The Rise of the Zero Waste Trend – and How Sheffield is Getting Involved

We’ve handed the blog over to our students today! Emilia writes about the rise of Zero Waste culture in Sheffield. If you or your team would like to contribute to the blog, get in touch at greenimpact@sheffield.ac.uk.

Today we live in a world of disposable items. Drinking water out of plastic bottles, using takeaway coffee cups, buying sandwiches for lunch every day in plastic packaging, not to mention the amount of plastic packaging that comes with our weekly shop. We are a nation of wasters. In fact, the amount of rubbish produced by the UK could fill its largest lake (Lake Windermere) in just eight months. Some other shocking facts for you: At Christmas, as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will end up in UK bins! And every plastic toothbrush ever made, still exists today.

The situation is becoming dire, and it is time to take action. People often think that their individual actions will have no effect on global change, but decreasing your personal waste could have a massive impact. Lots of individuals have decided to cut down on their waste by living zero waste lifestyles (see Lauren Singer), and the movement is growing increasingly popular.

In fact, in Sheffield, the good people of Heartcure Collective set up a ‘Zero Waste Market’ and me and some other members of the Green Impact team headed down to Trafalgar Warehouse to check it out.

The market sold a large variety of products, none of them producing waste! I purchased myself a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush (FYI, if you haven’t got one of these already you need to get one – you can just chuck them in the garden when you’re finished and watch them decompose, knowing you haven’t contributed to any nasty landfill). There were also reusable sanitary pads on offer, bags and accessories made from old climbing ropes, and T-shirts and bags made from recycled materials among many other items. Most of the products came from small local companies so by buying products here, customers were not only helping the earth but also the local community. There were talks by environmental activists and people living zero waste lifestyles throughout the day, as well as sets of live music performed by local artists. Finally, no zero waste market would be complete without some yummy vegan food (with no packaging of course!).

The market was organised as a fund raiser for a vegan social centre that Heartcure Collective are in the process of opening, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

This blog post leads me to an exciting announcement. We weren’t just at the market for leisure, you see. We were also doing a spot of market research, because Green Impact are excited to announce that we are in the process of organising our very own No Waste Market at the University! If all goes well, this should be taking place on Thursday the 15th of April, 2018, so please come down to the Students Union and pay us a visit when the time comes.

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