Healing for the Heart
In part two of our Step Up to Net Zero series of blogs, our Net Zero coordinator, Frances Nicoll, shares some of her thoughts about how we can all become a little more environmentally friendly. This week, she discusses all things waste.

Reducing Waste

Waste is something that is no longer useful and usually lies around polluting the environment. The Earth does not waste. Everything the Earth produces (along with its plants and animals), all it consumes and expels gets used and goes back into feeding or nourishing something. It is only us humans that produce waste. 

According to a 2021 report entitled, “More Growth, Less Garbage” the amount of waste we generate globally is set to increase from 2.24 billion tons in 2020 to 3.88 billion tons in 2050. That’s a lot of waste and unfortunately, we do not have a good track record of disposing of it responsibly.

“Globally, about 37 percent of waste is disposed of in some type of landfill, 33 percent is openly dumped, 19 percent undergoes materials recovery through recycling and composting, and 11 percent is treated through modern incineration.” 

Kaza, Yao, Bhada-Tata and Van Woerden

What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 (2018)

That means a total of 70% of our waste ends up either buried in the land (landfill) or dumped openly. This system of waste disposal is neither a sustainable nor responsible way to be disposing of the waste we produce. As governments and other organisations work on better waste disposal systems it is important that we do what we can to reduce our waste.

Audit your waste 

We recently conducted a waste audit at Healing for the Heart to see what we are using, throwing away and what is done with our waste once it leaves our offices. This is a great way to give you more information so that you can identify firstly, what waste you can reduce and secondly, how to dispose of things differently to be more environmentally friendly. Here are some guidelines for conducting your own waste audit in your home or place of work: 

1. Check what your local council (or waste disposal company) does with the waste it collects from you and what items it accepts for recycling. This information can be found on their website and normally there is a full list of items that can and cannot be recycled by your council.

2. Set up disposal bins that are clearly marked and allow for the categories of waste you produce. These could include glass recycling, dry mixed recycling, electrical waste, food waste, garden waste and general waste.

3.Decided on time/days over which to monitor and record your waste. Usually data is easiest to collect over the period of a week.

4. Looking at the data you have collected identify trends for reducing waste and/or find alternative disposal options. Working through the 5R’s can help.

At Healing for the Heart circular practices have already been put in place which ensure a reduction in potential waste. Things such as the use of electronic copies instead of paper printing and the provision of crockery and cluttery etc. in our kitchen area. Through these practices we have the opportunity to refuse unnecessary paper waste, reduced existing printing and reuse crockery and cutlery every day instead of consuming single-use items.