Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reduce Reuse Recycle

I believe we throw out too much. There is disposable or single use everything. Not only that, but I think it is expected that you use a disposable item. Perhaps people see reusable items as old fashioned and what ‘poor’ people do because they can’t afford the ‘better’ single use item.

Well, we used to think like that too, but I came to the conclusion that that idea stinks (sorry, had to be done). Each week our bin was so full we had to jump on it to fit the last lot of rubbish in on bin night. We still recycled, but our recycling bin was also full each fortnight.

We have reduced our rubbish output dramatically over the last few years as we became conscious in our everyday lives and now our bins are rarely full, but our goal this year is to only ever have our garbage bins half full.

So, how are we going to do this? Here are a few things that will help us to achieve our goal.

Our worm farm and compost bin. 90% of our food scraps go to our worms or to the compost. Apparently Australians throw out a ridiculous amount of food each year and I know I used to buy too much and then had to throw some of it out at the end of the week. Now I buy less perishable items at a time and by putting food scraps in the worm farm or compost we have pretty much eliminated food going into the bin.

Cloth Nappies. I must admit to not using as many cloth nappies as I should and some days I am really slack, but using cloth nappies will reduce your garbage volume significantly. I will point out that it is important how you wash your cloth nappies. If you use a hot wash and bleach and huge amounts of water in the wash then it may be doing more damage to use cloth. Just another thing to consider. I have talked about my cloth nappies here.

Being aware of packaging. If you are cooking from scratch you won’t be purchase food with lots of unnecessary packaging but you should still be aware of this as it can sneak into your trolley at times. For example fruit and veg that have been wrapped on one of those trays or putting 2 apples in a plastic bag.

Reusing things. I know I spoke about reusable things instead of single use items, but reusing also means thinking of a new use for something. For example, I shred any non-glossy paper that comes into the house and add it to my compost and use it as mulch on the veggie garden. I also use the punnets that the strawberries come in to start off my seeds. Before you throw anything away, ask yourself what else it can be used for.

Stop buying stuff. I know I seem to harp on in almost every post about this but really, we buy way too much stuff and most of it isn’t built or designed to last.

If anyone has any other ideas on how to reduce our garbage volume I would be happy to hear from you.


Taryn said...

We just started a worm bin too! It has been going great, until lately . . . The worms seem unhappy about something because they are not eating as much. Time to problem solve.

But, I know having the worms with help tremendously with our "rubbish" as you call it.

emma - theberrypatch said...

Hi Taryn,

My worms went through a stage where they weren't eating much too. It turned out they didn't like raw potato. Once I removed the potato skins they were fine.


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