There are a few simple things that you can do to make a huge difference to your footprint and to the amount of landfill YOU produce, but also that we, as a nation produce, every year.
One of the fastest, cheapest and to be honest, MOST helpful ways to go green at home today is to AVOID EXCESS PACKAGING.
The Hierachy of Waste Minimisation is AVOID, REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. Whilst packaging for foodstuffs is important to prevent spoilage, if you can choose things bottles in glass, steel, aluminium and recycle all of these or better yet, buy in bulk or provide your own containers. Every little bit helps and it all adds up for Mother Earth.
Consider the different types of packaging on the market today. Packaging that is made of different materials, such as a chip / crisps packet made of a metal base, cardboard sides and plastic lid, cannot be easily recycled as all those materials have to be split up into their raw forms before recycling can begin. Oftentimes, items like these are sent to landfill.
Aluminium and steel cans, glass bottles, PET bottles, and most cardboard are made from recycled materials and are usually recyclable after use. Choose items with this kind of packaging rather than packaging made entirely from virgin raw materials.
Deliberately buying recycled products like tissues, toilet paper, office paper, note pads and paper towels is a huge step towards being green at home and work. The brand of Australian 'SAFE' toilet tissue is made from recycled office paper and as the average Australian household uses 94 rolls of toilet paper every year, its helpful to Mother Earth to make the switch.
If each household substituted four rolls of ordinary toilet tissue with 'SAFE' recycled toilet tissue, an extra 10,000 tonnes of office paper could be recycled, saving trees from being used as raw materials.
Plastic bags currently are not able to be recycled at most Waste Management Facilities in Australia however now there is another option!
Did you know it is now the law for every major supermarket to have a plastic bag recycling bin located at the entrance to their store?
Take your plastic bags to your local supermarket for recycling - don't throw them into landfill because they can take over 100 years to break down. Also, don't put them into your Recycling Bin because they can be mixed up with other types of plastics and create issues in a batch that can mean it has been disposed of into landfill.
Lids and Caps
Make sure that you remove the lids from your plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars. Empty all bottles before you place them into the Recycling Bin. Steel twist tops and jam jar lids can also be recycled, but they are too small to go straight in the recycling bin. The best way to recycle them is to collect them in an empty steel can and squeeze the top closed. Then the can with the tops inside can go into the recycling bin.
Heat-Proof Glass CAN NOT Be Recycled with Other Glass
If you have broken glass or ceramics like ovenproof dishes, drinking glasses or mugs, throw these in your rubbish bin. If they end up in your recycling bin, they will contaminate the recyclable glass bottles. Just 15g of ovenproof glass can contaminate one tonne of normal glass, making it useless for recycling.
Composting at Home
Financially and environmentally it's better to buy more food later if you need it, than to waste what you have too much of so plan your meals and shopping trips.
Make other meals with your leftovers, and recycle your food scraps with a compost heap, worm farm or Bokashi bucket. Bokashi buckets fit under your sink, do not smell at all and can mean you reduce your
rubbish by HALF each week.
Other Items To Recycle
Council collections aren't the only way to recycle. These days there are many other recycling programs that collect other items. These include:
- Printer Cartridges: All types and brands can be recycled via the 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' recycling boxes in participating Australia Post, Officeworks, Harvey Norman, Tandy and Dick Smith Electronics stores. Visit Cartridges.PlanetArk.org for more information.
- Corks: Guides Australia collects wine and champagne corks nationally through a network of individuals and collection points at hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.
- Mobile Phones: These can be recycled via most mobile phone outlets.
- Batteries: There are often battery drop off bins at electrical stores, in shopping malls and at places like Battery World. Learn more about how to recycle batteries properly here from Battery Recycling.Org because their toxic ingredients have ended up in waterways and in our land.
Love and recycling,
The Eco Mum xo
Recycling Near You