authority to authority. We had some small information sheets to give out for people who did complain/comment on this. I do hope they used them.

    Good for you to reduce your course costin for this week. I found it very useful to take. I hope others do too.


    • Rachelle Strauss on September 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      Sounds like a massive success for you yesterday, Suella – it’s good to know people are interested and want more information.

  2. Helen Butt on September 2, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Hi Rachelle,

    I read the Friends of the Earth article you linked to in your post. Horrifying to learn about the instability of (historic) landfill sites.

    I couldn’t get the link for the location of landfill sites in the FoE article to work but I found a blog, which hopefully has correct data about current sites around the U.K. https://www.anyjunk.co.uk/blog/sustainability/uk-landfill-site-map/

    The closest site to me is only about a mile away as the crow flies. It’s right next to a vineyard (uphill from it as well), so not sure I’d been too keen on the wine! It’s also uphill from the organic farm I buy my food from, so I wonder how far leachate can travel.

    • Rachelle Strauss on September 2, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing a new link, Helen and I’m glad this topic gave you food for thought with your research 🙂

  3. Nick Capp on September 2, 2019 at 11:56 am

    I am an extremely enthusiastic recycler and a big fan of green technology, but statements such as “This extreme weather, melting ice caps and rising sea levels are all due to the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect” are political nonsense. The biggest cause of global warming/cooling is the Sun, its solar cycles, and the fluctuating position of planet Earth in relation to the Sun. See the science here https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/Milankovitch

    • Rachelle Strauss on September 2, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Nick. I agree the jury is still out and I leave it up to readers to make up their own mind. One thing I’ve learned about the internet – regardless of which side of any arguement you agree with, there will always be some ‘research’ or ‘facts’ to back it up. Here’s an interesting tweet that someone sent me today: https://twitter.com/Jack_Wakefield/status/1168544713315627008

      The only thing that matters to me is that you’re an enthusiastic recycler and fan of green technology, as the whole goal of Zero Waste Week is to encourage everyone to do their bit. Thanks for caring enough to do your bit and for sharing your opinion on this contentious topic! 🙂

    • Mel Parr on September 3, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Nick, how can you quote an archived NASA article that is nearly 10 years old, has a disclaimer at the top, and is based on a theory from one scientist the 1800s, but ignore the current NASA webpages which provide evidence, causes, effects and solutions for climate change and are backed by the majority of the world’s scientists today?
      I invite you to ‘see the science’ for yourself… https://climate.nasa.gov/

  4. Kramer on September 3, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Whether we like it or not, we have to acknowledge that there is a debate over climate change or more importantly if it’s due to anthropological factors or natural cycles. There are many eminent scientists that provide compelling evidence for both sides of the argument. If we insist on taking sides and focusing on the who’s right and who’s wrong debate we’re seriously missing the point. Climate change is taking place and regardless of the source of that change we have a duty and responsibility to ameliorate our part in that process. Let’s let go of the scientific arguments here and focus on positive action. Sometimes it’s better to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, rather than do nothing at all.

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