Minimising Household Waste: 10 Tips That Work
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Published by TOP4 Team
Every home has different types of waste. But you’ll be amazed because the following tips can help you lessen those household waste.
Set a plastic restriction.
Despite being one of the easiest products to avoid, one-use plastic items make up a huge proportion of Australia’s household waste. Items like coffee cups, plastic water bottles, plastic shopping bags and takeaway containers are the most wasteful items that aren’t really necessary. You don’t need to be anti-plastic, just be against the misuse of plastic.
Buy reusable containers.
There are many containers you’re using in the course of your day that only end up in the trash when you're done. Some examples include plastic water bottles, paper lunch bags, paper plates and plastic cups. Instead of using these disposable items, you can buy reusable containers. For example, you can buy a reusable water bottle (preferably stainless steel or glass) that you can refill and a plastic or cloth lunch pail that you can use each day.
Purchase reusable bags.
Every time you buy groceries, you probably come home with half a dozen or more plastic or paper bags. After a few weeks or months, they’ll pile up in your pantry and become unmanageable. You can recycle these bags or just cut down on your waste entirely by purchasing reusable bags. You can buy canvas bags which you can bring with you when you shop and can reuse each time. Keep them in your trunk.
If you’re living in an area without water restrictions, it’s all too easy to make long showers a habit. This may seem harmless, but clean water is a finite resource that needs careful consideration, even in non-drought periods. The amount of stormwater going into the harbour and waterways can be reduced by capturing as much rainwater on your property using tanks – which isn’t expensive at all. You can recycle shower and kitchen water via a greywater system and reuse for flushing the toilet.
Use food scraps.
Despite holding the untapped potential to be composted or repurposed, food scraps are often discarded as waste. Instead of tossing leftover scraps into your bin, try using them as part of a small composting system or a new recipe.
Both the NSW and Victorian state governments have launched their “Love Food Hate Waste” campaigns to reduce the amount of food being sent to landfills. Both campaigns’ websites provide facts, recipes and tips to minimise the amount of food being thrown away, which in NSW alone is about $2.5 billion worth ($1000 per household on average) every year.
Alternatively, consumers can buy excess food from nearby restaurants and use it when they cook at home. Yume, a Melbourne-based app, allows businesses to list any surplus food items at 50% of the original price or for a charity to collect. This business model makes everyone – the environment, consumers, businesses and charities – a winner.
Start a compost bin.
Gardening is a great way to save money and ensure access to a regular supply of fresh, healthy foods. However, buying fertiliser, topsoil and other amendments can be very expensive and not always eco-friendly. You can cut this cost and reduce your household waste by starting a compost bin. You can put your kitchen scraps and yard waste in the bin, then these will compost and turn into a nutrient rich soil that you can use to grow strong, healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Use a rain barrel.
Every time you water your garden, landscape plants, and yard, you’re using gallons of water. Every time it rains, gallons and gallons of water are lost in the ground. By setting up a rain barrel, you can capture this water and reduce your household water usage. You can capture many gallons of water with each rain and use it on your yard, plants, and garden.
Buy in bulk quantities.
Buying food in bulk quantities with the use of your own containers or bags eliminates the need for excess packaging. The Source Bulk Foods, the largest specialised bulk food retailer in Australia, has more than 20 stores across the country. All these stores are plastic bag-free, encouraging customers to bring their own containers, bags and bottles to refill.
Create your own product.
You can cut down on the amount of bottles and tubes in your cupboards by formulating your own beauty, hygiene and cleaning products. You can use bi-carb soda alone as a replacement for your shampoo, facial exfoliant and surface cleaner. If you like traditional products better, choose an item with minimal packaging.
Make recycling your last resort.
Recycling is a valuable process for reducing the amount of items sent to landfills, however, it should be the last option. Try to refuse, reduce and reuse before you recycle anything. You can recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, tin foil, aluminium and many other common household materials.
There are dozens of other ways for you to reduce your waste, depending on your lifestyle choices. Use these simple strategies to start making a difference at your own level and look for other possibilities online. The more waste you can reduce, the bigger savings you can have and the bigger impact you can make for the environment.
Minimise household waste with the help of the top waste services in Australia today.