Think of the last time you went to the supermarket. All your salad leaves in plastic, plastic bags of fruit and vegetables easier and often cheaper to buy than their loose counterparts, all meat on a tray of styrofoam and then wrapped in plastic. It is actually quite overwhelming, once you see it, you can’t un-see it.
I have been trying to reduce my waste for about 6 months now. My aim is to be plastic free, which is much easier said than done. There are some easy ways I reduced my waste once I became more conscious of it. This certainly didn’t happen overnight. I started to reuse the same plastic produce bag (after giving it a quick rinse) to get my baby spinach leaves from the supermarket. Otherwise I only bought fruit and vegetables that I could buy loose. I also bought dry items from the bulk food store in paper bags. I made an effort only use my reusable cup for coffees at work, and to ask for drinks with no straws.
However, some things are harder, I love milk, and buying in plastic is the only way in Adelaide (please let me know if I’m wrong!). And life gets in the way, like the spur of the moment picnic that calls for hummus, or when you are at the farmers market on a 40 degree day and an orange juice icey pole (wrapped in soft plastic) is calling your name. Also, as I use up items from my fridge/pantry, it leaves me with more plastic waste.
I try to think about my progress and how much less waste I make now compared to before and I am proud of that. However, I am also making an effort to make sure what waste I do have I manage as well as possible.
I can put any food scraps, tea bags, egg shells etc into my organics bin that then gets picked up by the council once a month for composting. You can also put soiled paper bags, serviettes and pizza boxes into the organics bin. I recommend lining the bottom of the bin with newspaper to stop scraps sticking. Food scraps in landfill break down slowly and release harmful green house gases, food scraps in your organics bin get made into mulch, compost and potting mix…much better. I have a caddy under my sink with compostable bags from the council.
Re-use vegetable scraps
I put vegetable scraps into a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full up, I pop all the scraps into a saucepan, cover with water, add some herbs and spices from the pantry and make a veggie stock. Easy, and v impressive to tell people you made your own stock.
Recycle soft plastics
Soft plastics can be recycled, although only once, hence why I try to avoid in the first instance. I drop mine off at Coles in the Redcycle bins. Any soft plastic that can be scrunched into a ball (that is dry and empty) can be put in the bin. For example, bread bags, pasta bags and plastic bags. If something isn’t plastic, or cannot be scrunched into a ball (such as a milk container), it cannot be added. Check out their website if you’re not sure if a certain item can be included.
Keep track of small plastics and metals