#WasteNothing Challenge: results from year one

#WasteNothing Challengers produce 78% less waste

The Waste Nothing Challenge results are in! A year after 50 Bristol households were given 12 months to go zero waste, we find out how they did.

The phenomenal results show the significant difference any Bristol home could make.

Challenge participants from across the city achieved:

  • 78% less general waste than the average Bristol household
  • 13 tonnes of general waste saved, about the weight of 22 fully grown brown bears
  • 50% less waste and recycling combined
  • 22% less food waste
  • 17% less recycling
  • 100% of participants will continue their zero-waste journey

If every household reduced their general waste by just 10%, that could save; over 8,000 tonnes going to waste, enough carbon to power over 3,000 homes for a year and the city hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Gwen Frost, Head of Innovation & Sustainability at Bristol Waste said:

“Households from across Bristol have shown what a phenomenal difference a few simple changes can make. Simply by planning your shop or remembering to take reusable items with you when you leave the house, you can reduce the waste you generate massively.”

“With many of us spending a lot more time at home, there is no better time to start. Why not try meal planning to make the most of the food you already have, learn new recipes using parts of food you might otherwise throw away, or growing some of your own food from seeds or from scraps?

We are excited to see what the next challenge participants, supported by us and those who took part last year, will be able to achieve and the real impact it means we can all make as individuals.”

Participants were equipped with a starter-pack of reusable items, from wax food wraps, to reusable cups and even a wormery for food waste. A team of waste reduction experts from Bristol Waste then supported them on their journey with workshops, hints and tips and an online forum to share ideas. Workshops included learning how to make beauty products, upcycle, grow food from scratch, repair broken items and even how to make cheese!

The project was backed by more than 30 local businesses. Support for participants included items for the zero-waste start-up kit, and discounts at their shops and workshops. The fantastic results from the waste nothing challenge are in part thanks to them!

Some of the action’s participants tried to reduce their waste included:

  • Shopping differently; looking for loose produce in supermarkets, visiting shops that let you take your own containers and getting packaging-free deliveries.
  • Experimenting with making packaged foods from scratch e.g. hummus, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Keeping a reuse kit of things like a water bottle, reusable cup, and shopping bags and containers handy.
  • Reusing packaging materials instead of throwing them away or recycling them.
  • Buying clothes and goods second hand.
  • Using craft skills to upcycle, repair, and make gifts.

Food waste, in particular, was massively reduced.

The challenge saw a significant decrease in food waste. Participants wasted less food through actions like; meal planning, using shopping lists, using the whole of the plant (including peels) and preserving food through freezing, fermenting, pickling, chutney and jam making, and sharing leftovers or surplus food through apps like Olio. Home composting using wormeries, bokashi bins (which use micro bacteria and fungi to compost food waste) and garden composters has also helped reduce the level of food waste put in the brown bin.

The impact of the Challenge is wider than just those who took part. Participants became advocates for reducing waste at home and beyond.

  • 100% of households who took part said they had influenced their family.
  • 83% said it had influenced their friends.
  • 61% said it influenced people in their workplace.
  • 28% said it influenced their neighbours.

Could you be a #WasteNothing Challenger in 2020?

And this year the Bristol Waste team are on the lookout for double the number of households to take part in 2020. We’re especially keen to hear from those who may not have tried to reduce their waste before. If you are interested in learning more about the 2020 challenge, visit the Take the Challenge page and register your interest by midnight on 27/05/2020.

Participant Daisy Blacklock said:

“Being part of the challenge has been life-changing. It’s opened our eyes to and got us involved in local environmental activity, and given me a real sense of purpose. We’ve influenced our friends, families and co-workers to consider and make better choices. It’s been really empowering.”

Sharing ideas and knowledge has been key to the challenge for many participants, as Participant, Ally Horne, said:

“The biggest benefit I’ve seen is the power in numbers. We gave up using plastic for three months about a decade ago and felt quite isolated. People didn’t really understand what we were doing. Ten years on and the raised awareness is noticeable, being part of a group is motivating, supportive and great for sharing ideas.”

Impressed by the results from our waste nothing challenge? Why not see if you can reduce your own waste!

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