Get your new year off to a green start with a few simple actions that will soon become easy habits. Adopting a lower waste lifestyle is easier that you might think.
Many of us make lifestyle changes at the beginning of the year but often if the changes are too big or too complicated they are unlikely to last. Starting small and making a few easy changes can lead to successfully formed habits that will not only last the year but hopefully for a lifetime.
Reducing your waste is not only good for the environment by reducing landfill, it also gets valuable resources working again by recycling. Saving money by reducing your consumption of new resources is also a great incentive to change habits.
Here are five simple changes to get you started on a lower waste lifestyle:
- Bring a reusable coffee cup - get into the habit of taking a reusable coffee cup with you. Get 2 – one for work and one at home so you never get caught out! Australians use over 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year with over 90% ending up in landfill.
- Recycle your soft plastics. Bubble wrap, biscuit packets, plastic bags and more can be recycled at many supermarkets through the REDcycle Program, check the website for your nearest drop-off location.
- Reuse your food scraps – getting a compost bin, Bokashi bucket or worm farm are easy ways to keep your fruit/veggies and other food scraps out of the bin as well as eating up your left-overs (see tip 4). Check if your council has a kitchen organics recycling program. Food waste accounts for 40% of material in waste bins.
- Take your own lunch – bringing your own reusable container of food to work will not only save you money it reduces the amount of single use plastic by not using disposable cutlery and containers (or at least have your own cutlery if you do get take-out). It’s also a great way to reduce food waste.
- Say no to plastic bags and bottles - keep those reusable bags (small ‘scrunchable’ ones are useful space savers) handy in the car and maybe a couple at work in case you get caught out. Taking a water bottle with you saves money and reduces the need to purchase single-use plastic.
Finally, recycle, recycle, recycle! If you’re not sure if a material is recyclable check on RecyclingNearYou.com.au or download the RecycleSmart app to check what’s recyclable in your area.