We can spend a lot of time picking up litter and recycling, but we can also be mindful of the waste that we are producing. Waste can be anything that is not being used to it’s full potential and then thrown into the rubbish bin.
Waste can come in many forms such as solid rubbish, liquid waste, organic waste (e.g. food and plants), recyclable and hazardous waste. Most of these items end up in landfill, but there are always ways that this waste can be minimised, re-used or recycled rather than being sent to landfill.
Landfills are a source of greenhouse gases. As rubbish rots, it releases gases that are harmful to the atmosphere. Other hazardous chemicals and toxic substances that end up in landfills leech into the ground layer and travel to under ground water systems over time. So, it is vital that we reduce the amount of landfill waste.
We are sure you have heard of the Four R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse). If we follow aspects of the Four R’s in our everyday lives, we can significantly reduce waste! Click on the boxes below to learn about the Four R’s!
Some easy ways to start refusing includes:
Saying no thanks to freebies, shopping bags and flyers
Asking yourself "do I really need this item"
Figuring out ways to use an item for multiple purposes!
Say no to wasteful items such as cling wrap
Here are some ways to reduce their consumption:
Opt for buying items in plastic free packaging such as a shampoo bar instead of a bottle
Reduce the amount of new clothes your family buys and buy second-hand instead.
Reduce buying takeaway food!
A good place to start reusing items is with the 'The Big Six':
Reusable water bottle
Reusable coffee cup
Reusable shopping bag
Material produce bags instead of using plastic bags
Food wraps (such as beeswax wraps) or use food containers.
Recycling leads to 'a closed loop' system which means products can be made back into itself or something new. For example:
Old tires can be melted back into tires or made into soft flooring for playgrounds
Bottle lids can be made into wheel chairs or prosthetics
Australia is slowly starting to get better at reducing waste. In fact, over half of all waste produced in a year was sent to recycling and only 27% of waste went to landfill.
We are also reducing plastic waste over the years, though the plastic that we do generate is not being recycled or reduced. 84% of plastic ended up in landfill while only 9% was sent for recycling.
A big area of waste generated is organic waste and of that, 37% was food waste. We need to get better at ensuring we are only consuming food that we need or that we have composts or worm farms to break down food waste at home!
What ways do your family try and refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle? Let us know one of each (check out the 4 R boxes above for ideas if you’re stuck). Once you type your answer, you can go to the Green Thumb level!