Zero waste household – Tips and Useful Information
The 23 million people living in Australia account for 0.33% of the world’s total population but surprisingly generate about 55 million tonnes of garbage. The number is staggering considering that only a small number of the world population lives here. Each Australian household produces 1.5 tonnes of waste each year – essentially filling up several thousand garbage trucks daily.
All that trash doesn’t just disappear from the bins –it goes on to fill a number of landfills. This can be greatly reduced if every person took simple measures to avoid being part of the statistic. Outlined below are ten ways to avoid generating waste.
1. Don’t Use Plastic Bags
The first, most publicised way is by avoiding the use of plastic bags altogether. To be fair, this can be a little difficult to do, and forgetting your bag at home is a constantly looming possibility, but it’s absolutely necessary.
Make it a rule for yourself, and if you forget your bag at home, find an alternative, or buy a fabric bag at your local retailer. Every supermarket has them these days.
2. Situating your recycle bins
This may seem like a pointless important than the rest, but is in fact, one of the most overlooked aspects of conservation. Human beings are naturally wired to compromise whenever they can, and having the three bins at separate places will render all your efforts null.Having all recycle bins at one convenient location means they can easily be located and the matching bin used accordingly.
3. Proper Composting
Of all methods on this list, this is perhaps the most effective method for also curbing garbage output in addition to saving the planet. Research has shown that compost comprises of up to 40% of the waste in landfills.
What makes this remarkable is that you can save yourself the chore of having to take out the smelly trash by getting yourself a worm composter for your deck or kitchen. If you have more garbage output than the average family, you can opt for a bigger one that you can use outside.
4. Recycle everything you can
This point goes without saying, but it couldn’t possibly be stressed enough. You should recycle literally everything that is recyclable. Don’t ignore even the little bits of paper like receipts. Small things like this may seem insignificant, but they eventually add up.
Do your research, find out what your local municipal authorities accept, otherwise seek alternative recyclers – maybe they recycle something the municipal doesn’t over at their plant. An effective strategy is to have a list posted on the inside of a kitchen cupboard or other convenient, easy-to-reach place for quick reference.
5. Use disposable lunch boxes
When you’re leaving the house in the morning, it’s pretty obvious you’re going to want to grab something for lunch or a quick bite on your way from work.
With the exception of coffee, you should buy a disposable lunch box rather than use plastic. If it’s something like a muffin or pizza that you’re probably going to eat right away, have a serviette and ask for it in your hand.
6. Use pure packaging
Admittedly one of the easiest things to overlook or forget, you should always check the packaging of whatever product you’re going to buy. It’s usually handy to have a list of all the types of containers your municipal picks up, and if the product you’re going to buy isn’t recyclable, opt against it.
Additionally, you should go for pure packaging products whenever you can. Composite products like tetra packs are hard to recycle. Go for something like glass instead.
7. Buy Second-hand Clothing
A recent study by Carbon Trust suggested that Carbon (IV) Oxide emissions associated with clothing account for up to 3% of all global emissions. This percentage includes shipping, washing, and drying.
Go over to craigslist and see if you can find whatever it is you require. Shopping second hand greatly saves good clothing from getting duped into a landfill, reducing the overall demand for new clothing in all.
8. DIY (Do It Yourself).
You’d be surprised how much time and money you can save by taking care of producing basic amenities yourself rather than buying them. For one, you should switch from consumer toothpaste to homemade tooth powder and a wooden compostable toothbrush instead.
You should also reduce the number of industrial cosmetics you own and consider alternative homemade substitutes such as cocoa powder and homemade balm that will work on the eyes, lips, hair and nails.
9. Store leftovers properly
When cooking, make sure you provide bite-sized meals that you and the family can consume in one sitting. Having the table filled with food you won’t finish only contributes to the piling up of garbage on Trash Island.
If any food does remain, be sure to store it properly (i.e. in the right packaging and a cool dry location) so it won’t go bad. Additionally, before cooking another meal, ensure you’ve cleared up the leftovers.
10. Find a use for your garbage
The saying long goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Instead of throwing away that glass jar you no longer need, how about use it as a flower vase or store some milk in it instead? Sell all your metal scrap through a proper channel of skip bin providing company. This will help in recycling the junk metal in a proper manner.
There are plenty of ways to help you reuse what may initially seem like rubbish -tree trunks can be turned into side tables, old Mason jars into cocktail shakers, and cracked tea cups could simply be turned upside down and glued together to become cake stands. It’s only limited by your creativity.