News Article

Living a Zero-ish Waste Lifestyle

Sustainability week, 10 - 14 February

Being Zero Waste is not just about the amount of rubbish you produce, it’s about all sorts of waste that your lifestyle may create: the pollution from your morning commute, how much water you use, and even what you wear and what you eat.

But have no fear, KCLSU is here to give you a deep dive into your daily waste production, and some tips and tricks on how to reduce it.


1. Your Rubbish

Okay, I know I said Zero Waste living was not just about the rubbish you create, but it admittedly is a big part of the movement. In Britain alone, we produce over 31 million tonnes of rubbish per year. This not only affects the lives of those around us, with waste sorters across the developing world being overworked, exploited and paid next to nothing – but also affects our environment. Even the 45.7% of UK waste that is sent across the globe to be recycled is often hoarded and burned – including plastics that harm the atmosphere. Ultimately, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself… so here are some reusable alternatives to some usual waste producing items:


  • Cling Film/Tin foil --> Beeswax Wrap
  • Coffee cups --> Reusable cups

Both are cheaper for you in the long run and are also great to reduce waste!


2. Your Commute

Unsurprisingly, using buses, Ubers and even the tube contributes to your carbon footprint. Not only is car transport the highest cause of pollution in London, but recent findings have shown that air pollution on the tube is just as bad if not worse than on the roads!


  • Try planning your travel in advance – if you can walk there in 30 minutes instead of 20 minutes by bus, it’s worth a shot both for your health and the planet’s!
  • If you must take carbon-emitting modes of transport, try and go for public forms like buses and the tube instead of taxis or cars – this will considerably reduce your carbon footprint!


3. Your Clothes

The average person will throw away over 30kg of clothes and shoes every year. To avoid this:


  1. Don’t buy an outfit for one day/night, buy something you can use, reuse and restyle over and over.
  2. Avoid giving in to the fast fashion trend. Instead of getting a £5 dress, invest in a better quality material so it lasts a long time.
  3. Donate the clothes you don’t want to charity. Or, if you’re keen – come join us at our Swap Shop at The Studio this week and swap your old clothes for some new pieces.
  4. If you do shop, don’t be shy of economic and environmentally friendly Charity Shops that give old clothes a new home that is not the garbage dump! Why not come see the Fashion show on Thursday to gain some inspiration!


4. Your Food

You probably hear this one a lot, but food waste is no laughing matter. Did you know burning a banana peel produces enough energy to charge your phone… twice? It’s also estimated that over a third of the world’s food goes to waste every year, not cool.


  • So, don’t neglect your leftovers! Your wallet and planet will thank you. There’s lots of great ways to reuse your leftover food like soups, omelettes and even cakes!
  • Think about where your food comes from – there are lots of sustainably sourced food options at The Vault and Guys Bar, just ask our staff!
  • Finally, if you’re a big fan of a takeaway, why not save yourself some money and get on food-waste reduction apps like Olio and Too Good to Go? You can collect food from many notable restaurants and café’s for up to 80% off the original price – and it doesn’t go to waste. Win, win!


5. Your Toiletries

That’s right, not even the toiletries are safe from waste production. Waste from the personal care industry has multiplied over 120 times since the 1950s. What can you do about it?

  • Plastic wrapped tampons à Sustainably packaged tampons. Also available for free at SU Hubs!
  • Soaps, loo roll and bathroom cleaner in single use bottles à Refill your toiletries at KCL’s zero-waste shop Nought and save a pretty penny.
  • Learn how to make your own sustainable beauty products at Nought or over at Stamford Street Apartments today (10th Feb)!


Overall living a Zero Waste life can seem daunting, but you don’t have to hold yourself to such a harsh standard. You can still live a Zero-ish Waste lifestyle and help reduce your impact on the planet by a significant extent.

You can find out more about ways to live sustainably over at our Sustainability Pop Ups around Guys and Denmark Hill this week!


Written by Chiara Zucchelli


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