Waste Less, Live More Week 2014

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

22-28 September is Waste Less, Live More Week organized by Keep Britain Tidy and supported by Business in the Community.

Waste Less, Live More Week aims to raise awareness that environmental and social issues are interlinked and tackling these issues together is a far more effective solution.

It is only, much like was the case with the National Recycle Week, as shame that very little mention of it seems to be made in the media due to, it would appear, much as with the Recycle Week, that no press releases seem that have been sent out, or not enough of them, and also that the general media does not seem to be interested.

It is becoming more and more evident and should be clear to see to even a blind man with a white cane that we are currently living in a world that is stretched beyond environmental limits and failing to support the health and wellbeing of many. Change is necessary but it can only happen if we all work together on this. “Waste Less, Live More” is an approach to doing this. It is very much about rethinking how we live our lives in ways that reduce our environmental impact, whilst improving the health and happiness of ourselves and each other.

The theme for 2014 is Be Resourceful.

Being resourceful is about finding new, creative and inventive ways to live better, within our means. The week is about involving a wide range of organizations and individuals to come together to host a week of events and activities which highlight that what’s good for the environment is good for us.

Mother Earth is so generous with Her gifts that it is about time we started giving something back to her. One way we can impact positively on the environment is by limiting the amount of waste we produce, and the best way to do this is by re-using and re-purposing stuff we already have.

I have written many articles on that matter, as regular readers will know, and also a book, “Let's Talk Rubbish”, which is currently undergoing a revision and the new, improved (and enlarged?) book should be available, hopefully, sometime early next year.

Our grandparents and their parents and grandparents before them were used to being resourceful through circumstance – when food, energy and materials were scarce, they improvised, modified and made do with whatever they could get their hands on. In the modern age we have lost the habit of being resourceful and have fallen into wasteful ways. However, it is not too late to stop the rot – read on for ideas on being resourceful with DIY and crafting.

Develop the habit of looking at everything through the eyes of a recycler. Old wine barrels turn into bespoke sink units, antique doors become dining tables, a piece of driftwood fixed with a glass top makes a unique coffee table, bead necklaces morph into chandeliers, old light bulbs live again as Christmas baubles.

It starts with the small things and many people today, unfortunately, no longer possess the eye that our grandparents and those before them had – had to have, maybe – and just cannot see the reuse potential, neither in items of waste that they “produce”, at home and at work”, or that they may find somewhere.

A tin can that many would clean up, as often one must, to put into the recycling bin can become the pencil bin you need or want for your desk, whether at home, in the home office, or at work. And with a little dressing up the this pencil bin can even be better than anything you may be able to buy.

Instead of going out and spending money on sets of glass storage jars, even if they may be made, as the label says, from recycled glass, reuse those in which you get produce from the store, such as jam, honey, pickles, etc. Our ancestors did just that. And they even used the right kind of such jars as drinking vessels, as drinking glasses were expensive to buy back in those days. I do that at home very much on purpose and why also not.

Being resourceful is all about living with what you have. By being creative and open-minded about the materials available to us, we can help protect the environment and save money too. Isn’t that reason enough to have a go at resourceful living? So, have fun exploiting the potential of the humblest items of waste that is “produced” by you, by your place of work, or that you find having been thrown away by others. It is fun and also a good way to save money and do a little bit to saving the environment by not allowing those items to go into the waste stream, not even the recycling stream.

We must remember that while recycling is better by far than landfilling or incinerating our waste being able to reuse and upcycling is better by far still, much better in fact.

© 2014