How To Create Less Waste This New Year

 

It's that time of year when everyone is signing up to the gym, planning to eat healthier, drink less and quit smoking. We are all for new year resolutions and think that, along with your other plans, you should have a resolution with the environment in mind and commit to producing less waste! In this post we take a look at how you can decrease and eliminate your food, plastics, packaging, bottles and container waste. 

Trash at Merri Creek

Food Waste

Australian's discard up to 20% of the food they purchase with a yearly value of over $1,000! Not only is this bad for your wallet, but when food reacts with other organics in landfill, it produces methane gas that is said to be up to 25 times more toxic than the carbon pollution produced by a regular car! Below are some simple changes you can make to help reduce your waste and impact.

  • BUY WHAT YOU WILL CONSUME! It sounds simple enough, but we so often purchase too much fresh produce that just ends up in the bin. Simply thinking 'will I actually eat this or will it get thrown away?' is a great place to start.
  • If halfway through your week you can already see that some of your food wont be getting eaten, don't just let it rot away or throw it in the bin, offer it to others. Housemates, neighbours or many local food charities will be very whiling to accept goods that are still in edible condition.
  • If it gets to the stage that you need to toss your food waste, don't throw it in the bin, get yourself a compost bin, worm farm or Bokashi Bin to take care of it. When done correctly, these bins can handle most of your every day food waste needs.
  • For some people, particularly those living in apartments, it may be slightly more difficult to compost. Bokashi Bins are great for apartments, but you may not have a garden to burry the left overs. For some of you, it may be easier than you think. Some local councils now take food scraps in their Green Bins! Consult your local council and/or their website to see if it is a possibility for you or petition them to accept food waste! 
  • If your local council doesn't accept food scraps, another great option is to ask your local community garden if they are in need of food scraps. Many community gardens don't produce enough waste themselves to fill their compost. Help them and yourself out by donating your food waste.

Plastics and Packaging

From plastic covered foods to items packaged in multiple layers of boxes and plastics, our lives are filled with totally unnecessary plastics and packaging. We should all aim for less plastic usage and buy products with less of an environmental impacts. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

  • When at the supermarket forget the packaged items and head straight for the loose items that you can place in your re-usable bags. On top of fresh produce sections many supermarkets now have small bulk buy sections for bulk buying nuts, cereals and grains.
  • If you're finding it difficult to find certain items without packaging or plastics at your supermarket, locate your closest market, health food store or bulk food store, these types of stores should be able to sort you out.
  • Complain! Big corporations may not often care about a single complaint, but when single voices form a choir of complaints, they are more likely to implement change. Voice your concerns with store managers, social media and/or through email/mail. 
  • If you do have to buy products with packaging, find out if it is recyclable in your area. Some councils now accept soft plastics and food containers, whereas others do not. Companies like RedCycle have recycling bins for soft plastics in many supermarkets around Australia. Do your research.

Coffee Cups, Bottles & Takeaway Food Containers

In recent years the get-and-go culture along with food deliveries have become common place in our fast paced lives. UberEats, Foodora, Deliveroo, Menulog and others have swamped the market as the population opts for Netflix and chill rather than social interaction. The amount of added bags, plastic cutlery and containers to our bins is shocking. However, there are simple ways to lessening your impact by following a few of our tips below.

  • If you haven't got a KeepCup yet, it's about time you joined the masses! Re-usable coffee cups to take on-the-go have been around for a while now and companies like KeepCup are pioneers in this field. Their cups are reasonably priced, particularly given the amount of use you will get out of it, and well designed. You also get the added bonus of cheaper coffee at some cafes who offer small discounts when using your own re-usable cups!
  • Another simple waste reduction idea is to get yourself a good quality re-usable water bottle and stop bloody buying bottled water! If you're looking for a quality brand that will also keep your water cooler for longer, check out 360 Degrees. Their insulated bottles are fantastic.
  • The best way to avoid the pile up of bags, plastic containers of various sizes and the multitude of cutlery, is not to order home delivered food in the first place! If takeout is a must, ask if you can fill your own containers. Many delicious restaurants in Melbourne like Moroccan Soup Bar encourage bringing in your own containers. Check them out!
  • Another simple way to avoid takeaway containers is to simply eat in. Forget your computer and Netflix for the night and go out and socialise with some friends. Take some containers with you in case you don't finish all your food.