The warm days and longer daylight hours make summer a perfect time to get outdoors, catch up with friends and family or work on home improvement projects. Find out how you can use the waste hierarchy to keep your summer activities sustainable during outdoor excursions, when hosting a gathering or cleaning up around the house.
The easiest way to reduce waste is to avoid it. Whenever we shop, we should be mindful that what we buy may ultimately become our rubbish. The best way to avoid being wasteful is to plan ahead. Before heading to the shops, draw up a list of needed items – whether it’s groceries, clothes, camping supplies or hardware. Making a list helps identify what you really need, while avoiding guesswork and impulse buys. You’ll probably save a bit of money too.
Here are our tips for avoiding waste:
- Don’t buy what you’ve already got – check the cupboards, pantry or garage to make sure you’re not buying what you don’t need.
- Invest in a picnic basket or a set of reusable cups, plates, cutlery and containers for camping, picnics and outdoor activities. Check out Clean Up Australia’s range of sustainable products.
- Avoid single-use plastic full-stop – straws and plastic bags are two items that can be easily replaced with reusable options.
- Borrow, rent or hire camping equipment, party supplies and household tools to avoid buying new and one-time only items.
After avoiding creating new waste, the next step is to reduce the amount of waste. Instead of relying on single-use or single-purpose items, look around you and see what you can use as a replacement or ways to reduce wastage. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of creativity like:
- Get camping equipment and party supplies made from quality materials that are designed to last and store them well. This can reduce the need to purchase new items in the future.
- Plan meals and party menu ahead, catering for the right amount of people and make the most of leftovers to reduce food waste.
- Where possible, repair broken appliances and furniture instead of throwing them out. If you can’t repair it yourself, look for a repair café or business in your area.
- Purchase goods made from recycled products to reduce waste and encourage a circular economy.
The next step is to reuse. Whenever possible, switch to items that have multiple purposes or a long lifespan. This can include getting your own reusable coffee cup and water bottle, painting or recovering furniture instead of replacing them and repurposing party supplies and decorations.
- Make the most of Christmas packaging by saving wrapping paper, ribbons and boxes for gifts throughout the year.
- Store shopping bags collected over Christmas in the car or your handbag, ready for unexpected shopping trips.
- Hold a garage sale or swap – your rubbish could be someone else’s treasure.
Recycling uses fewer resources to produce new items compared to raw materials. Taking the time to recycle instead of throwing in general waste can make a huge difference.
- Households without an organics kerbside collection service can start a compost bin – there are options even for apartments with tiny spaces. Businesses can recycle food and garden waste with an organics waste service.
- E-waste such as old mobile phones, hard drives and printers can be recycled – visit E-waste Finder to learn more.
- Household chemicals like paint and old cleaner products are also recyclable. Paint can be dropped off at Paintback locations nationwide and check with council for household chemical drop-off locations.
- Keep a dedicated recycling box nearby when cleaning up the house to collect recyclable items like old papers and magazines.
Disposal should be the last option. Reducing waste starts with planning and conscientious buying so that as little as possible is disposed as general waste and sent to landfill.
Whether it’s sustainability tips and tricks for the home or total waste management solutions for businesses, contact us today to find out how we’re making a sustainable future possible for our communities.