| Net Zero Hero

Taking on the challenge of going green

Towards the end of last year, Senior Managers and Directors from across Reconomy, Valpak and ReBOUND decided to take on their own COP26-related challenges in a month-long Green Fast. Everyone had to cut down or give up on something that would help reduce their carbon footprint.

With challenges ranging from going vegan for half of the week to cutting down on food waste, stopping using cars for short distance travel to cutting down on single-use items, the challenges were varied but successful, with some even gaining data to back up that success!

We have put together a short series of blogs to share how their journeys went. Starting with meat and dairy free, as it seems quite timely as we are just moving out of January, now more commonly recognised as Veganuary.

Going Meat and Dairy Free

Several challenges were linked to cutting down on meat and animal-based products like dairy. Research into the environmental impact of a vegan diet has found that going completely vegan can reduce our individual daily carbon footprints in half! Even just cutting out meat products in a vegetarian diet can significantly reduce daily carbon footprints related to our diets.

The idea of meat-free Mondays is to have at least one day each week where we don’t eat meat. This is something many of us are already doing on a regular basis, and with the number of meat-free recipes and recipe books becoming popular it’s becoming even easier to make tasty vegetarian meals. For Steve Hatton, Head of Account Management for Business and Industry at Reconomy, he went meat-free on not just a Monday, but for 11 days through November with some significant reductions in emissions – each meat free day reduced his carbon emissions by 7.72kg, equivalent to driving almost 20 miles!

Veganism has been on the increase in recent years with an estimated 3% of the UK population following a vegan diet. The growing popularity of meat-free Mondays and Veganuary are helping more and more people move to a vegan diet, so one challenge was to try and go vegan for half of the week. For the November Green Fast, this was one of the most difficult challenges but there was still success had by those involved. Emily Cotterill, Head of Sustainability at ReBOUND, found it a challenge to make all the changes needed to follow a vegan diet, including avoiding all meat products, changing to oat milk in tea and even the evening chocolate treat!

Additionally, committing to dairy-free 5 out of 7 days in the week was tough. Dairy alternatives like oat or soy milk, vegan cheese and dairy-free cream or yoghurt are becoming increasingly widespread on supermarket shelves giving customers more opportunity and choice to buy dairy-free products. However, whilst these products are becoming increasingly widespread, they still don’t quite have the similar taste we’d want from dairy-alternative products – a common comment from both Karen Lee, Finance and Integration Manager at Reconomy, and Jamie Roberts, Director of Managed Accounts at Reconomy, who took part! Outside of the obvious milk that someone consumes, a comment that Karen made was that milk powder is present in more food than you expect, making it even more restrictive.

Keep an eye out for our next post, coming soon.