30 Jul Reduce waste, reuse, and recycle with these tips
Hi all, it’s friendly front of desk and nutrition student, Nina. As you’re probably aware, it’s the second last day of July…so perhaps it’s technically a little late to jump on the Plastic Free July bandwagon if you haven’t already. (Read more about it HERE if you’re unsure what I’m rambling about). But why only commit to one month of trying to reduce waste? Why not make it an overall lifestyle change? (Side note – it’ll also do your wallet and health huge favours by saving money and naturally avoiding packaged foods). Here are just a few ideas you can adopt to get you on your way to reducing, reusing and recycling.
- Always carry a reusable shopping bag (and maybe some smaller produce bags) with you in your backpack / handbag / car / etc so that you’re never stuck without one. Also always carry a reusable water bottle and keep cup with you! This is a great way to reduce waste!
- Say no to plastic straws. (Did you know that they don’t decompose and can’t be recycled? Yep…that straw you used in your milkshake when you were 5 years old is still hanging around and will probably outlive you and your great great great great grandkids).
- While you’re at it, say no to plastic takeaway containers and cutlery. Instead, bring your own with you if you’re buying take out or know you’ll be somewhere like a food court.
- For food that comes with substantially less packaging, shop at your local markets, community co-ops and bulk food stores as much as you can. If you’re unsure of what’s in your local area, simply Google it or look on Facebook.
- Take your own glass or stainless steel containers to your local butcher / fish shop and have them put your meat / seafood in there instead of in plastic.
- Similarly, instead of using glad wrap or plastic to store food, use jars, glass or stainless steel containers. Have leftovers? Pop them in a bowl with a plate on top!
- Cut down on kitchen waste! Keep all your veggie scraps in the freezer until you have enough to make a veggie stock (throw them all into a pot, add water, some garlic and herbs and hey presto). Get creative in the kitchen with your leftovers – make soup out of old veggies, blitz up broccoli stem and throw them into a pasta sauce, bake the seeds and skin from pumpkin and serve them as sides, make carrot top pesto…the list goes on and on and on. Low Tox Life and Zero Waste Chef have some awesome recipes and ideas.
- Line your garbage bin with old newspaper instead of plastic. Here’s how.
- The bathroom actually turns out to be a tough one when trying to avoid plastic waste. So why not get creative and make your own cosmetics and household items? The internet is full of ideas for DOY deoderant, toothpaste, cleaner and more.
- Don’t get tricked into thinking that in order to reduce waste or do any of this you need to go out and buy new things! (It kind of goes against the whole spirit of reducing, reusing and recycling in the first place, right?). A reusable shopping bag can be an old library bag that you have at home, food and drink can be stored in old glass jars, a pillow case makes a fantastic bag for bread storage. And don’t forget the magic of places like Vinnies, second hand stores, garage sales and local markets to pick up fabulous second hand items! If you are buying new products (perhaps a bamboo toothbrush or moon cup – hint, hint!), be mindful of what the product is made from, who made it and what their working conditions were like. Some great online stores are Nourished Life and Biome, and Good On You is a fantastic app that rates brands according to their impacts on people, the planet and animals.
P.S. Don’t feel like you need to do all of these things. Pick a couple to start with and adopt more as you go. Before you know it, they’ll become second nature and you’ll be doing them without even realising. (Plus you’ll find yourself becoming more aware of all the other things you can do to reduce waste, reuse and recycle too!).
P.P.S. Here are a few resources you might find handy ?
http://www.abc.net.au/ourfocus/waronwaste/ (the second season of War on Waste started last Tuesday in case you missed it!)
I’d love to hear what habits you already have in place to reduce waste, and live a more sustainable environmentally friendly life, so let me know!
If you’d like to read our tips on how to reduce waste in the kitchen, head on over here!