The older I get, the more horrified I am about the amount of waste we generate as a species.
Plastic wrapped is hygienically sealed, cleanliness assured…It is light weight, durable, see through and convenient… It is also man made and lasts nearly for ever.
And we keep manufacturing it.
Any way – as a couple we have always tried to do the right thing- recycle newspapers and plastics, save water etc. I carried a Twisties packet containing the waste of a toddler out of the Lerderderg Gorge once, not wanting to litter. (You read that correctly. There were no conveniences at the bottom of the gorge…)
Over the years we have had timers on the shower, have changed over to a reduced flow shower head to conserve water and have been known to let it mellow if its yellow….
And now, I have two kidults who think much harder than I ever have before about what goes into their system and what to do with the waste. I’m sure you have read about the Veganism and Vegetarianism that has been visited upon this house!
Today I decided I would do my fortnightly shop being mindful of the amount of packaging I was purchasing. Well – I guess I did better than most –because we actually DO recycle. But there is a lot of room for improvement.
Come with me for a wander through my shopping cart and let’s see where we can start!
Here are my 10 easy peasy tips on where to reduce waste without really trying:
- Paper recycling
Have a look at this! When I walked into the supermarket I was gobsmacked when I truly LOOKed at the amount of packaging. On everything. I was impressed when my DD told me her friend was doing a year with minimal packaging and had so far only had a twix wrapper and a muesli bar wrapper to dispose of. The friend must be living on fruit and vegetables to have no wastage at all…
- Plastic recycling
Most plastic packaging is recyclable and can be picked up kerbside. Just look for the numbers. I’m about to move into the next phase now, of reducing the purchase of “bad“ plastics which generate toxins in the recycling process. An even better plan is not to buy it in the first place – I’m going to look at how I purchase meat and poultry. Even buying in larger quantities would be an improvement.
- Glass recycling
Glass is recyclable kerbside. Leave the lids off! And rinsing them first reduces contamination. We keep a small basket under the kitchen sink and put all paper, plastics, glass and aluminium tins into it – and it all magically finds its way to the recycle bin outside each evening. Works for me…
This is one of the best kept secrets but is such a great way of recycling that we need to shout it from the roof tops! Everyone know that the plastic bags from the super market can be kept and returned, right? Well the REDcycle bins that the bags are placed into can take even MORE! Check it out HERE . All those plastics like cling wrap, the top of meat containers, chip packets, chocolate wrappers, biscuit wrappers and more– all into the REDcycle bin.
We have a double bin – rubbish on the right, REDcycle on the left. Easy. With REDcycle we have reduced our waste down to a bread bag size PER WEEK. That’s for two – twice as much when the kids are home because they chuck tissues in there too…
5. Other recycling – batteries, mobile phones, used light globes, polystyrene, toothpaste and coffee pods
Some things are a little more challenging but are worth researching. We recently discovered our local recycling and refuse station takes polystyrene for recycling. You will be surprised what can be recycled – instead of creating more land fill.
- Reusable bags
Surely everyone does this now? The Green Bags can be placed in the REDcycle bin when they come to the end of their life – not sure about the newer plastic coated bags, so be careful.
- Reusable produce bags
This is my new favorite find! I have long refused to take bags for many fruit and veg, because frankly they are just extra packaging. Why put a pumpkin in a bag? Or a head of broccoli? I bought 8 reusable and washable produce bags made from recycled plastics, which can be REDcycled if and when they go to God. Love them.
Again – we have a small compost bin under the kitchen sink which ALSO magically empties itself into the compost bin (located somewhere in the garden) every day or so. My husband is a bit fussy about what can go in the compost or worm farm. Paper, hair, dust etc are all fine; vegetable and fruit peelings and outer leaves are all fine; so are seeds and apple cores and banana skins (the ones he doesn’t feed to the stag horns hanging outside). NO CITRUS, FRUIT PITS OR WOODY STALKS! But there is a solution to that….
- Green waste
The Organics Bin (supplied by the council) is for garden waste – and all of the big chunky fruit and veg scraps!!
- Shop smart
This is my homework for next week. The packet of 5 x snack sized chips for lunch treats are expensive and highly packaged. I will add a couple more plastic (PETE) boxes to my trolley and buy the larger packet… buy meat from the butcher, bread from the baker, maybe with my own containers?
So – have I inspired you? It’s not that hard to get to this stage. Just a little bit of organisation! I still have a long way to go – and I wish I had started a long time ago. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see a nearly empty bin each week – cheaper too: we have had a reduction in rates due to the reduction in bin size!! Now I want to see the recycle bin less chockers….