1) Create your own Reusable Kit
Please see my last blog on how to create your own kit; Reusable Kit Blog
2) Bring Bottles, cans and cartons to your Return and Earn point
More and more councils in Australia are introducing Return and Earn vending machines. Here you can return your bottles and receive 10 cents for each bottle you return. Most drink bottles, cartons and cans are accepted. Follow this link to find your nearest Return and Earn point in NSW; www.returnandearn.org.au Please check with your own council if Return and Earn is currently available in your state, if not ~ please encourage them to introduce it.
3) Reduce your Food Waste
It is estimated that Australians throw out 4 million tonnes of food each year. That's a lot of food!! Shop wisely. When buying products that will only last for a few days, make sure you will eat them within a few days. Don't buy what you won't eat.
Store your food wisely. There are ways of storing your food that will keep it fresh for longer. For nuts, grains, coffee and herbs it's a good idea to store them in the freezer if you have the space. Once you've opened your crackers or your corn thins also pop these in the freezer; it will stop them from going stale. Keep your leafy greens in a My Last Bag Veggie bag available Spring 2018. It will keep your veggies fresh and crisp for at least a week more.
Cos lettuce after 1 week
The food scraps that you do have; dispose of them wisely. Did you know that food waste that ends up in landfill undergoes anaerobic decomposition because of lack of oxygen and therefor generates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Don't let your food scraps end up in landfill.
The best option off course is if you have a home compost system ~ this way you can also make food for your veggie garden. The aerobins are quite amazing in this sense; www.aerobin400.com
If you don't have access to a home compost use the councils green bin. But before chucking it in the compost ask yourself first if there could be any other use for this food? Left over seeds and grains could be used to feed the birds ~ if you have pets what will they eat? Use your eggshells for your veggie garden ~ think creatively before throwing anything out.
4) Practice awareness for every purchase
Next time you go shopping try to pay real attention to what you buy. Question the manufacturers packaging methods; is it necessary? Did they use excessive packaging? Can it be recycled? If you feel that the manufacturer did use excessive packaging ask yourself if you really need this product ~ is there something else you could buy instead that would be a better option?
Start substituting some items for better alternatives; there are some awesome products on the market right now ~ a few examples;
- Dental lace instead of dental floss; The containers are refillable and the floss is made out of 100% silk; www.dentallace.com
- Shampoo bars instead of shampoo in single use bottles; Flora&Fauna stock some great shampoo bars; Shampoo Bars
- Soap bars instead of liquid body wash; Most often your local farmers market will sell some locally made natural soaps. You are not only reducing your waste, but also helping to support your local community at the same time. Church Farm soaps are my local favourite!
Image taken from www.churchfarmgeneralstore.com
- Soap berries instead of laundry detergent; I buy my soap berries at the local bulk food store so there's no packaging involved what you ever. If your local bulk food store doesn't stock soap berries you can get them here; www.thatredhouse.com.au
5) Recycle - but recycle properly
After you have followed all the above steps start thinking about what you can bring back; at our local farmers market I bring the egg cartons back every week. A lot of farmers will be happy to reuse their own packaging.
Reuse what you can! Give your glass jars a wash, use some eucalyptus oil to get the sticky labels off and they are perfect storage jars for your bulk foods or crafty bits.
Then recycle what you can. Our recycling system is heavily overburdened and glass and paper is getting stockpiled in warehouses as we speak. Therefor I definitely don't believe recycling is the answer ~ best to have no waste ~ but with the waste we do create recycle what you can.
Every council in Australia differs slightly as to what you can and can't recycle. The best way to find out is to go to your local council's website or to give them a call. Here in the Byron shire all paper, cardboard, hard plastic, glass and cans can go in the recycling. Soft plastics can be bunched together in a plastic bag, small bits of clean aluminium foil can be collected, scrunched into a big ball and then both of these can be placed into the recycle bin.
Our household of 4 lives according to the above steps and our landfill waste is minimal ~ it's not so hard to achieve.
Always eat ice cream out of cone instead of a cup! ;)