Reduce your waste line: how to stop trashing Australia

Reduce your waste line: how to stop trashing Australia

Did you know NSW has a Container Deposit Scheme, same as the one that’s been operating for decades in South Australia?

People return their bottles and get 10c back. Go get your money! But maybe you want more than money. Maybe you want to stop sucking this planet dry. In which case, here’s a list of practical ways to reduce waste in your daily life. And hey, this Sunday is Clean Up Australia Day. “But I could be watching Married at First Sight!” Instead of watching garbage, go pick some up.

Keepcups save all that paper from landfill

Newsflash: paper coffee cups are not recyclable. “But they’re made of paper!” True, but they’re lined with a special plastic to make them waterproof which means they’re all sent to landfill. All ONE BILLION of them. That’s how many Australians go through each year because Netflix binging has kept them up all night. Get yourself a Keepcup and save the planet while staying wired.

Mooncups are a better way to deal with menstruation

A cup for a very different kind of liquid. The average woman chucks 23,000kg of used tampons and pads between puberty and menopause. So why not ditch these chemical-laden rags for something that’s better for you as well?

BYO water bottle at all times

I don’t really know what BPAs are and you probably don’t either,  so I’m not taking a stance on the ‘don’t re-use plastic bottles’ argument. But for Goddess’s sake, take your own bottle and don’t buy water! Aussies chuck even more plastic bottles than coffee cups each year.

Put your hand up if you’re happy to pay more than 1000 times the cost for anything. No hands showing? Now put your hand up if you would buy something at the shops for .50 that you can get for free. No hands showing? Buuuut this is what millions of us do every day. To put the crazy price mark-up in perspective, it takes eight years to recoup the cost of a bottle of water by refilling it with tap water every day.

BYO shopping bag, too

Scientists estimate it takes more than 1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose, but you’ll only use it for 10 minutes. After you’ve died and your life has been forgotten, some poor sod in 3018 is still going to have to deal with your shopping bags.

Use beeswax cloth wrapping to save your food

Glad Wrap is misleadingly named – when have you ever had a happy experience with it? It tears, leaks, and you rip your hand on the jagged metal cutter. Get into reusable wrapping, and avoid the same future-screwing that goes for plastic bags.

Store your food so it doesn’t go off (and eat it)

One word: weevils. It actually contains the word evil. Don’t let your food go mouldy/hard/soft/crawly and that’s food you won’t be chucking into landfill. In Australia, one in five shopping bags of food end up in the bin, equivalent to 800 worth of wasted groceries per household, per year.

Australians are among the highest waste producers in the world. We generate almost 41 million tonnes of rubbish each year – about 1.9 tonnes from each of us. That’s the equivalent weight of a Prius. There’s so much garbage in NSW it’s now being transported in trucks to Queensland, revealed when one of the trucks crashed in December last year.

If you’re interested in fixing this, Sydney Uni offers a Masters of Sustainability, the only uni in the country to do so.


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