Waste not want not

With the ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ (WOW) taking a critical look at Aussie’s waste habits it is fair to say that the topic of Zero Waste is pretty hot right now.

According to the WOW every year the waste we generate in Australia is growing at twice the rate of our population and we are now considered to be one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world. Statistics show the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste in one year with a large portion of this being household waste and completely avoidable.

You might think with recycling as standard practice in our homes and with the recent single-use plastic bag ban in supermarkets surely we have nailed it? Sorry to say it is just a start. We need to take a serious look at producing much less waste in the first place. Especially household waste.

The choice to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle has gained some serious momentum of late and for good reason.  Environmental footprints around the globe are being reduced and the amount of waste going into landfill is being drastically reduced in the process.

The goal of zero-wasters is simple – no waste to go to landfill and discarded materials to become resources for others to use.  They do this by refusing what the don’t need, reducing what they use, reusing whatever they can, recycling what they can’t reduce or reuse and composting what is left. Some expert zero-wasters can fit an entire year’s household waste into a mason jar, while others are starting out with ditching disposables.

Think your household has it covered with waste? Try putting your bin to the test with an audit. If you are surprised with the results, you are not alone.

How to conduct a bin audit:

  • Ideally do this the day before bin day to get the maximum amount of your household waste.
  • Whack on your gloves, lay down a tarp or newspaper and empty out the entire contents of your wheelie bins to make one pile.
  • Sort through the rubbish and put into piles of food, paper/cardboard, plastic, garden waste, glass, metal and miscellaneous items.
  • Separate the plastics further into recyclables (bottles, rigid containers) and non-recyclables (everything else).

How much of this waste is heading to landfill because it can not be recycled, reused or composted? Are there any items you regularly purchase that could be swapped for reusables or even refused?

Collectively we have a huge impact through our choices and every change counts, no matter how small it may be. If you haven’t already, why not try ditching disposables? You could start with swapping disposable plastic water bottles for a reusable type, investing in a reusable coffee cup, replacing cling film with wax resuable wraps, swapping plastic storage containers with glass or aluminium, replacing plastic straws with metal ones, swapping plastic storage bags for reusable cloth alternatives.

The environment will thank you.

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