Climate Change Life on Land Life in the Water Protecting Wildlife Space
zero waste; zero waste challenge

A Zero Waste Challenge for Kids

April 25, 2023 - Jenny Tsui

Take a look in your waste bin. What’s in it? Are there some food scraps and containers from lunch or dinner? Maybe some used paper and receipts? Perhaps you bought a new toy or book today, and its plastic and paper packaging sits in the bin too. From food waste to single-use items, the average person sends 0.74 kilograms of waste to the landfill every day. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot, but this adds up to a global total of at least 2 billion tonnes of waste each year! Can we reduce our waste? Try the Zero Waste Challenge, and see how much waste you can reduce in a week!

What is Zero Waste?

Zero waste is a way of living in which we aim to create minimal waste in our everyday lives. Contrary to popular belief, it is not about producing no waste at all. Rather, we try to create as little waste as we can within our means. Being 100% waste-free may be impossible as many of us may not have enough support from governments and manufacturers to do so.

A zero-waste lifestyle helps us protect the environment in several ways. Firstly, we reduce land pollution when we send less trash to landfill. Secondly, it encourages us to live more sustainably by reducing, reusing, and recycling. When we understand how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us, we can find a way to protect and conserve Earth’s resources. 

Check out this article next: 10 Food Waste Facts for Kids

How Do We Live A Zero-Waste Lifestyle?

It is not easy to live without producing any waste, but it is also not as hard as we may think, either. Here are some tips we can follow to reduce our waste. 

  1. Buy less: This is the number one thing we can do to reduce our waste. The fewer things we buy, the less trash we generate. The next time you would like to buy something, stop and think: Do you really need it? Why do you need it? Do you have something similar at home that you can use instead?
  2. Use a soap bar: The next time you run out of soap, shampoo, or conditioner, consider buying them in bars instead of bottles. That way, you do not have to throw away the bottle once you finish the product
  3. Reuse bottles: If you do have empty bottles and containers, turn them into plant pots, piggy banks, or stationery holders. With a little creativity, our plastic waste can be repurposed into something new.
  4. Bring your own bag/container: As much as possible, bring your own bag and container when you go shopping. This is a great way to cut plastic pollution, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest environmental issues of our lifetime.
  5. Use a handkerchief: Tissues cannot be recycled, so it is a good idea to use a handkerchief in place of them. Similarly, you can substitute paper towels for reusable ones.
  6. Donate old clothes, toys, and books: Grown out of your belongings? If they are still in working condition, send them to a new home instead of the landfill.
  7. Grow your own vegetables: If you have a garden, consider growing your own vegetables, fruits, or herbs! Besides being a fun project, growing your own food is also a good way to avoid packaged groceries at the supermarket.
  8. Compost: A good way to get rid of food scraps such as eggshells and fruit peel is to make your own compost! Compost makes a good fertilizer for your plants. To make compost, add a mixture of green (e.g. bits of grass, fruit and vegetable peel) and brown (e.g. dry leaves, shredded unwanted paper) waste into a bin. If done correctly, it will turn into a dark brown material that looks like soil. This can be added to your garden soil to help your plants grow.

More on this topic here: 7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste

Try the Zero Waste Challenge

Week 1

In the first week, take note of how much waste you and your family generate each day. Weigh your trash and make note of how much trash you collect from Day 1 to Day 7.

During this period, get to know your trash. You cannot cut your waste without knowing what is in it. It is a good idea to take note of what you and your family put in the trash. Are you throwing away lots of paper towels or single-use items?

Week 2

Your challenge begins in the second week. Use the tips in this article to try to get as close as possible to zero waste. This is when your notes from the first week will come in handy. What items do you throw away the most? If you use lots of paper towels, swapping them for a reusable towel will help you reduce a big part of your waste. If you have lots of food waste, try buying or preparing less food. Your aim is to generate as little waste as possible each day. 

Same as the first week, weigh and make note of how much trash you collect, from Day 8 to Day 14. How did it go compared to week 1? 

Final Thoughts

Take some time to reflect on the challenge. Was it easier or more difficult than you thought? Which habits were easiest to change, which were the most difficult, and why? 

Living a zero-waste life may look different for everyone. You do not have to compost or grow your own garden to live a zero-waste lifestyle – every small effort counts in making the planet a more sustainable one!

Make sure to check this out next: 7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste At Home

Are you a school and want to collaborate with Earth.Org?

contact us

Are you a student working on sustainable projects or learning about climate change and the environment?

Submit your story for a chance to be featured on Kids.Earth.Org

send us your news
Share this article with your friends

About the Author

Jenny Tsui

Jenny is a writer and editor in the field of education. She is an aspiring environmentalist who hopes to inspire young learners to care for the planet – one article at a time!