#WasteNothing: FAQs

About the challenge


What is this challenge about?

The Bristol #WasteNothing Challenge aims to show residents that it is possible, and in many cases easy, to reduce the amount waste that their household produces. By making small changes, you can not only benefit the planet by shrinking the amount that is in your wheelie bin, but you can save yourself some money and have fun doing it too!

Bristol Waste is asking residents to challenge themselves to reduce the waste they generate in their household. Over one year, participants will weigh the waste and recycling that is generated on a weekly basis, and report these figures back to Bristol Waste.

To support our participants, Bristol Waste has lined up some exciting partners to help guide them on their journey through the participant’s starter pack which includes some essential zero-waste tools, as well as talks and workshops on topics such as sustainable fashion, reducing food waste and tips for zero-waste holidays.

At the end of the year, we would like to see as many participating households as possible reduce the contents of their wheelie bin by half. Big challenge!


Why is this challenge important?

The city and the country have ambitious targets to reduce the amount of waste we produce and recycle more. 

Notwithstanding these targets, we also think that this is a good time to gain a better understanding of the value of our possessions and to attempt to use less ‘stuff’.

Bristol is ready to use less stuff and to throw away less. In the UK, we are running out of landfills so instead many authorities burn their waste to produce heat and power.

We do, however, have the choice to manage our waste in a different way altogether – by consciously producing less of it as individuals. If we use less, we would have to manage less which ultimately costs less.

We know it all sounds a bit of a big ask, and can be quite scary, but many of the ways we reduce our waste are actually done really easily. Use a solid soap bar instead of hand soap from a dispense, use flannels and instead of wet wipes, buy loose vegetables and fruit to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging. Go on, give it a go.


Who will be part of the challenge?

50 households from across Bristol will be chosen to take part in the challenge. We will be looking for a diverse range of households from all over the city. It could be individuals, houses of multiple occupancy, students, large or extended families. We're interested in hearing what the challenges are for each type of household make up and the challenges people have in different areas of our city. We also are interested in getting a range of people who are at different stages of their zero waste journey. So this might be someone who already recycles and reuses a lot of things, to someone who is just starting out.


What do residents get taking the Bristol #WasteNothing Challenge?

We’re not asking residents to going at it alone. They will set off on their challenge with a starter pack of zero-waste essentials from a Fairtrade cotton tote to their very own beeswax wraps, a reusable alternative to cling film. We will support all householders that want to take part, and we will work on the solutions together when we find the difficult problems.

Participants will also be provided with a Bristol #WasteNothing Challenge token which can be used for discounted shopping and workshops at some of our partner organisations, a  wormery and  plenty of  tips and advice to help them start going to zero.
Finally, participants have exclusive access to a private forum where they can ask questions, give advice and share experiences.


How long does the challenge last?

This is a 365-day challenge, from 1st April 2019 to 30th March 2020.


How do you select the participants?

We are recruiting households across Bristol to accept the challenge. We’re looking for a diverse group of homes so that we can share stories and experiences that speak to ANYONE who is thinking of going zero-waste. Anyone interested is welcome to apply, we will review the submissions to make sure that we have a broad cross section of households and then let everyone know the outcome.


Taking the challenge


How do I get involved?

It’s easy! Head over to our 'Take the Challenge' page to sign up.


How much is it to participate?

It’s free. The Bristol #WasteNothing Challenge intends to show participants that experiences are more valuable than owning expensive (and probably short-lived) objects. By providing participants with the essentials for free, as well as discounts at partner organisations to use throughout the year, how much you save is really up to you! Reducing single-use plastic, buying loose, reusing items, trying to produce your own cleaning products or growing your own will help you to save money.


There are no zero waste shops in my area. Does this mean I cannot participate?

The thing is, you don’t need to shop at a specific ‘zero-waste’ shop to go zero waste. Nearly all supermarkets sell fruit and vegetables loose, meaning you’re producing less plastic bags straight away. Go on, be that person that has all the vegetables rolling down the conveyer belt. You will get to explain the amazing thing that you are doing in the process and may even inspire the next person to use less plastic too - be the beginning of the revolution!


How do I weigh my waste?

Participants starter packs will include a net at luggage scales to weigh their waste with. A full demonstration will be given the participants induction meeting.


When do I have to weigh the waste?

We suggest participants waste be weighed as close to collection as possible to avoid any last-minute additions. For the non-recyclable waste, weigh individual bags prior to putting them in the black bin to avoid having to handle bags from the black bin.


How can I log the weight online?

Beginning 1st April, participants will be able to access a simple online form to weigh their waste. We will walk households through the form and how to submit their weights during the induction meeting before the start of the challenge.


Why do you need the weights?

Keeping track of participants progress throughout the year will help is us award residents at the end of the challenge.


How do I get the participant discounts?

Show your #WasteNothing Challenge token to a shop or when booking a course and you will benefit from the advantages of being a #WasteNothing challenger.


Do we lose the discounts/support/workshops at the end of the 365 days? I don’t want to go start over after the challenge.

Discounts with our challenge partners are only valid for the duration of the challenge. We do hope that the online forum and group support for fellow challengers will go on long after the 365 days has ended and that we all continue to share new ideas and learnings.