KAREN CANNARD: Are you ready for the challenge?

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A personal view
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When I set Rachelle Strauss a challenge in 2008 to attempt a Zero Waste Week, I could never have imagined that a challenge between bloggers would develop into a popular national event that’s since become an annual campaign. Now in its seventh year, National Zero Waste Week takes place September 1-7.

Founded and managed by Rachelle, Zero Waste Week has attracted support from thousands of people across the UK, with families pledging to make a difference to the amount of rubbish they throw away.

And it’s captured the imagination of celebrity supporters too. Celebrity chef Brian Turner, who was featured in Bury’s Food & Drink Festival at the weekend, backed the campaign in 2010 with a focus on food waste. This year, Dame Vivienne Westwood, presenter Kate Edmondson, and comedian Helen Lederer are all lending their support, where the theme is One More Thing, ie what one more thing could you do to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in your rubbish bin.

Pledges include finding out what else you can recycle locally, reorganising your kitchen bins to make it easier, or trying to reduce food waste at home, even if it’s bringing an end to just one particular type of food that often ends up going to waste.

Organisations can get involved too. In support of Zero Waste Week, Edie has published a list of useful tips to reduce waste in the workplace – www.edie.net/news/5/Top-20-tips-to-reduce-waste-in-the-workplace/

Whether you want to make changes at home or in the workplace, you’ll find lots of ways to get involved in this year’s campaign at www.zerowasteweek.co.uk.

I’m personally looking forward to this year’s Zero Waste Week and, as mentioned in last month’s column, I’ll be wearing my usual trouble-shooter hat to tackle a few things, trying to save our family some money on the food waste front.

And if you’ve been inspired to tackle food waste too and want to find out more about what more you can do, there’s a local event coming up that might be just up your street.

On September 10, 6-9pm, Sustainable Bury and The Rubbish Diet are getting together with Café del Mar in Bury St Edmunds to host a Love Food Hate Waste event.

Taking place at Café del Mar’s restaurant in St John’s Street, the evening will feature top tips from a Love Food Hate Waste expert, including storage ideas, portion advice, food date labels and what retailers are doing to help.

Maria Broadbent, the restaurant’s owner, will also be sharing some of her own secrets on how her business makes the most of food when planning and preparing their Mediterranean dishes.

The event is free and promises to be entertaining as well as informative. Light refreshments will also be served and attendees are invited to take along ingredients that are coming close to their use-by date. Maria and her team will then prepare dishes in a Ready Steady Cook fashion for you to taste during the evening.

Places are limited, so booking is essential.

To reserve your place, email Karen@therubbishdiet.org.uk or telephone 07957 432858.

It’s great to have local events that make the topic sociable and fun. Reducing waste is often considered to be a dry topic but this will bring some fantastic ideas to life, which can be easily shared more widely.

And if you’ve got the appetite for even more rubbish entertainment, keep your eyes peeled for a new series of videos featuring Bury St Edmunds comedian Kirsty Hudson. If you’re a fan of her work at the Comedy Market, make sure you don’t miss her Rubbish Diet challenge. More info soon.

-- If any readers from the Hardwick area are taking part in Zero Waste Week, look out for the new bottle bank in Southgate Community Centre’s car park.