How did we reduce waste?

reduce waste by recycling

How can your family reduce waste?

We have a set of wheelie bins like the ones above. The colours are different, but the principle is the same. The smallest one is for household waste, which is collected every week. The others are for glass/aluminium/recyclable plastic, paper and the last one is for garden waste (NOT food scraps). Those are collected every second week.

The recycling bins are usually half full when they’re collected, but the general household (smallest) bin usually only has one small bag in it. Our household has five adults. How do we manage this?

Actually, you’ll be surprised how easy this is. In the past year, we’ve not gone out of our way shopping in special stores (nobody ain’t got time for that, baby). We’ve bought bog standard food from a bog standard supermarket.

Recycle everything that can be recycled

This includes glass, cans, hard plastic (like soft drink bottles), aluminium foil wrapping (scrunched into a ball), yoghurt containers. Consult your local council.

Return soft plastics to the bin in the supermarket

These include cling wrapping and other soft plastic, like bags. We don’t have that much, because we don’t take bags from the supermarket anymore, but bring out own. But wrapping is sometimes unavoidable. Our supermarket has a bin for these.

Start a compost bin

This has been the biggie. I started the bin in December last year. It’s now two-thirds full. I’ll buy a second bin soon, put it next to the other bin and start filling that up while ignoring the first bin for another year until the contents are unrecognisable. Then they’ll go over the garden.

What we put in it: any vegetable waste, like broccoli trunks, mango peels, grape stalks, used paper coffee filters, eggshells.

What we don’t put in it: any cooked leftovers, any meat waste. Because rats.

I also fully accept that if you live in a unit, this is not going to work.

Reduce waste of food

Since we don’t want to put scraps in the compost bin, we make sure we don’t produce that many. Don’t waste food. Use leftovers, freeze them, take them for lunch the next day.

If it comes in ridiculous amounts of wrapping, don’t buy it

Seriously, those kids’ pre-wrapped snacks that come in another plastic bag might be handy, but they’re also disgustingly wasteful and not very healthy besides. Is it really that much effort to just give them a banana? Which, incidentally, also comes in its own handy wrapping.

Send manufacturers the message that all this packaging is over the top.

So, there you go. It’s simple. You should try it.

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