*this is a collaborative post with some tips on reducing your household waste*
How much household waste does your family produce every year? According to statistics, homes in the country produce more than 7 million tonnes of rubbish, with the average household throwing out enough to fill a large, three-floor house from top to bottom. That’s an astonishing amount of trash, and it’s no surprise that environmentalists are getting seriously concerned with the landfill and sea pollution problems that are starting to have huge impacts all over the world.
In short, we all need to do a little more when it comes to dealing with the trash in our homes. As regular readers of my blog will know, I’m pretty keen on green ideas, and it saddens me that something that could be easily solved with a little time and ingenuity is causing such a problem. Wouldn’t it be great if we could run our homes producing the much vaunted zero waste?
The reality of achieving zero waste is a little complicated, of course. But there are a few things we could all do that will help us get close. In today’s guide, I’m going to run through some of the ideas that anyone can start trying out at home right away. Let’s get started with some of the basics.
While it’s true that we live in a consumer society, and it can be difficult to stop shopping when we are surrounded by advertising, it’s still possible to buy less. It’s just a case of thinking a little deeper about every purchase we make, whether it’s a pointless addition to the weekly shop or an extra few gifts for a birthday or celebration.
Ultimately, the less you bring home with you, the less waste you will create. And given that virtually everything you buy comes wrapped up in the packaging, it’s easy to see where you can start making a difference.
Perhaps you can order your veg to come to your door fresh instead of buying multipacks from the superstore. Maybe you can buy your children’s experiences for their birthdays rather than bags of toys. You can even buy secondhand instead of brand new – and all the swathes of packaging that come with it.
Buy in bulk
There are some things you should buy in bulk, however. Given that every time you buy something from a shop, it comes in packaging, it makes sense to cut down the amount of packaging you bring home.
You can’t do this for perishable products, of course, as it will end up being thrown away once it goes off – more on which later. But for long-lasting foods such as rice, dried pasta – even cheese – you can make a big difference in reducing the amount of packaging you bring home.
You can also change things like your soap and washing liquids. Go for bulk castile soap which you can use for both activities instead of buying separate bottles for everything. You can even use castile soap as a body wash or shower gel – it’s that useful!
Use up your food
According to statistics, up to 40 percent of the food we buy ends up in the bin. It’s a shocking waste when you consider how many hungry people there are in the world, and it’s also a huge contributor to landfills.
Another tragedy is that it doesn’t even need to be disposed of – with a little meal planning you should be able to use up all ingredients that are approaching their use-by date. Even if you miss something, there is still no excuse to contribute to the landfill as all food scraps can be used in your garden compost. Not only will it help reduce your household waste, but you will also get a beautifully fed garden to boot!
Again, it’s all about making sure you are checking dates and keeping your kitchen in order – it won’t take you long once you get into the swing of things.
It’s important to know about your city and state’s recycling policy, to ensure that any waste you drop off at the local refuse centre is dealt with appropriately. Not every city is as thorough as it could be, and it may be better to find alternatives in some locations.
It’s the same with the rubbish collection companies you use, too, when you need help getting rid of the waste from home renovations or big clear outs. Refuse specialists samedayrubbishremoval.com.au recommends that you only ever use firms that take their environmental responsibilities seriously. Failure on your part to check out their recycling and reusing policy is likely to mean your trash will end up in landfill – or worse, dumped on a country road somewhere.
So, make sure you are recycling as much as possible, but before you do that, also make sure you have reused everything as much as you possibly can. Let’s take a look at a few ways of doing just that right now.
Look around on your local supermarket’s shelves the next time you do your weekly shop, and you will see an astonishing array of disposable products. Yes, they are handy and convenient, but they are also incredibly damaging to the environment. Paper towels, plastic bags, disposable cups, plates, and cutlery for kids parties – we have all used them in the past.
Wherever possible, you should be trying to swap out these disposables for reusables. Buy handkerchiefs instead of tissues. Bring tote bags for your weekly shop instead of using store supplied plastic bags. Invest in sturdy plastics for your children’s parties instead of buying weak, thin, one-use-only alternatives.
Not only will you be helping to save the planet, but you will also be saving a good deal of money that could go towards something special – a holiday fund, perhaps.
Refuse junk mail
Junk mail is a terrible scourge. Be honest, how many of those direct mail adverts that come through your door do you ever actually read, or find useful? Trust me, you won’t miss them, even if you are the world’s greatest coupon collector.
If you want to say goodbye to junk mail, it can be tough to eliminate completely, but you can opt-out of getting the vast majority of it in a few different ways.
First of all, get yourself a No Advertising Material sticker for your letterbox. It won’t stop everything, but it might make flyer droppers think twice about posting their mail through the door. And it also gives you every right to complain to the company that sent the adverts – get in touch with the Distribution Standards Board and let them know what happened. You should register with https://www.adma.com.au/do-not-mail, which takes you out of circulation from over 500 direct mail companies. Finally, you can opt-out digitally with Catalogue Central and Lasoo Online Catalogue to make sure you are only being targeted with advertising materials you might be interested in.
It should take you around 10-15 minutes to get all this done, and once you have finished, you will see a dramatic reduction in direct mailouts coming through your door.
Will doing all this help you achieve zero waste for your household? In all honesty, it’s unlikely. But make no mistake about it, taking these simple steps will certainly start you off in the right direction. If you want a better world for your children, at some point you are going to have to step up to the plate and do your bit. With a few lifestyle tweaks here and there, as well as some good household planning, you will soon find yourself getting close to the golden goose of almost zero household waste. And, of course, you will save yourself some cash at the same time. Good luck!