There are many ways to reduce your waste every day that will not only help the
environment but also save you money.
Many low-waste households adhere to a set of five ‘R’s – refuse (what you do not need), reduce (what you do need), reuse (what you consume), recycle (what you cannot refuse or reuse) and rot (compost) – to be followed in that order.
These are some of our top tips to get you started.
In The Kitchen
- Make a meal plan, only buy groceries that you know you will eat, reducing the amount of food wastage.
- Nude/litter free lunches. Stop using plastic wrap, bags and wrapped food. Change to reusable containers and ecofriendly products.
- Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel, timber or glass straw
- Save your leftovers and use them as ingredients in your next meal. A spoonful of cooked vegetables can be the base for a crock pot meal
- Skip buying plastic garbage bags and simply put your trash into the can itself. This will require you to wash the can from time to time, but if you are composting well or have a separate bin your kitchen, it won’t get too messy.
- Shop the farmer’s market: they’ll take the egg carton and the berries baskets back for reuse. Your veggies will also most likely be free of plastic and stickers.
Around the Home
• Use long lasting, energy efficient light bulbs, especially those with an ENERGY STAR rating
• Use old clothes for rags for cleaning around the house, instead of paper towels. Use cloth napkins and hand towels in your kitchen.
• Reduce the amount of chemicals and plastic waste in your home by making your own natural cleaners. Mix one part water with one part vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice for an effective all-purpose cleaner.
• Opt out of junk mail.
• Cut down on the amount of bottles and tubes in your cupboards by making your own beauty, hygiene and cleaning products. Refill your bottles with bulk shampoo and conditioner.
In the Garden
• Return the nutrients from your garden clippings back to the earth by composting or mulching, your plants will thank you and you’ll save money using this natural fertiliser.
• Create a compost heap or worm farm for organic waste as well as cotton, canvas, newspaper and cardboard, you can feed the compost back into your garden.
• Plant your Christmas tree after Christmas.
• Use natural pesticides such as coffee grounds and chilli powder to deter ants.
• Use drought tolerant and native plants
When You Are Shopping
• Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often.
• Buy fresh food and fruits loose to minimize packaging
• Never buy bottled water. If you don’t have access to a good quality water, it is much better to get a good water filter and drink from the tap. Carry a reusable water bottle.
• Take a reusable travel mug to the coffee shop, or make your coffee at home.
• Purchase reusable, long life and rechargeable items. Avoid buying disposable, single use products, such as nappies and plastic plates.
• Rent or borrow equipment you only use a few times such as trailers, ladders and power tools.
• Buy unbleached toilet paper, tissues and paper towels, preferably made from recycled paper.
• Buy in bulk, but don’t buy things you don’t need.
Before You Put Something in the Bin
• Repurpose. Before throwing it away, think of how it can be put to use a different way. Old clothes and linen make great dusting rags, chipped coffee cups make great indoor plant pots and an old suitcase can even be repurposed as a dog bed.
• Learn to repair rather than just binning it. Buy a few high quality items and repair them when necessary rather than buying loads of cheap, disposable stuff.