Resource Use

Bristol residents challenged to achieve zero waste

Bristol residents are being challenged to cut down on the waste they produce for a year – and be recorded every step of the way.

Bristol Waste Company (BWC), the council-owned organisation that provides waste collection, recycling and disposal services for the city, has launched a new project focused on waste reduction: the #WasteNothing Challenge.

Bristol residents challenged to achieve zero waste50 households from across the city will be taking part in the challenge, which will launch officially on 1 April and run for 365 days. Householders getting involved will need to weigh the waste and recycling they produce and log the results on an online form, and will be provided with a wormery (a device that uses worms to turn organic waste into compost) to process their food waste if they do not have access to a home composter. If they don’t have space at home for either, they will be asked to weigh their food waste before it is collected by the council.

As well as the wormery, households getting involved will receive a ‘starter kit’ with a scale and netted bag for weighing their waste, as well as discounts and vouchers from local, waste-reducing shops and businesses. In addition, they will be supported for the entire 12 months with access to free workshops, tutorials and one-to-one support from ‘zero-waste heroes’.

The ultimate goal, BWC states, is for households to produce zero waste, with everything being reused or recycled.

BWC’s Communications Officer, Sarah Hill, explained: “We want to spread the word that reducing your waste is something everyone can, and should, be trying to do. By showcasing our 50 families, we’re hoping to inspire a wider group across Bristol to make lifestyle changes in their own homes to lessen their impact on the environment. We also hope to learn from our participants what the challenges are and share learnings and ideas on how to overcome them.

“We’re keen to find out where [the 50 households] succeed and where they stumble. These findings will help guide where we put more resources into education and potentially indicate the areas where we can expand on with bespoke campaigns or initiatives.”

BWC has been recognised for its successful waste education schemes in the past, with its food waste recycling programme, called ‘Slim My Waste, Feed My Face’, winning plaudits for diverting food waste away from black bins. The project, first trialled in Hartcliffe, South Bristol, but rolled out across the city from June 2018, aims to increase the amount of food waste separated for recycling, and involves playful stickers handed out to households across the city.

Residents are reminded of the ‘no food diet’ for black bins with tape measure stickers placed on every bin (‘Slim My Waste’), while more stickers have been handed out for households to turn their food waste caddies into different characters (‘Feed My Face’).

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the concept of food waste recycling and engage residents with the process, and has produced some significant results. Hartcliffe saw a nine per cent increase in the use of food caddies (almost 1,000 of which were handed out during the campaign), and an 87 per cent increase in the amount of food collected from them, from 10.5 tonnes pre-trial to 19.6 tonnes in the month after the trial. In addition, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the amount of general waste in black refuse bins over that time.

Across Bristol, BWC says there was a 16 per cent increase in the amount of food waste collected in the month following the city-wide launch of the campaign.

BWC is now accepting applications to be a part of the #WasteNothing Challenge. Hill commented: “Diversity is key when it comes to showing that reducing your waste is possible for everyone. We’re looking for progress, not perfection, and welcome households of all shapes, sizes, personalities and demographics to take the challenge. Our team will review the applicants and choose our 50 households that best reflect the residents of Bristol as a whole.”

Interested Bristolians can sign up to be a part of the #WasteNothing Challenge on the Bristol Waste Company website.

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