Zero waste Hackney

Join the #ZeroWasteHackney challenge

Hackney recycles 27% of its waste, and although it has improved in recent years, we can all do a little more.

If you don't recycle much, you can give food waste recycling a go. If you already recycle a lot, rethink the way you use single-use disposables and explore low-waste living. Start with simple tasks, like switching from shampoo bottles to soap bars or buying loose fruit and vegetables instead of packaged ones.

What is the challenge?

The aim is to encourage you to make as close to no waste as possible - if you manage none then even better. It may seem difficult at first, but if you challenge yourself you will undoubtedly reduce your waste.

After the challenge is over, you may want to stick to some of your new habits. Small changes really can make a big difference.

How does the challenge work?

Step 1 - Know your waste

Keep your waste and recycling for a week. Then take a photo and make a note of the packaging or other type of waste that you could have recycled or simply avoided in the first place.

Step 2 - Challenge yourself

During your Zero Waste Week, recycle and re-use as much as you can and refuse single use items. Make sure you plan ahead so that you're ready. You can start on any day of the week as long as you do it for a week.

Step 3 - Share your results

After the challenge ends, check how much less waste you threw away. Did you manage to make zero waste?

Share your #ZeroWasteHackney tips during the challenge. Spread the word, nominate someone you know to take the challenge by tagging them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.


  • start recycling food waste, order your caddy and liners here
  • recycle everything you can in your green sack or flats communal recycling bin
  • refuse freebies or donate them to charity or to a friend
  • refuse single use plastics, like straws and drinking cups
  • carry a spork, a cloth napkin and a lightweight Tupperware to refuse single use plastics
  • mix used coffee granules with any oil and use them as natural body exfoliator
  • swap your kitchen paper towel for a reusable cloth one
  • swap your plastic cling film for a reusable beeswax wrap or Tupperware
  • swap shampoo bottles for shampoo soap bars
  • make your own plant-based milk
  • take your broken small electrical goods, unwanted clothes to your nearest recycling bank
  • try real cloth nappies, and get £54 from us
  • donate your furniture to Homestore with a free pick up
  • use white vinegar, baking soda, oils and water to replace your cleaning products
  • use your own smaller cotton or mesh bags for your loose fruits & vegetables
  • repair broken household items with the Japanese Kintsugi method
  • fix your household items at your nearest repair shop
  • attend a Hackney Fixers event
  • explore food markets and local unpackaged food shops to buy food without packaging

Avoid junk mail

Hackney households receive approximately 35 million pieces of unwanted mail each year. These weigh 900 tonnes and take 6,000 trees to create.

To find out about ways to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive, visit NLWA unwanted mail to see 6 simple steps to stop unwanted mail and request your free no junk mail sticker. 

Switch to reusable sanitary products

Reusable sanitary products are more environmentally friendly:

  • menstrual cups are bell shaped silicon cups that are inserted to collect period blood - they're free from toxins, can be worn up to 12 hours and usually cost around £23
  • washable pads are reusable pads made from fabric liners that can be machine-washed - the average cost of a full kit is £55
  • period underwear is machine-washable underwear that absorbs menstrual blood - on average it costs around £20

Why use reusable sanitary products?

Pads, tampons and the products that come with them, from packaging to liners are a bit of an environmental challenge. An average woman uses about 11,000 disposable sanitary products over a lifetime. Worldwide, an estimated 45 billion tampons or sanitary pads are used every year resulting in 3,200 tonnes of waste (equivalent to 178 double decker buses).

Disposable sanitary products flushed down the toilet can block sewers and pollute our environment. In 2015, the Ocean Conservancy's volunteers collected 28,000 used tampons and applicators from beaches around the world on one single day.

Tampons and sanitary pads can also end up in landfill where they take over 500 years to decompose (90% amount of plastic in most pads - many tampons and panty liners also contain plastic) or burnt, this releases even more carbon into our climate.  

Women spend an average of £3,000 in their lifetime on tampons and sanitary products, so switching to a menstrual cup, washable pads or period underwear can help save money too.

Take our quiz for a chance to win a reusable sanitary product (a menstrual cup or reusable pads).

Start the quiz

Register for the challenge

Register now

Contact us if your shop accepts refills and you'd like to be listed on our map.

Page updated: 31/01/2019 14:54:38