The following article was kindly written and contributed by Briana Jones.
Waste management and waste reduction are pressing issues around the world. With the global population predicted to balloon to 9.7 billion by 2050, it’s imperative that we find ways to minimise waste and manage it properly. If we don’t, we’ll soon be living in a world with more waste than available resources.
Thankfully, there are many ways that individuals and families can contribute to the worthwhile cause of managing and minimising waste. Here are some simple, helpful tips to help manage waste in your Australian home.
Plastic is highly convenient, which is why it’s difficult to give it up completely. Still, you can take baby steps by minimising the use of plastics. In particular, avoid plastic bags as much as you can. Bring your own reusable bags when shopping. If you don’t have disabilities that require the use of a plastic straw, decline it. Are you a coffee lover? Get a high-quality insulated container so you can get your hot or cold beverages to go. A good way to minimise your dependence on plastics is to evaluate where, when, and how you use plastic and make small adjustments there.
Minimise the Use of Paper
Except for a few circumstances, paper is highly recyclable. However, it still remains as one of the most common types of waste to end up in landfills. This means that we also have to be mindful of how we use paper and minimise where we can. Consider unsubscribing to various mailing lists, transact electronically as much as possible, and opt to read online magazines and newspapers (especially if you don’t read cover to cover). If and when available, ask merchants to not print a receipt and send you a verified e-receipt instead. In the kitchen, you might want to switch from using paper towels to rags that you can wash over and over. To up the ante even further, don’t buy the rags but make them from old clothing that aren’t fit to be worn anymore instead.
Hire a Skip for Big Projects
If you need to dispose of a lot of waste, the usual trash bins won’t cut it. Hire a skip instead, so you can better manage both the volume and the variety of rubbish you’re dealing with. With a reliable skip bin provider, you can get the correct skip bin size and type where you can throw in general waste, green waste, bulky and solid fill waste (like rubble or bricks), and recyclable heavy materials like white waste. Once you’re done, just call the skip company and they’ll pick up the bins to ensure that every piece of trash is sent to their correct destinations. If you need to dispose of hazardous materials like chemicals, pesticides, or old vehicle tyres, get in touch with your skip bin provider so they can help you with proper disposal.
Compost What You Can
A lot of kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable peelings and garden waste like leaves and branches can be composted. You don’t even need to dig up a traditional pit to be able to compost. All you need is a heavy-duty bin and you’re all set. If you don’t have a garden of your own where you can use the compost, look around your neighbourhood. There may be homes that need some fertiliser for their plants and flowers. There might even be a nearby farm where you can donate compost and compostable waste.
Recycle or Repurpose
There are plenty of things in your home that, at first glance, might seem like waste but can actually be recycled or reused in some other way. Glass and plastic containers can be used to keep leftovers. They can also be used as storage solutions for various items like craft materials. Printer paper can be turned into scratch paper for your home office. Other possible uses include making grocery lists or as drawing paper for your toddler. Be creative! You can turn to the ever-helpful internet to discover different ways on how to recycle or re-purpose various materials at home.
Buy in Bulk
Most of the things we buy for our home come in different kinds of packaging. From food to bathroom essentials, our household needs come in plastic bags, boxes, or packets. Buying in bulk can help minimise the waste that comes from packaging. Visit the bulk food section in the supermarket where you can buy cereals, rice, spices, and dry foods. You can store these at home using the above mentioned glass and plastic containers. Get large containers of shampoo, liquid hand soap, detergents, and other non-perishable goods and necessities. The more you buy in bulk, the more you can reduce the amount of waste you generate at home.
If there are items lying around in your home that you aren’t using but are still serviceable, consider donating them instead of just letting them gather dust. Schools, orphanages, churches and religious institutions, and charitable organisations are always looking for donations in kind like clothes, blankets, shoes, books, and even small appliances. Don’t hoard! Unused items take up precious space in your home. Moreover, living amongst clutter can make you sick (allergies, anyone?) and even affect your mood.
Those living a zero-waste or at least a low-waste lifestyle is certainly admirable. However, it’s not easy or even possible for some people. Still, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make the effort to properly manage waste and minimise the amount of waste we generate where we can. Consider these helpful tips to keep your home clean and healthy, and ultimately contribute to protect the planet.