How to become a zero-waste household
There’s a growing awareness in Australia that, as a society, we need to rethink how we approach waste and find creative ways to reduce individual household waste. In this article we’ll look at ways you can easily and simply reduce your ‘personal footprint’ by tweaking a few of your daily and weekly routines.
1. Don’t buy too much — Did you know that the average Australian household throws away 20% of their weekly food shop each week? Plan your meals and shopping list so you don’t buy or cook too much.
2. Organise your fridge — Keep your fridge organized, so you can easily check your fridge (and pantry) before going shopping, to avoid doubling up. Plus, this approach will also help you stay aware of use-by dates!
3. Get creative with leftovers — Simply add a fried egg to your leftovers for breakfast or take them for lunch the next day with some extra greens. Yum!
4. Give scraps a new life — You can use food scraps to make a whole range of things. Here are a few of our favourites — juice pulp muffins, kale stalk stir-fry, carrot top pesto, coffee ground body scrub, and stock/broth with your vegetable scraps and leftover bones.
5. Use the whole vegetable — Try to use the stalks, outer leaves, skin and tops. These parts often get tossed when they’re perfectly edible, delicious and nutritious.
6. Compost your food waste — Did you know that organic material makes up 40% of our landfill and that when it rots in landfill, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas? To reduce organic material in landfill, you can either start your own compost bin at home or some councils allow you to put compost in your green kerbside bin. Voila!
7. Freeze it — If your fruit or vegetables are starting to look sad, chop them up and put them in the freezer. From there, you can easily add them to smoothies, stews or stir-fries.
8. End of the week stew — In order to use all your produce before it spoils, you can make a ‘sad vegetable’ ratatouille or a stewed fruit puree at the end of the week.
9. Make it yourself — You can minimise food-packaging waste (and save money) by making your own almond milk, muesli, hummus, raw chocolate etc.
10. Refuse single use packaging — Say ‘no’ to disposable packaging and instead bring your own. Many cafes, wholefood stores and shopping center’s now encourage this. A simple way to remember your own is to keep a few resources in a bag in your car. You could include non-disposables like a KeepCup, a mason jar, a set of cutlery, a stainless steal straw and a cloth bag.
11. Repurpose more often — It’s the simple things right? Try using your old sauerkraut jar for your chia pudding (after it’s been thoroughly washed!) or use a glass Kombucha bottle to store your filtered water.
12. Limit plastic — Aim to limit soft plastics like plastic shopping bags, bread bags and pasta packets by refusing single use plastic. These items cannot be disposed of in kerbside recycling but CAN be recycled in special REDcycle bins located at some supermarkets.
13. Don’t buy bottled water — Bottled water may be convenient for some but it’s not kind to the planet, to your health (hello BPA!) or your bank balance.
14. Have your say — You have power to make a positive change. Vote with your wallet by supporting the businesses that are certified organic and have independently assessed measures in place to minimise packaging waste.