With many of us suddenly confined to our homes for some time into the future, our household waste and recycling bins could fill quickly. Think food scraps, plastics and packaging. Here are some easy ways to keep household waste under control in these challenging times.
1. Eat the whole veg
With more of us cooking at home, it’s a perfect time to experiment with root to stem eating. Never eaten broccoli stems or cauliflower leaves? Both are delicious roasted with a bit of oil. If all else fails, freezing those bits to make soup later is a great way to use up those odds and ends.
2. Get creative with ingredients
Now is a great time to use up anything in the fridge and pantry nearing expiry. Try googling a recipe for inspiration. Don’t forget leftovers. Day-old rice is perfect for fried rice, and stale bread can be turned into a bread pudding or croutons.
3. Support local food businesses, without the plastic
Our community is full of incredible cafes and restaurants that had been making strides with waste reduction before the shutdown, but are now focusing on surviving. Whether you are supporting them by ordering takeaway prepared meals or a food hamper, ask for no excess packaging or disposables if possible.
4. Sort takeaway containers
Disposable coffee cups feel like paper but must go in the landfill bin. Plastic takeaway containers can be recycled so long as they are emptied of food and reasonably clean. Soft plastic cannot be placed into kerbside recycling but can be recycled through soft plastic drop spots at your local supermarkets like Woolies or Coles (look for the red bin).
5. Make space in the bins
If you’re avoiding the shops by ordering groceries online, that can mean more packaging. Request in your online order notes to avoid plastic bags and unnecessary packaging as most grocery stores accommodate that. And make more space in your bins by breaking down larger pieces of cardboard and crushing milk cartons.
6. Compost your food scraps
If you have a bit of yard or balcony space, why not give worm farming or composting a go? The award-winning Compost Revolution program will deliver the advice and discounted equipment you’ll need to get started. Better yet, use the finished compost to grow a few edibles.
7. Consider reusables
Approximately 24 reusable cloth nappies can replace thousands of disposables between birth and toilet training, which leaves more money for other essentials and keeps these items out of landfill. The same goes for sanitary pads. Have you ever tried menstrual underwear or cups? Now’s the time to give it a go. There are numerous online suppliers within Australia.
8. Embrace the educational and entertainment possibilities of waste
If you have children at home and need activities to beat the boredom, try using recycling bin contents for crafting or learning projects. Check this great online resource with 25 educational resources about waste for more ideas.
Thanks for giving waste-less living a try.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself at this difficult time.