Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Reducing your Rubbish

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1. Compost / Worm Farm

A large majority of your rubbish is made up from food scraps. The best way to reduce your rubbish quickly is to compost your food scraps or start a worm farm.

2. Say no to excess packaging

Refuse to buy fruit and veggies wrapped in plastic, your local farmers market makes this a lot easier. Only buy items that have little or no packaging and take your own bags to the shops! This is the simplest way to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the landfill.

3. Reduce your paper usage

Put a No Junk Mail sign up on your letterbox. Don't print things unless you really have to and if you do print double sided. Elect to get your bills through your email rather than as paper statements. Read your newspaper online.

4. Grow your own

This is sometimes easier said then done (trust me, I know) but every little bit counts. Why not start with a small herb garden in your kitchen. A couple of pots with a selection of parsley, coriander, thyme, and/or chives is a great start. Rosemary and Mint are also great growers but they like a bit more room so are better outside (although keep your mint in a separate pot or it'll take over your garden). Once you've got that working you can move onto things like Asian greens (pak choy) and cherry tomatoes which can grow in the garden or containers. Start small and work your way up.

5. Buy in bulk.

Many bulk stores allow you to take your own containers, greatly reducing the amount of throwaway packaging you may have. But even if you don't have a bulk store nearby you can still buy many items like rice from your local supermarket in bulk to reduce your packaging. Also keep an eye out for smaller whole food stores which sometimes have refill options.

6. Get back to basics with cooking

It is pretty easy to fill up your rubbish bin with packaging from pre-processed, convenience foods. The easiest thing is to get prepared and start planning out your week to stop the temptation of buying takeaways or 'easy' meals which often have very little nutritional value. It can be difficult if you are a full time worker but it just takes a little preparation. Secondly get back to baking and start making muesli bars, biscuits and other lunch pack items and take them in reusable wraps.

7. Buy second hand

Buying second hand allows you to restrict the amount of packaging that you purchase. Have you ever tried to open a kids toy recently wrapped in that indestructible plastic?! Buying second hand means you can buy without the packaging.

8. Make your own cleaning products and beauty products

I haven't done this myself yet but it will be the next step for me so why not join me in trying this option out?

9. Push back at your local council

Don't have a recycling initiative in your neighbourhood or think that yours could be improved? Write to your council and help to make the change.

10. Reuse

When you do have to buy something packaged, find inventive ways to reuse it; turn old tin cans into pot plants, use egg containers to grow seedlings, or turn old t-shirts into bags.

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