Why we should all be planning a Waste-less Winter
There is a lot of excitement and anticipation for the festive season in 2021. After lockdowns and uncertainty, we’re all looking forward to loosening up our purse strings, eyeing up Black Friday bargains, planning presents and decorations and thinking about splurging in the sales.
The problem is that 100,000 tonnes of appliances are sent to waste facilities and landfill over the winter period – enough to reach four times higher than the International Space Station. That’s why this year we’re calling for everyone to have a Waste-less Winter – to give unwanted items a new lease of life (while freeing up your space, and saving your pennies and the planet!)
So, what’s the issue?
We’re all guilty of getting carried away and buying more than we need, especially at this time of year – but let’s call it out. Britain has a landfill problem. As a nation we send millions of tonnes of household items to landfill every single year. And despite COP26, the Government’s Net Zero Strategy and climate change being high on the media agenda, our research found that this winter, 74% of people are planning to buy something new to replace something that they already have. What’s more, over a third (37%) admitted that they’ll simply throw away the old item once it has been replaced.
Combine that with English councils sending a staggering seven double-decker buses worth of household “bulky waste” items to landfill between 2019 and 2021, and that could be millions of items destined for landfill – items that could have been resold, or given to someone else who needs them this Christmas.
“But nobody is going to want my old dishwasher, I might as well just chuck it!”
With 46% of people saying they don’t feel equipped to reduce their environmental impact, and 10% thinking their individual actions won’t change anything, we’re here to tell you that you can make a difference.
Our Waste-less Winter campaign is here to shine a light, and encourage us all to re-think what we’re planning to do with our old white goods, decorations, the items we’ve replaced with gifts – everything – this festive season.
Many of these items have the potential for a second life, which is not only better for the planet, but potentially better for your wallet, too. Listing an item as a freebie on Gumtree costs you nothing (compared to the £34.35 that councils charge on average to pick up a bulky household item) and you’d be helping out someone who needs the very thing that’s clogging up your kitchen.
(Pro tip: ‘Freebie’ is the most searched category on Gumtree, and items listed there – even ones that need repairing – are usually gone the same day :-)).
All actions, however small, can make a difference – it soon becomes a big action if millions of us join together to do the same thing.
Shop responsibly, live sustainably – let’s help our planet
Every single thing we use impacts our environment, but you can really reduce your carbon footprint by shopping second-hand, or by listing the items you’re finished with on Gumtree. Not only does second-hand reduce waste by giving things a second life, it also helps cut down on the emissions associated with making new products and shipping them around the world. Find out more about how buying pre-loved products helps our planet on the Green With Less blog.
Why It’s time to take second hand seriously
COP26 has been and gone. Climate change-makers from around the world united to accelerate action towards climate change goals. But with COP26 and the government’s latest landmark strategy leaving second-hand out of the agenda, we have to do more to tackle consumption, reduce waste and take action to become a more circular society – where we keep goods in use for longer and send less (much, much less) to landfill.
We all have a role to play in changing our habits as consumers, and changing our thinking so that second-hand becomes a first choice. We can start by telling our local authorities and the Government that they need to do more to reuse the items they collect as “waste”. You can help us make that change, and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, by signing our petition here.
*Source info for the 100k figure and how we calculated it being 4 times higher than the International Space Station Electrical Waste – challenges and opportunities [July 2020], [https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/145741/1/Material_Focus_Electrical_waste_challenges_and_opportunities.pdf]