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Zero Waste Week

991. Rachelle Strauss

Rachelle Strauss, from the Forest of Dean, is the founder of ‘Zero Waste Week’, a campaign promoting recycling and waste reduction which has reached 56 million people online.

Rachelle Strauss

After she was caught in flash flooding on a family holiday to Cornwall in 2004, Rachelle became determined to act against the environmental impact of climate change. She established Zero Waste Week as an online blog, chronicling her family’s efforts to drastically reduce their waste with simple methods, resulting in them accumulating just one bin full a year. Rachelle’s passion and accessible ideas quickly began to attract a thriving online following, inspired to try avoiding creating any waste for one week every year. The campaign has since grown internationally, with participants in 73 countries around the world. Rachelle’s award coincides with the start of Zero Waste Week 2018.

In a personal letter to Rachelle, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“Zero Waste Week is inspiring people around the world to dramatically reduce the waste they create for good. By sharing your own experiences as a family and suggesting simple ways people can recycle and reuse you are making it easy and fun for as many people as possible to get involved in your important campaign.”

Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean said:

“I am delighted that Rachelle is getting the recognition she deserves for her fantastic work starting and running Zero Waste Week.

“Rachelle’s excellent grassroots campaign has encouraged householders, businesses and organisations to reduce landfill waste – reaching tens of millions of people across the globe.

“With the environmental impact of waste never having been higher on the agenda, initiatives like Zero Waste Week are crucial to keeping awareness high and working to make our planet a better place.”

Rachelle said:

“How wonderful to be recognised, alongside these other amazing volunteers, for my work in raising awareness about some of the devastating effects our current waste crisis is having on the environment, wildlife and our own health. It was being involved in a catastrophic flood in Boscastle (which, at the time, I believed was climate change happening – not in 100 years time – but right in that moment) that led me to have a wake up call and decide to be part of the solution rather than continue contributing to the problem.

“And while I deeply appreciate my Points of Light award, I’m rewarded every day when people email me telling me they feel good about some of the differences they’ve made in their own lives as a result of getting involved with Zero Waste Week. While I organise it and have put in over 10,000 hours of my time, the success of the campaign lies in the participants and ambassadors who are committed to change and take the challenge with enthusiasm and energy. These people become the messengers who take the Zero Waste Week ethos, make it their own and help it grow organically.

“It’s a privilege to connect with people who put their unwavering belief in what I do and – instead of wringing their hands and waiting for something to change – rise up and become the change.

“My goal is that my children and grandchildren have a healthy, safe and beautiful planet to grow up on. The more of us that take steps towards ensuring this goal, the more likely it is to happen:

Nobody can do everything.
Everybody can do something.
Together we can do anything.”

Pictured below: Rachelle receiving her award from her MP Mark Harper

Rachelle Strauss with Mark Harper

See more about ‘Zero Waste Week’

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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