Good Morning! I hope this finds you all well. As promised, here is the ‘part 2′ to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ blog I did a few weeks back. This time I have asked four everyday ladies (lovely COTC friends who were kind enough to share their time), just like you and me, who run a busy household, what they are doing to help the environment. It is a bit of a long read but I do believe you will find it interesting, worthwhile and hopefully inspiring. I am keen to hear from you after you have read it!

 Bec’s Story:

Why do you think it is important to ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’? 
 
We are a family of 3 and I was regularly finding that 1 small red bin wasn’t large enough for 1 weeks worth of rubbish. I actually looked at what we were putting in there each week, and realised that so many things were going to landfill that could be recycled or composted. Since changing the setup in our home, we are struggling to put 1/2 a bag of rubbish in a bin that we were previously overflowing! That’s a massive difference! If each household could reduce their rubbish from 1 bin to less than 1 bag with just a few small changes at home, it would have such a positive impact on our environment.
For starters there would be so much less going to landfill, and we could also reduce the carbon footprint of all those garbage trucks collecting rubbish from the kerb every day. Imagine if the garbage truck only came fortnightly like the recycling truck, just think about the drop in emissions alone that would create.
We also get a local paper delivered to our house, by someone in a car, twice a week. I don’t read this paper and have contacted the publisher multiple times to opt-out (I’ve even asked the woman delivering it to please refrain) but it still collects in a pile on my lawn each week until my neighbour gets sick of looking at it and puts them in my recycling bin. I am astounded at the waste of resources the publishers of this newspaper are partaking in. This paper is produced from trees, shipped to a printer, printed on, packaged up (sometimes in plastic), driven to my residence in a car, thrown on my driveway, thrown in the bin, collected by a truck and sent to a recycle centre to be turned back into paper. It’s insane, and I have since discovered that most of the locals in the area don’t read it either, some use it for kindling in their fireplace, others compost it but mostly it goes straight into recycling. It’s amazing how wasteful this is and people aren’t even stopping to think about it.
I think it’s important not only to reduce, reuse and recycle so that we are not wasting the earths limited resources and there is something left for our kids to enjoy, but to also look at everyday life and hold people and companies accountable for their contribution to outdated and wasteful practices.
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?
Just make 1 small change at a time. Even if it’s moving your recycle bin to a more prominent area in your home, or collecting food scraps to give to your neighbours chooks rather than throwing them in the bin. Once you can see that you’ve made a small difference it’s contagious and it grows from there. I’ve also joined a few Facebook groups and learned so much. Search ‘Zero Waste’ in your area and join a community of like-minded people who will have a billion ideas for how to reduce your waste.
What are 3 ways you personally ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?  
The change was so simple at our house.
Firstly I pulled our recycle bin out of the pantry and placed it next to the rubbish bin, this alone made a difference as when you step over to the bin to throw something out you’re presented with 2 options, and it really makes you stop and think about  what you’re throwing out. It also resulted in disagreements between my husband and I as to what was actually recyclable, so we researched and discovered what can and can’t be recycled in our area (it’s different in every area). Where we live, any hard plastic packaging with a 1 or 2 on the bottom can go in recycling, but anything from 3 – 6 can’t. We’ve also discovered that long life milk containers are foil lined and can’t be recycled in our area, but the plastic lids can, so they get divided up and disposed of accordingly.
I then added a third bin to the same area, for plastic packaging that can be recycled at Coles or Woolworths – see http://www.redcycle.net.au/where-to-redcycle/ for more info. Again, when you have an item in your hand there is now 3 options, and it’s become a bit of a game to avoid the garbage bin as much as possible. You regularly hear a “yes! It’s a number 2 recycle!” coming from our kitchen, as one of us is so excited that another piece of plastic avoids the garbage truck!! (Sad, I know).
Finally I got a smaller bin for the kitchen bench top to place food scraps in, and setup a compost bin out in the garden. We actually got the compost bin for free as I was regularly sharing my recycle journey on Facebook and a friend had one that they’d never used and dropped it over. Our little boy is very good at putting his scraps in the bench top bin, and helps me gather leaves from the garden to layer over the food scraps each time I throw them into the compost.
I’ve also started using a reusable coffee cup each day as I’ve discovered that coffee cups aren’t recyclable due to the 5% of plastic coating over them, and my favourite cafe is more than happy to fill it for me. We also acquired a 44 gallon drum that we’ve turned into a fire pit in the garden, do avoid having a petrol-powered garbage truck take our garden waste away. It’s also a nice romantic Saturday evening sitting in front of the fire with a nice glass of red 😉

Master O helping his mummy with the plastic bag recycling!

Surely companies should listen when we want to opt out of all this paper being delivered?

Meagan’s story:

For us, it is so important to reduce, reuse and recycle to try to leave less of an impact on our planet for our children, and their children.
I have long considered myself environmentally aware, however when our son was born 14 months ago I was utterly shocked by the amount of waste we were suddenly producing. We were filling our rubbish bin each week for the first time ever! So began our cloth nappy journey and a deeper eye opener on the huge issue of waste in our country.
My advice to anyone is to start small, the changes can be overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Literally EVERY bit helps. Don’t want to cloth nappy? Could you use just one a day, in place of a disposable? See where that takes you. Struggle to remember your reusable coffee cup? Could you dine in instead? Or even refuse a lid – that’s one less piece of waste you are responsible for (for one coffee a day thats 365 pieces a year or almost 2000 pieces over 5 years, it does make a difference!) You could start a compost, or even just set yourself a goal to not buy anything new for a fortnight/month. Start shopping at op shops, the first time you find a wonderful piece for a fraction of the retail price will have you on cloud 9!
Starting your low impact journey will really surprise you with the benefits it can have on your health, and your wallet.
In our household the focus has really turned to reducing what we’re consuming & creating to begin with by not buying things we don’t really need and making a really thorough effort to use up all our food and make sure nothing goes to waste.
We have dramatically reduced our kitchen waste by starting up a worm farm & keeping containers of peelings etc in the freezer to give to friends with chickens each week, in return for some fresh eggs. We also try to buy things in bulk that only come in plastic packaging such as frozen peas etc – to reduce the amount of plastic we buy.
I have taken up sewing as a hobby, by using old clothes with holes in them I have so far made dish cloths, reusable produce bags and a pair of pants for our baby. Giving these old clothes a second life has really brought me great joy, even if I’m not much of a sewer!
Finally, we have increased our recycling by being far more aware of packaging and what can & cannot be recycled. If a product comes with loads of non-recyclable packaging (or just far too much unnecessary packaging) we no longer buy it. We source an alternative or simply go without. I usually write one email a week to various companies about their unnecessary packaging. I rarely get a response, however if just ONE of my emails makes even a small difference, at least its a start.
We only get one planet and we all need to be more accountable for the waste we are producing. Start today, don’t look back, be the change!

Bec’s bin situation!

Meredith’s Story:

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

As consumers, we’re a pretty wasteful lot. If you c​onsider how many times you’ve bought more than you need, then tossed half of it in your rubbish bin. If you imagine everyone else doing this, in every​household across Australia, that​ an awful lot of ​rubbish that goes into landfill and, from there, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. ​There are 2 adults and 3 young children in our household. We practise many waste minimising activities; however we still end up with a bin full at the end of the week. There is so much more we could do. Reducing waste, reusing (typical) waste items and recycling waste is such an important skill to learn. There are many ways to achieve these waste minimising practises. It is important to reduce the volume of waste that goes to landfill, not only to help keep landfill sites small, but the creating of all products (that we dispose of as waste) uses some form of electricity which produces greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases are detrimental to our ozone layer and thus climate change. With a little more thought, we can all change our habits so that we throw out less garbage. It’s as easy as developing a few new practices – when shopping and in the kitchen – and very soon it becomes second nature. 

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? 

There are many ways to reduce the waste that you send to landfill each year. Start small. Don’t try and change everything at once, you will become overwhelmed. Some helpful tips are: 

Reduce 

* reduce the amount of waste that comes into your home. 

* shop at a fruit market, take your own cloth produce bags and you walk away with NO plastic bags / plastic trays / paper bags or elastic bands etc. 

* buy in bulk where possible. flours, nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc 

Reuse 

* can you reuse that typical waste item? 

​​* should you have plastic bags in your house, don’t toss them in the bin, use them over and over again 

​* Is there a way you can reuse your cardboard boxes? Use them to store household items in, pack items away etc.

​* Instead of throwing old clothing out, donate it to the local charity store 

* glass jars are an excellent item to reuse in the house. I store nuts, seeds, flours in them etc. 

* food scraps are another source of waste. Can you compost them? I store vegetable off cuts in a container in the freezer and use them for making vegetable stock. Fruit scraps are also placed in the freezer for smoothies or cakes etc. 

Recycle 

* what waste items can you recycle in your household? 

* ​all cardboard and paper should go in the recycling bin 

​* plastic items that have the recycle triangle on them are safe to dispose of in the recycling bin 

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

Reduce: We reduce waste in our household by using cloth shopping bags, and cloth produce bags when going to the supermarket or shopping in general.- I buy my flours, nuts, seeds etc in bulk- I try to buy as locally as possible to reduce the carbon footprint

Reuse: we reuse any food scraps possible- jars are reused in the home- bottles are reused for seedlings where possible

Recycle: we have a separate recycling bin inside- we recycle any items possible, even if it means breaking the product apart to put those materials in the recycling bin, and the non-recyclable items in the waste bin.

Reuse glass containers where you can like Maria does

Maria’s Story:

Why do you think it is important to ‘Reduce, Reuse or Recycle’?
We are a family of 4. Both husband and I were taught at a very young age to eat wholefoods, so we had a head start to both health and less packaging.
We believe in one of our family values that we all make a difference, both as family and in our businesses.
Therefore have taught our 2 children this from a very young age.
Being a scuba diver I have seen the amount of pollution in our water ways, our children also learnt about the effects of pollution and how we can each help minimise the effects from what we actually do at home.
With population growth along with it more and more pollution in many aspects. Us as a family lead by an example then surely the positive flow to others to even make small changes.
 
I do buy or make our yoghurt in a big tub then dispense in little containers. All ‘sweet’ treats are made at home, less packaging especially plastic wrappers!
Bread bags are reused to cover food several times before disposed of. 
Left overs are placed in glass containers with plastic lids.
All legumes, rice, flour is emptied into coffee jars.
All glass bottles are kept for salad dressings and oil.
All kombucha, including hotels are kept in glass coffee jars, 2F are in grolsh bottles, voss water bottles or Roar Living empty glass bottles.
SHOPPING: Hessian bags are used for heavy items and delicate green grocery a wooden box are used.
PLASTIC Milk containers are used to protect seedlings in Autumn/Winter crop. I cut then place over emerging seedlings.
EGG CARTONS: are kept and given to those who have chickens as well as our own compost bin. Also cartons are used for raising seeds.
TOILET ROLLS: are given for craft at school as well as raising seedlings. 
PAPER TOWELS: are placed in compost tumbler.
FOOD SCRAPS: have bought 3 BOKASHI bins from NZ several years ago. ALL food scraps are placed in our bins and put back in our garden, this includes tea bags.
EGG SHELLS: are kept in freezer, crushed then used around vegetation, both for warding off snails AND for calcium.
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?
Buy glass, so you can wash and reuse. 
Menu plan and get organised to make biscuits, muffins so no longer do you need to buy packaged biscuits or premade muffins etc.
Shop at “bulk store” and reuse paper bags for rice, legumes then place in glass jars.

It is ok to buy the odd packet of chips or even biscuits when time poor. I know not everyone can grow their own vegies BUT you can use wooden boxes to place your groceries in as opposed to buying packaged fruit or even using 1 plastic bag for 2 apples.

For those who store their fruit in plastic bags, invest in tupperware fruit/vege storage containers.
Worm farms great BUT slow.

How AMAZING are these ladies?! I am even more inspired that I have been before. Let me know what you think …. and of course, let us all know in the comments if there is something that you do that really needs to be mentioned.

I look forward to connecting more soon!

Take Care of You,
Collette x