iiE members have now taken part in Zero Waste Week in their businesses for ten years. Set up by a concerned citizen in reaction to the increase in litter affecting her local environment, the campaign raises awareness within businesses, schools and communities to see how much waste we create. This can inspire some simple and effective actions to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Zero Waste Week is all about helping the environment whilst saving money and engaging colleagues to make lasting behaviour change. You can tape office bins shut for a week, get a compost bin, stop printing for one day or run a packaging free lunch challenge…there are plenty of ways to get involved!
“Zero Waste Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness with colleagues on waste, and what our individual resource responsibilities are within a business. Many of our members say that through this increased awareness at work, they’ve started to do more at home too – from reducing how much plastic they purchase to how they think about food waste.” explains iiE’s April Sotomayor.
Despite its name, you don’t have to go completely ‘zero waste’ –the idea is simply to try reduce waste. This might be through reducing what is purchased in the first place, changing current systems or practices to design out waste, buying products that are readily recyclable, reusing and recycling. Our resources help to take the hassle out of getting involved and many members have reported great results.
As an example, Leeds Environmental Design Associates (LEDA) took part in Zero Waste Week 2020, when most staff were working from home. Staff members made individual pledges which included switching to a veg box delivery, buying produce from local shops/markets to reduce food packaging, baking cakes and biscuits instead of buying in packets and one member of staff gave a ‘lunchtalk’ on his hot composting bin.
Also, the Minster Veterinary Practice switched to buy environmentally friendly BioD laundry liquid, hand wash and washing up liquid in 20l drums which is decanted into smaller bottles for use. The reduction in plastic waste has been noticeable and staff have enjoyed the different approach.
These may seem like small changes, but if every business or employee in the country was to do something similar, the impact would be huge.
The iiE webinar, How to Run a Zero Waste Week , is now available for members to access. Members also have access to a number of other campaign posters, guides, and top tips to make it easier for member organisations to get started and get their staff involved.
If you’re a business wanting to take part in the week and would like additional support, please email [email protected]. For more information about iiE visit How does it work? | Investors in the Environment (iie.uk.com).