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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Could you run a Zero Waste Week in your company?

I'm always on the lookout for Zero Waste action. I like to hear about new ideas that might help me and help others in the mission to live more and waste less.

A few weeks ago I heard that Ferrier Pearce Creative Group, an independent group of creative and marketing consultancies,were planning to hold a company Zero Waste Week.   I sent them a copy of my book, for them to leave strategically placed by the kettle, and eagerly followed their progress on their blog and Twitter.

At the end of the week I was keen to know how it all went, so I spoke to Rachel and Debbie to find out just that.  Here's what they had to say...

What inspired you to run your Zero Waste Week?

We’ve always prided ourselves on being environmentally friendly, and we were one of the first CarbonNeutral companies. We also have an ISO140001 accreditation under our belt.

We were inspired by a few key individuals in the company who thought this would be a good idea to really get everyone involved in our efforts.

How did it go down within the company?

It was a great success. We held ‘Waste Hacks’ in the weeks running up to our Zero Waste Week so that we could educate and discuss issues regarding waste at work. The ‘Waste Hacks’ were made up of groups of eight, and run by one of our ‘Zero Waste Ambassadors’ who were already very keen and very green! The hacks helped us to work out where we wasted items, and what we could do as a company to improve them. Lots of ideas from the ‘Waste Hacks’ were incorporated into the week. 

Throughout the week itself we had great involvement from the teams. With offices based around the UK we communicated with everyone daily by sharing photos and tips.

What were the highlights of the week?

There were lots. It was great to see how creative the team were at trying to reduce waste in the first place. It was great to see the interaction we got from other companies and individuals, which spurred us on even more.

Were there any low points? We wouldn’t call them low points, but there were times when we had to remind people that this wasn’t just about recycling. It was about reducing the waste in the first place! What was the wackiest Zero Waste idea? The wackiest idea was probably turning the heating off and coming into work in lots of layers, woolly hats and gloves! It was freezing but we made it through the day without any frostbite in sight.

What ideas had the best take up?

Definitely the ‘Souper Group.’ It was a great opportunity for us to all come together at lunch time and share food that we had all contributed to making. Everyone was given different jobs – such as the soup maker, the bread baker, the vegetable collector. We’ll definitely be repeating that through the year, and coming up with some summer time alternatives.

Did you have a significant reduction in physical waste?

We definitely saw a huge reduction in packaging and paper waste, as well as food waste. This was helped by sharing lunches and by our ‘Souper Groups,’ where individuals brought in left over vegetables. These were turned into a tasty soup for all to enjoy. Our bins were practically empty! We also educated ourselves on using the compost bins in the office, and gave any vegetable scraps to Debbie’s chickens!

Was anyone inspired to make a long-term change? There are certainly a few people who will continue making changes in their everyday lives to reduce waste, and for the rest of them, we hope we have educated them to make conscious decisions regarding waste. We haven’t allowed any plastic bags through the door of our Cambridgeshire office and have still kept the fine tin, just in case anyone breaks the rules! Do you plan to run another Zero Waste Week in the future? Yes! We’ll be running our second Zero Waste Week of the year from 01 – 08 September, and will continue to run two Zero Waste Weeks each year. We will be inviting our suppliers and clients to take part in the challenge.

So…do you think your company could give Zero Waste Week a whirl?  You can read more about Ferrier Pearce Creative Group's Zero Waste experience on their blog. Please do let me know if you're going to join the Zero Heroes by tweeting me @AnnaPitt or dropping me an email for a free copy of my book and a few tips to get you started if you feel you need a little help.