Earlier this year the ABC aired War On Waste which opened our eyes to the shocking amount of food, clothing and other materials that are wasted each year in Australia. You may have watched the program and tried to reduce the amount of waste in your household, or perhaps you thought it was yet another problem to worry about that is too hard solve. While it is easy to be overwhelmed by the state of our world and its problems, there is no doubt that every little bit helps. Here are five easy steps you can take to begin your own war on waste, and the best thing is that you’re probably doing some of these already.
- Ditch the plastic shopping bags: If you’re ordering from The Organic Place you’ve already reduced your plastic bag usage significantly. Our produce comes in gorgeous brown paper bags and you can choose the option to be entirely plastic bag free (for some smaller individual produce within the larger bag) when you shop with us. What’s even better than recycling your large brown paper bag is the fact that it can be reused by us if you leave the previous week’s bag it out on delivery day. Keep a few green bags in your car or hand bag (you can purchase ones which roll up into nothing) for when you are shopping for other things, and voila, you have already made a huge change.
- Purchase a keep cup and waterbottle: one of the most confronting images in War On Waste was the amount of coffee cups and plastic water bottles that were wasted. If you are a regular coffee drinker, it truly will make the world of difference if you purchase a keep cup to have your takeaway brew in. While they can be costly at first, some cafes offer cheaper deals if you purchase keep cups from them, and some cafes even give you a discount when using a reusable cup, so it will eventually pay for itself. Carrying your own waterbottle is just as important as you won’t be tempted to buy a drink when you are out and about as there are only so many times a plastic bottle can be recycled.
- Red-cycle: Check with your local council to see if they recycle soft plastics in your regular recycling, in which case you are able to recycle many more plastic materials (such as foily-looking packets and plastic wrap). If not, you can still collect your soft plastics separately and drop them into a red-cycling bin at one of your local supermarkets. While it may be yet another thing to remember, once you get into the habit, it will become second nature.
- Compost: One of the people who undertook the challenge to reduce their household waste in War On Waste remarked that he thought that food scraps in the regular bin would be okay if it ended up at the tip as it would easily break down. But he discovered that is not the case. When food is compacted at the tip (especially within a plastic bag), it creates high levels of methane as it decomposes. If getting a compost bin seems all too hard, consider digging a small hole in your garden to throw food scraps into, or even throwing your scraps to your pet or on your garden for the local birds. Ideally, avoid having any leftover food at all.
- Go plastic free for your lunch: With all the amazing lunchboxes on offer with their special compartments or separate containers these days, it is relatively simply to avoid wrapping your lunch in plastic wrap. The more fruit and veg you put into lunchboxes, the less packaging you will use, likewise with homemade foods like muffins and bliss balls. If you do want to eat something from a packet, consider buying the largest size of an item (crackers or corn chips for example) and then taking a little bit out for separate portions.
So why not give some of these a go? Don’t feel guilty if you forget your Keep Cup occasionally or forget to red-cycle something. We lead busy lives and it is unlikely we will be all be perfect at reducing our waste but there is no doubt that every little bit helps and the more we know, the more we can do.