Reduce, Reuse, Recycle PART ONE

by | May 17, 2017 | 0 comments

Good Afternoon friends! Happy Wednesday! I hope this finds you all well.

Since moving to Tasmania end of May 2016 (next week it will be one year ago!), I have had to quickly learn about becoming more environmentally friendly and more aware of our rubbish situation. I thought we were good with this until living here!

Where we live, we don’t have an ‘Otto’ bin service. What do we do then I hear you asking? Most people are baffled when we tell them this. Well, it took about a month or two of working out a system that works for us but we got it down pat and whilst it takes more work than simply throwing everything in the one big Otto bin, we all feel good that we are actually doing something productive to help the environment. After all, one small step is better than none at all isn’t it?

I have a decent size walk in Pantry and in there I have a LARGE plastic tub (you know those coloured once from the hardware store that most people put toys or beach gear in!) – in there goes the recycling. Every other day this gets taken outside to the shed where we have several large bins (large black ones with lids, once again from the hardware store) and they get separated into glass, tins, plastic etc (each bin is labelled on the lid!).

Also in the pantry I have two lidded tubs for food scraps – one for the chooks and one for the compost.

Once you take out tins, glass, paper/cardboard, plastic, food scraps – it is surprising how little rubbish is left. If there is any left, it gets popped into a bag and into it’s own labelled bin. This is generally empty.

Every 3 weeks approximately, hubby takes the black bins to the tip where it all has its place to be separated.

It works and makes us SO much more aware.

Another thing we have had to get use to since living in Tasmania is taking along our own shopping bags when buying groceries – otherwise you pay for the bags. I LOVE this concept and think that every single state should do this. I have got into the habit that once I unpack my groceries, my bags go straight back into the car so I don’t get caught out by forgetting them next time.

I am grateful that since moving here we are super close to a Bulk Wholefoods store. I understand that everyone is not as lucky to have this close by but it has been a huge help in changing the way I think and shop. I can take in my own containers and only buy what I need. No more food waste. No more plastic bags. Helping the environment. Helping me save money!

I love also that whilst I am learning all about this, so are my four kids and at a far younger age, they are going to be miles ahead of me by the time they reach my age and that is super exciting!

There are quite a few Facebook pages etc around that encourage others to make the change. I am lucky to have had 3 lovely ladies from 3 of these businesses answer a few questions to hopefully inspire you!

Alexx Stuart from LOW TOX LIFE

Why do you think it is important to ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?

It’s important because there is no ‘AWAY’ – It all comes back to us eventually and the building landfill is an alarming thing indeed, not to mention the crazy amount of waste and plastics that head out to our beautiful oceans, parks and street nature strips. Growing our own awareness and treating it as a very important education piece to pass onto our little peeps from birth, is really going to help us shift our daily habits that collectively contribute to a huge global issue. I take lots of comfort in the fact that on a house-by-house, person-by-person basis this is NOT a huge problem and the changes are so small and easy if we’re committed to making them. We often think “what can little old me do to effect change when the problem is so big” but that’s an attitude that you CAN toss because together it all adds up. 

What is some advice you would give to others who are wanting to change but hesitant as they either don’t know where to start or they think they really won’t make a difference?

CHUNK. IT. DOWN. Start with one thing, add another each week or even month and by the end of one year, I guarantee you your rubbish will be a third what it once was and you would have saved 100s of kilos of waste from landfill and single use plastics from circulation – Just one family. I mean, how exciting is that, right? So I tend to say start with the reusable shopping bags. I even created a beautiful one to inspire peeps as well as being the most practical and comfortable reusable ever made (true story. LOTS of testing!) And to make sure you don’t forget them at home, when you unpack shopping be sure to pop the bags straight back at the front door so that they’re there as a reminder to take them with you to the car or shops next time. This is often the tip that helps clinch that habit – that, plus being strict on yourself. “I am no longer ALLOWED to use plastic bags at the shops”. Once you’ve had to wrap avocados, potatoes, rice, washing powder and coconut milk in a gym towel because you forgot your bags – You’ll get very good at remembering them, trust me! Next is starting a compost bin (Love this resource online to help you learn!) Or ask if your council’s green bin takes fruit, veg, off cuts as many in the cities now do. Composting will reduce your rubbish by half, so a smaller bin, less bin liners etc. You’ll also have amazing compost to grow produce or keep your garden super healthy. Then my next faves are soft plastics from pantry staples going to the Coles Red bins, BYO bottles and cups and saying no to straws! If I’ve lost you, honestly, remember: Just start with one thing. The bags or whichever speaks to you the most, first. Once you’ve nailed it, move on to the next thing. 

What are 3 ways you personally ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?  

All of the above. My next focus is less recycling because it’s a costly exercise from a resource perspective and still brings plastic into the system and uses petroleum as a resource, something I’m always mindful of. So, that’s going to mean making more of my own crackers in the oven or dehydrator with ingredients from the bulk foods store so that I can bring my own produce bags. Then I’ll be getting stricter with myself around the rest of the pantry staples – if the frozen mango brand I buy in the cardboard  sometimes isn’t available, then I’ll abstain rather than getting the plastic pouched one. You’re never done on the this road, so rather than being stressed by that, be relaxed about it. We’re all learning, even those of us who’ve been at it a while. Once you nail something be curious and think “What’s next for our family?”. Ask the kids to come up with the next challenge and all do it together. Including kidson this education is just as important a part of life education as manners, courtesy and school work – Our planet is our home. ALL OF US live together on it. It deserves our utmost respect and to finish, I’ll share my favourite Indian saying “Act with the seventh generation in mind”. Imagine the decisions we’d make as countries and individuals if our 7 x grand children were sat in front of us holding us to account?

Best of luck everyone. We’ve got this! x

LOW TOX LIFE WEBSITE

LOW TOX LIFE FACEBOOK PAGE 

Laura Trotta

Why do you think it is important to ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?

It’s important to ‘reduce, recuse and recycle’ because the waste we produce in our homes day in day out, week in week out and year in year out, is significantly impacting the health of our planet.

We’re burying items in landfill that will take hundreds of years, if ever to break down. Of the organic wastes (such as food scraps) that do decompose, most release greenhouse gases like methane in the process, which contributes significantly to climate change.

As for our oceans? They’re becoming a toxic soup of microplastics that are accumulating in the food chain and creating havoc to marine life in the process.

You get the picture. The waste we generate is changing our landscape, changing our oceans and changing our atmosphere.

It’s changing our environment and because we’re part of our environment, it’s changing us.

Sure, waste is a significant issue and at first glance it can appear too hard to solve, but it’s much easier than most people think. Adopting a ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mindset… and even taking it one step further and avoiding the generation of waste in the first place, is the key to addressing this local and global issue.

What is some advice you would give to others who are wanting to change but hesitant as they either don’t know where to start or they think they really won’t make a difference?

Firstly I’d say never to doubt that you can make a difference. It will take many seemingly small acts, undertaken by many, to truly change the world.

Join the movement and truly become the change you wish to see in the world and in turn you’ll inspire others to follow suit.

Secondly, I’d say if you’re unsure where to start, or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, to follow the “Power of One” principle.

Choose just one area to focus your efforts and reduce your waste, before tackling other areas. The kitchen is a good place to start in the home since the bulk of our household waste is generated there.

Once you have your area selected, then choose just one waste to focus on. It might be reducing food packaging waste or actual waste from waste. Or even one type of waste, such as replacing plastic produce bags with reusable mesh bags.

Now try and make the change for just one day.

It doesn’t seem so overwhelming now, does it?

Once you’ve successfully made the change for one day, do it another day, and another. When the change is a habit, choose the next waste to eliminate and keep on going until you have yourself a waste free home. It is possible!

What are 3 ways you personally ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?

Oh there’s so many to mention – I absolutely LOVE this topic and get a real high from reducing household waste. Here’s some simple ways we reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reduce – Considering food waste is typically the largest component of household waste, we focus on reducing our food waste by planning our meals in advance and shopping and cooking to plan. I share my weekly meal planning process here – http://lauratrotta.com/how-to-create-a-weekly-meal-plan/

Reuse – We have a “single use sucks” mentality to goods and aim to purchase items that can be reused as much as possible. From handkerchiefs to my menstrual cup, to cloth nappies when the boys were babies, to reusable food wraps rather than plastic wrap, to my trusty thermos and travel mug to satisfy my herbal tea habit, we make an effort to reuse as much as possible.  Any food waste we generate is fed to either our chickens or placed in our compost bin or worm farm to make nutrient-dense fertilizer for our vegetable garden.

Recycle – When we haven’t been able to avoid generating the waste or reusing it in some way, we then look to recycle. Fortunately we live in South Australia where there’s a cash incentive to recycle bottles. This policy makes for a very tidy State! We also pass clothing items to the local opportunity shop and collect items such as printer cartridges and batteries for recycling.

Here is some more just in case you want some more tips…..

My Five Top Tips to Reducing Your Household Waste

  1. Waste Not, Want Not – Food waste is actually the largest component of waste in a typical Australian household, making up around 40% of the waste stream. By planning your meals, shopping to plan and composting or giving your scraps to chickens or a worm farm, you’ll keep a heap of food out of your bin.
  2. Smarten up your Shopping – Obviously it takes a mindset shift to look at every single-use item you use in your home and ask if there’s a better reusable alternative but it’s a mindset that will save you heaps of money and reduce your waste considerably. From using reusable drink bottles to replacing your snap lock bag habit with reusable food pouches, this mindset is fundamental to becoming an eco-goddess.
  3. Aspire for your WHOLE diet to be wholefoods – I appreciate that packaged, processed foods are convenient, but they’re also costly, nutritionally poor and produce sooo much waste in packaging alone! So, bit by bit, try and replace one processed food on your shopping list each week with a “real food”.
  4. Go for QUALITY over quantity – When it comes to purchasing most items including toys, clothing, appliances etc. buy the best quality you can afford. Of course this will mean you buy less stuff, and this less stuff won’t break down as much as the large amount of cheaper stuff, resulting in less rubbish (and less crap in your house to try and keep tidy!).
  5. Say NO to freebies – I know freebies make us feel fabulous (for a split second anyway), but no household needs fifty thousand pens, stubby coolers, magnets or a bathroom cabinet brimming with mini hotel shampoos and conditioners. For extra brownie points, see how long you can go without falling for a “gift with purchase” advertising campaign…..
– 3 Ways To Keep Food Scraps Out Of Your Bin – http://lauratrotta.com/3-ways-to-keep-food-scraps-out-of-the-rubbish-bin/

LAURA TROTTA WEBSITE

LAURA TROTTA FACEBOOK PAGE

Anna Wiese – from Unpacked Bulk Wholefoods

Why do you think it is important to ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?

It’s important to reduce our footprint on the earth, tonnes of single use items make their way into the environment where they wreak havoc destroying natural habitats and the animals/organisms that live there. I want to make sure some of this amazing world is still around for my grandkids and their kids to enjoy too!

What is some advice you would give to others who are wanting to change but hesitant as they either don’t know where to start or they think they really won’t make a difference?

Make just one small change at a time! Big changes come from lots of people making one small change. Things like using stainless steel lunchboxes, bottles & straws – they don’t weather or break like plastic does either. Keep a reusable bag in your handbag is also a good way to make sure you have a bag on hand when needed, and buying locally from places like farmers markets not only mean you are supporting local small business but are reducing food miles too.

What are 3 ways you personally ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?  

–       We shop from bulk to avoid packaging where we can – we reuse jars and containers for this

–       We use REDcycle to recycle soft plastics that can’t go in our recycling bin (found at some Coles and Woollies)

–       We buy secondhand where we can including things like school uniforms, this also saves us money! Amazing what you can buy from gumtree, fb groups, thrift shops and tips shops!

UNPACKED BULK WHOLEFOODS FACEBOOK PAGE

I know this information is so much to take in which is why I am going to keep the rest for another day! I still have so much more to say, so much more to share and of course, so much more to learn! I am incredibly ready and eager to keep learning with you. If there are any particular tips you would like, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to get some information to put into the next blog post.

Until next time …

Take Care of You,

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