Day 1: Zero Waste Week 2014

It’s the 1st of September which means that….drumroll please…it’s the start of Zero Waste Week!

Click here for National Zero Waste week 2014

As you can see above, the week has a website which you can find here. It is run by the dedicated Rachelle Strauss who has also recruited 25 volunteers to be Zero Waste Week Blog Ambassadors, of which I’m one. We will be writing this week on the subject of – you guessed it – zero waste.

The theme for this year’s annual challenge is ‘One More Thing’ which, between you and me, suits me down to the ground as it’s very much open to interpretation. With this freedom, I’m going to make sure that I have a lovely EASY week!

In case you’re suspicious…EASY isn’t an acronym. I really am going to relax for the next seven days, and take only small steps. I’ve had a busy summer and I need life to slow down a bit.

I’ve done my fair share of difficult challenges in the name of sustainable living – I gave up supermarkets for Lent, I attempted Plastic Free July and for Zero Waste Week last year I went to great lengths to tackle food waste. My efforts were worth it, and I made big improvements in my life, but this week I want to show you that even the small things matter and, over time, and with lots of people joining together, we can make a difference.

Like many of us, I want to make a difference in the world, a big difference even. It’s hard however not to be overwhelmed by such a task. Recently though, I stumbled upon a quote that someone had posted on Twitter, and I loved it. It works for a range of circumstances and I think it fits beautifully in the context of sustainable living. I snapped a screenshot and I read it often to keep me motivated – small actions matter!

photo (19)

This week I’m going to pick one action every day that will be a step for me towards reducing my personal or household waste. I will post as often as I can to keep the blog  up to date with how I’m getting on. Some actions will need to be done just once to reduce waste long-term, and others will need to done again and again.

All are small improvements.

Most I’ve been meaning to do for ages but have been procrastinating.

None will be hard!

Today’s task is to sort out a big bag of old worn clothes that I’ve had lying around the house for months and ensuring that none of them end up in landfill.

I’m good at clearing out wardrobes and giving away my children’s clothes when they’ve outgrown them. I’m not even too bad at sorting my own clothes, and getting rid of things that don’t fit or suit me anymore. I like to see clothes that are in good condition passed on to other members of the extended family for use. We’re lucky to have lots of little people in the family to swap with, plus the women on my side of the family are remarkably similar in terms of size and colouring, so we happily snap up each other’s cast offs, and breathe new life into them.

Clothes that are in poor condition, and other material items (such as towels), are usually dropped off at our local Rag Bag. I’ve been happy with this as it means that they are recycled into items such as cloths and carpets. I’ve started to wonder though if I could make my old things work a bit harder before I send them to the Rag Bag…

I recently learned to sew which you can read about in this post. One of my aims for acquiring this skill was to try and adapt my kids’ clothes so that they could grow with them, as well as to personalise my own togs to make them more me! With this in mind I dragged out my big bag of holey ‘stuff’ and sorted through it.

photo (430)

The task took me a mere 5 minutes. I separated the items I would never be able to use, and saved the ‘fabrics’ with the funky patters and the bright colours which I hope might be upcycled into pockets, panels or patches. Here’s a selection of what I rescued…

photo (431)

This pile will no doubt end up back at the Rag Bag in years to come but I’m making it work harder before it gets there and I hope that by reusing it, it will reduce the number of new clothes that I have to buy.

If you’re taking part in Zero Waste Week then good luck! I’m looking forward to catching up with how you’re getting on and will be checking out #zerowasteweek on Twitter.


20 thoughts on “Day 1: Zero Waste Week 2014

  1. Ahhh, I love this post. It reminds me to slow down, breathe and take it easy. Wonderful stuff – enjoy your week and the lovely feeling you get from being part of the solution AND inspiring others x

  2. great post. It’s so easy to get carried away and try to do everything at once. A reminder to slow down is a good thing. If you need any help/advice with your “customising/mending” pile give me a shout and I’ll try to help x

  3. I use ‘rags’ for cleaning and then at the end of their life they go in the compost bin (natural materials, of course). After reading your post on sewing I talked to my daughter about it, we now have a project for those dark nights: to make our own bedclothes, particularly warm undersheets 🙂

    Great that you have been nominated an ambassador!

    • Good idea about the cleaning cloths – I’ve used some old towels and baby muslins for that too.

      That sounds like a lovely project to have with your daughter! One day I hope I’m good enough to make those gorgeous quilts that make amazing personal gifts.

      • I made a quilt cover when I was a kid and am trying to remember how exactly I did it. Maybe my mum will know.

        Anyway, I hope you will be able to make one. It is a lovely project!

      • My Mum used different coloured fabric scraps to appliqué my name across a plain old duvet cover, and it was wonderful. Gave it a new lease of life and I loved it. Perhaps it’s a good practice project Westy, whilst you work on getting your ‘expert sewer’ wings and work up to an heirloom quilt.

  4. I’m also working on reducing a bit of a clothes / rag mountain at the moment. I’m sorting mine into wearable and rags, and the rags into natural fibres and not. The ‘not’ rags will become cloths for my outside kitchen (I tend to accidentally set fire to them so get through them scarily quickly) and the natural rags will become weed suppressant fabric on a new set of paths.

    • Nice to know I’m not alone. I’m slightly alarmed at you setting fire to them by accident 😉 Keep safe! I’m sure you will!! My knowledge of all things gardening is poor but that sounds like an excellent use of natural fibres.

      • My wormery is protected from the sun by old pairs of jeans, flattened out. They let water in more easily than cardboard, and eventually the worms scoff them. I have to get pretty creative with old clothes! We have SO many.

  5. Pingback: Day 2: Zero Waste Week 2014 | westywrites

  6. Make bags or cushion covers out of old shirts. Or serviettes and ditch any paper ones. Use scraps for bunting – if you get hold of pinking shears for the edges there’s minimum sew. Christmas bunting is great if you have the right colours and can be used again and again. I am eyeing up an old tartan shirt for bunting or maybe hearts for the tree – might even get back to original owner as present. Make infinity scarves or bags from t-shirts, or cut them into strips, join, plait and then sew for a mat. Odd socks have long since become a fashion statement here – lazy teenagers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s