Going green: How to reduce household waste
Cutting down on waste is easier than you think - here’s how to kickstart your family’s new approach to reducing rubbish.
We live in a consumer-driven world, and the temptation to accumulate more ‘stuff’ is an ever-present part of our lives, whether it’s food, tech, toys and more - plus all of the endless packaging associated with each. Make a change in your household, with a promise to start minimising your household waste. While reducing your environmental footprint can feel overwhelming at first, with a few small changes, it’s possible to overhaul your home’s impact on the world.
Start sorting: three bins you need in the kitchen:
Recycling: Ensure you have plenty of space for your recycling to avoid the temptation to toss items in with the rubbish. A tall narrow bin in a stainless-steel finish with a pedal-powered lid will make life easy, and will ensure any smells are kept neatly contained. Familiarise yourself with what can and can’t be recycled, as well as the best way to sort through each piece - such as rinsing jars and removing sticky tape. Your local council may have different rules for different items, so get online to find out all the need-to-know information.
Compost: Food scraps and leftovers can give new life to your garden - sort them into their own bin in a handy spot by the bench or bin area to make it easy to toss potato peels and apple cores on-the-go. Empty it regularly into a larger compost heap outdoors to ensure the food breaks down outside, rather than in the kitchen. Even if you don’t have a garden, you’ll find willing recipients of good-quality compost at local community gardens and at neighbour’s houses.
Waste: In most homes, it’s impossible to reuse everything, so it’s necessary to have a waste bin. A sleek bin in a similar style to the recycling bin will look neat and orderly, just make sure everyone knows which bin is for what to avoid contaminating the recycling with mess.
More easy ideas for reducing waste:
Reusable everything: Do away with plastic and take your own shopping bags to the supermarket (keep them in your car or by the door so they’re always on hand). Glass jars and containers are perfect for purchasing bulk items such as honey, flour and nuts if your local markets or supermarket sells them that way. Replace paper towels for household cleaning with old clothes and towels that are no longer wearable.
Fixer-upper: Learn to repair or mend your clothes yourself, and keep a basic tool set on hand to tackle those odd jobs and repairs without needing to replace items - not only will you feel a terrific sense of accomplishment, but you’ll save money, too. Upcycle anything past its prime, and give away items that work, but you no longer need to friends and charity organisations.
Mail out: Sick of sorting through piles of junk mail and phone books that you don’t use? Cancel any subscriptions, opt for email bills and updates and ensure you’re off any unnecessary mailing lists to minimise the amount of paper coming through your home.