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16 June 2017

Your war on waste

Did you watch ABC’s War On Waste series and feel inspired to make small positive changes to reduce your environmental footprint? Here are some quick and easy ways you can reduce your waste inspired by the topics highlighted in the War On Waste series.

Your war on waste starts here:

1. Reusable coffee cup

Reduce your disposable coffee cup waste by using a reusable coffee cup. We use approximately one billion disposable coffee cups each year, making this single use item one of the largest contributors to waste along with plastic bottles and bags. People forget that it’s not just about the waste at the end, but the precious non-renewable resources that go into making those takeaway items in the first place. Simple changes such as using a reusable coffee cup can reduce a significant amount of waste and pollution, and of course save precious resources.

2. #Banthebag

Australians are the second highest waste producers in the world, producing on average 690 kilograms of waste per person each year. Plastic bags are one of Australia’s largest environmental hazards with over 3.92 billion plastic bags used and disposed each year. Using reusable shopping and produce bags instead of plastic disposable ones will greatly reduce your contribution to landfill. Take part in influencing change to #banthebag - more details here.

3. Start a zero-waste kit

A zero-waste kit makes it easy for you to eat and drink waste-free while out-and-about. You can make up your own kit depending on the items you use most, but generally a zero-waste kits includes a reusable water bottle, cup, container, straw, cutlery and napkin. Take your zero-waste kit everywhere you go and you will never have to use single use disposable items again.

4. Reduce wardrobe waste

Wear what you have in the wardrobe and don’t give in to buying a new item of clothing just because it’s in fashion. Instead, visit your local op-shop or swap clothes with a friend. If you do need to buy brand new, buy ethically made clothing from environmentally friendly materials.

5. Reduce household waste

Australia’s dependence on landfill as a waste management system is greatly affecting the environment with waste increasing at a compound growth rate of 7.8 per cent per annum. When buying food, reduce your food miles as much as possible by purchasing direct from your local farmer. Where possible, avoid purchasing pre-packaged food and opt for buying in bulk from a local wholesaler. Reduce your use of single use plastics by using non-toxic containers to store your purchases. The recycling service offered by most local councils is a great environmentally friendly initiative that makes it easy for every household to reduce their contribution to landfill. Keep a separate bin in your kitchen for recyclables and regularly sort out your general waste from your recycling. When a valuable household item breaks, don’t discard it – fix it. Society has become accustom to throwing away items that can easily be repaired. The next time something breaks, don’t throw it away, head to your local hardware store instead. Reduce, recycle and repair!

6. Compost

Composting your food scraps not only provides you with nutrient rich fertiliser for your garden, it also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfill. Plant matter requires air to decompose properly, therefore when placed in landfill among other chemically produced waste, it doesn’t decay cleanly. The dense layers trap the waste and generate an anaerobic environment which causes the plant matter to produce methane gas as it decays, harming the ozone layer with potent greenhouse gases. Instead of discarding food scraps in the general waste bin opt for a compost bin. The design of compost bins has evolved making it easy for everyone to compost their scraps. From small Bokashi Bins for units to large bins for houses, the new designs prevent smells leaching out and flies getting in making it more desirable to use a compost bin.

Start implementing these small changes into your daily routine and you will discover just how easy it is to reduce your waste.

Related: The environmental impact of plastic straws; The true environmental costs of disposable coffee cupsTop environmental documentaries to watch

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


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