Zero Waste Leeds 2020 social impact report

We’re delighted to share our 2020 social impact report – a summary of what we achieved during 2020.

2020 was a year that was the most challenging that most of us have ever faced.

When the first lockdown began in March, our team had a chat on that new platform we were all busy trying to get our heads around.

One we’d all eventually unmuted and worked out how to turn our cameras on, we had a think about how to respond the situation we all found ourselves in.

We were ready to pause our work and go and do something else instead. Zero Waste Leeds is a project of a social enterprise that works on a range of social issues – and we thought that if our time and skills were needed elsewhere, at a time of crisis, then we should consider doing something else instead.

But it soon became clear that there was useful stuff that we could do through Zero Waste Leeds. And within days we’d come up with an online #StayAtHome waste reduction campaign – working alongside Leeds City Council to help people to waste less whilst we all stayed at home.

This was just one of the campaigns we delivered during 2020. Alongside the COVID campaign, we continued to deliver our core social media engagement work, on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube – helping people to waste less in their daily lives.

We did all we could to share our platform, championing all the great projects, social enterprises, community initiatives and businesses that are all about waste reduction.

We continued to promote #LeedsByExample, the on-the-go recycling initiative set up by Hubbub and Leeds City Council – primarily by running a series of 18 Lunchtime Live conversations with people leading by example as we respond to the Climate Emergency.

We also worked with Hubbub and Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in Meanwood on the Plastic Pioneers project – looking at how to reduce single-use plastic use at school.

And in the summer we set up Leeds School Uniform Exchange – probably our most successful project yet. We worked with communities across Leeds to support them to share school uniform – and make second hand first choice.

Throughout the year, we had a focus on clothing and fashion – first of all through our Zero Waste Fashion project, which centred on a Zero Waste Fashion Week, and then through Leeds Fashion Futures, a collaboration with The RSA to explore how to take a place based approach to reducing the negative impacts of our clothing choices.

And then in the run-up to Christmas we set up #GiveLeeds – to make it easy for people to donate to local charities – rather than spending money on unwanted gifts.

We did all of this whilst continuing to grow our movement – with our online following more than doubling during 2020. We shared an average of 10 posts a day across our social media platforms – and had close to 20,000 visits to our revamped website – where you’ll find lots of tips on how to lead a waste-free life in Leeds, on themes including garden wasterecyclingfood and stuff.

We also enjoyed more local media coverage than ever before – with several appearances on local TV and radio – alongside a number of local media articles.

There is so much more we want to do. But there is so much to look back on in our various projects during 2020 that gives us hope – a theme that we explore more here.

We’d like to thank all of our funders who have made our work possible this year – Leeds City CouncilLeeds Community FoundationJimbo’s FundHubbubThe RSA, the ESRC and the University of Leeds.

And we’d also like to thank everyone who has contributed to making Zero Waste Leeds such a success this year. We are part of such a generous community of people in Leeds who share our desire to find practical ways to waste less in our daily lives – and we are grateful to everyone who takes the time to share ideas, ask questions or get involved as a volunteer.

If you’d like to support us as we continue to develop Zero Waste Leeds during 2021, please get in touch.