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My Four On Waste

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Keeping it real simple.

We’re told so many things about how we can help do our bit for the environment.

I’ve simplified it down to four really easy things everyone can do, just as Australia’s ABC TV launches the War On Waste.

Their documentary series – airing from this week – takes us on a disturbing journey from farms to supermarkets, suburban rubbish bins to oceans, showing just how wasteful the Land Down Under has become.

Some simple changes make for a plastic-free, waste-free shop – as long as you eat it all!

I’m on a mission to change that – and so are plenty of others.

There are initiatives and groups popping up all over the place, from repair centres like The Bower in Sydney, who are fixing goods and teaching people along the way, to Boomerang Bags who bring communities together to make and reuse bags locally.

And of course one of my favourite locals, Reverse Garbage!

The single best place for us consumers to start? You’ve probably guessed it already, that one word: Reuse.

Here’s my Four On Waste – the best ways I’ve managed to stop kicking waste to the curb.

Reduce

It all starts here.

If you watched the first War On Waste episode you saw the amount of food we’re wasting per household in Australia – a staggering 20% of the food we buy, equalling about $3500 each year!

Pumpkins grew from the compost – and took over!

We need to start buying only what we need.

Why not start with food – let’s buy what we’ll realistically cook, and freeze and preserve what we can’t. It’s also super easy to grow veggies and herbs at home, even if you live in an apartment! Same goes for composting.

I’ve reduced what I am buying and consuming through taking a different approach to the products I actually need. I’ve been keeping a list, ‘Things I Don’t Buy Anymore’ and it’s a great feeling to add to it!

Why did I ever buy spray oil in a can when (refillable) oil and a pastry brush work better?!

I stocked up at Biome’s Naked Beauty BarBalmoral in Brisbane

I’m experimenting by making things myself like deodorant, dry shampoo and room spray (which is also linen spray, perfume, bathroom deodoriser…), and buying naked soap bars which can do it all, from face to hair and body.

I’ve just stocked up on a bunch of DIY natural beauty products like shea butter, avocado oil and beeswax from the Naked Beauty Bar at the Biome Balmoral store in Brisbane. My creations will appear on the blog soon!

Biome ‘naked’ beauty products.

Reuse

This one has made the most difference for me. Reuse is the name of the game – glass jars (hello Vegemite!) to refill at bulk food stores like The Source, scrap fabric for washable hankies and napkins, refillable steel drink bottle, reusable coffee cup – the list goes on.

My lightweight calico bags for all kinds of goodies!

Choose one thing and pledge to reuse it over and over – you’ll get hooked! Shopping and produce bags are a great place to start, particularly as #BanTheBag sweeps Australia.

No reusable cup? Dine in!

I carry little calico bags with me (some I made and some I received with things) for bakery items and bulk food, and a little tin comes in handy anywhere.

Before you throw something “away”, could it be reused for something else? A candle jar for storage, fabric offcuts into dog toys – be creative, but not a hoarder.

You’ll be amazed how much your waste shrinks when you start to cut out plastics and packaging.

Share

I’ve talked about sharing a bit lately with the launch of the Undress wardrobe sharing app.

It was launched by the Undress Runways team as a way to reduce reliance on fast fashion, allowing us to tap into the best of others’ wardrobes, and also rent out our own.

So many good reasons to share your wardrobe

Sharing extends far beyond clothing – instead of buying something new, why not see if one of your friends or family already has that something? Think camping gear, sporting stuff and tools.

Repair

You don’t need to be a handyman or a seamstress to jump on the repair bandwagon. To me, honestly this one’s a no-brainer.

It’s almost always cheaper to repair something than it is to buy new. Plus it gives that much-loved something an extended life.

Find someone who has the skills, take a workshop to learn, or just give it a crack yourself with some good old fashioned Googling and YouTube-ing. There’s a video for pretty much everything!

And if it just can’t be reused, shared or fixed, take to Google again and find out the best way to recycle it. Here are some programs to get you started: