Reducing waste is one of the single most effective ways you can help the environment in your daily life. But the scale and enormity of the waste problem can make knowing where to start feel completely overwhelming.
When you tally up the 345kg of food each household throws out each year with the 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our ocean annually, any way you look at it, the waste crisis is extreme. Despite the terrifying statistics, a few small changes really can make a big impact. Here Lottie Dalziel from sustainability store Banish shares her best tips to make a change for good.
1. Make simple plastic free swaps. Don’t go bananas and do it all at once but as you run out of something make a switch to a plastic-free option. Did you know that every plastic toothbrush and razor you’ve ever used still exists somewhere on this earth? Make a change and switch. For example, try out a bamboo toothbrush or razor. They work the same, if not better, and will save waste in the future.
2. When you’re doing your weekly grocery shop instead of just comparing the prices between two very similar products compare their impact. Is one wrapped in plastic and the other in cardboard? Also use reusable produce bags instead of plastic bags in the fruit and veggie section.
3. Separate and recycle your soft plastics. Add an additional small bin in your kitchen for soft plastics like biscuit trays and packaging. These can be recycled at the supermarket in the same place you recycle plastic shopping bags.
4. Be prepared. Make it your mission to never leave home a reusable bag, water bottle and a set of bamboo cutlery. Keep your plastic-free kit by the door or in the car so you're always prepared. Avoiding the need to use single-use plastics makes a huge difference - currently, they equate to 50 per cent of all the plastic we consume.
5. Wearing our clothes for an extra nine months could reduce the clothing industries footprint by 20 to 30 per cent. So next time you go to buy a new shirt think twice – do you have another one similar to this at home?
6. If you’ve got a special event coming up and nothing to wear, try hiring a dress (we love Designerex) rather than buying something new.
7. Women use over 10,000 tampons in their lifetime. Try a menstrual cup or cloth pads to reduce your waste to zero.
8. Plan out your meals and write a list before you head to the shops. Sounds simple but it really does help stop impulse buys and reduces food waste.
9. Start composting. The food waste that goes into our bins creates more greenhouse gases than aeroplane emissions. Grab a compost bin for your backyard (the council will give you a good discount) or if you are in an apartment use your neighbours using the ShareWaste app.
10. If your kids are in nappies, consider switching to the cloth variety. They’ve come a long way since the 70s and 80s and if the thought of washing them is too overwhelming, there are plenty of services like Lavenderia and Botanic Baby who deliver fresh nappies (and take away the soiled ones) for you.