Clean green team on take the challenge

One of our very own clean green team members decided to take on the #WasteNothing challenge for 3 months. Read below to find out how they got on.

After putting out the refuse bin on 7 October, we as a family of five decided to attempt Cheltenham Borough Council’s waste nothing challenge. The waste nothing challenge was an idea to make changes, no matter how big or small with a view to lower what we throw away. The plan was to try and use as many of the 5r’s, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot which had recently been published by #cleangreencheltenham.

Month 1

To start we had decided as a family to recycle more and also limit what we buy in the hope we would be able to reduce what went into our green wheelie bin. One of the first things we did was to stop buying fruit and veg in plastic packaging and also put a stop to buying sandwich bags as it was easier to put it straight into the tupperware box that could be used over and over again.

To limit what we needed to buy, we also chose to write a shopping list of the things we needed rather than filling our trolley with items we may or may not need, or just buying on a whim. What we noticed in the first two weeks of our weekly shop was that buying loose was actually cheaper and by also limiting what we needed our food bill had reduced by £20.

What surprised us the most was two weeks later the refuse bin was only half full and at this point we made a choice to try and last another 2 weeks. The following week the recycling collection was due, and since we had been more selective on what we had brought and also started to reuse some of the jars and tubs our recycling had dropped from four boxes and a bag to two boxes and a bag and has now continued to stay like this.

After 4 weeks, the refuse collection was due on the 4 November and this was the first time we had put our green bin out since we started the challenge. Although it was now full we were quite happy as a family that we had managed to make a few changes that had dramatically reduced our green bin waste. We are now continuing to achieve this.

Month 2

Following on from the first part of our waste nothing challenge we have still managed to only put general waste out once a month and have added an additional recycling box to the household to try and recycle more, but also enable us to sort the boxes better making it easier for the recycling team.

For the last two weeks of November and continuing into December we decided to introduce food waste. This has been a great success and all three of our children have all got on board looking to recycle as much as they can, although with three boys not much is leftover. It has however, allowed us to recycle things like peelings and tea bags, which before would of ended up in our waste bin.

We have also just spent one Saturday going through all of our clothes and any that we did not need we have donated into the recycling bank at the recycling centre.

Month 3

The Christmas period we thought would be difficult to stick to, only putting the refuse bin out once a month but how wrong we were. During the xmas period and also a birthday at the start of the new year the amount we recycled doubled in size and also with the introduction of food waste in the house, we once again manged to limit the amount we generally threw away. 

Since starting the waste nothing challenge we have learnt to choose what we purchase, which has resulted in a lot less waste and also lowered our weekly shop. The children have been more aware of what they have been throwing away and even made suggestions to take old toys and games to the charity shop rather than just sticking them in the bin. We have continued to put our refuse bin out only once every 4 weeks and are confindent we can continue to do this.

We have also started to walk more and two of the three children now cycle to school which has not only affected our carbon footprint but will help to keep them healthy and active.

As a family we are thankful to have taken this challenge on as it has fully opened our eyes and shown that although a small step its a step in the right direction and pushing us on to do more.

We hope other familys can do their part and make a difference too.

Find out more about our #WasteNothing challenge and how to get involved.