In light of Zero Waste Week happening in the first full week of September each year, there are simple and practical ways to a better eco warrior in all aspects of life. More importantly, in the words of Anne Marie Bonneau,
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
- SUPERMARKETS vs BULK STORES
One of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint is minimizing food waste. By getting food at your local bulk store, you become more aware of how much you are buying. Bringing your own bags and jars also mean avoiding the excessive plastic packaging commonly used in supermarkets – 85% of soft plastics from bags and packaging go to landfills.
- DISPOSABLE ITEMS vs BYO ITEMS
From plastic straws to coffee mugs, you’d be surprised at how much single use items we consume on a daily basis. 1 billion disposable coffee cups and an estimated 3.5 billion of plastic straws are thrown out in Australia every year. Plastic waste can harm sea life after making it to waterways. The best solution? Commit to bringing your own utensils, mugs and straws every time you head out.
- SINGLE USE MASKS vs REUSABLE FACE MASKS
Wearing a mask is now part of essential living in a global pandemic. Single use masks contain plastics such as polypropylene and have a lifespan of 450 years – many of which have already washed up on shores in various places. Washable cloth masks are a better, more eco-friendly alternative.
- GIFT PACKAGING vs ECO FRIENDLY PACKAGING
Get creative with gift packaging that doesn’t cost the earth! Ditch wrapping paper for newspaper or fabrics to give the gift a vintage and handmade look. Using reusable gift bags is also a good idea.
- PHYSICAL GIFTS vs EXPERIENCES
Instead of gifting your loved one items they might already have, gift them an experience instead – your children would be delighted with tickets (electronic ones, of course!) to the zoos or you could enjoy a movie or concert with your best friend.
- EATING OUT vs FUN MEALS AT HOME
Avoid eating out to reduce food waste, especially when you have no clue about portion sizes, what happens to the remains or where the food is from. Celebrate a special occasion by planning fun themed dinners at homes with your mates.
- FOOD WASTE vs COMPOST
Food waste can’t break down in landfills because they aren’t aerated. Food scraps then accumulate in landfills, releasing toxic greenhouse emissions. Compost organic waste in your backyard or check out sharewaste.com for compost bins in your area.
- NEW vs SECONDHAND
Before purchasing new uniforms for the kids or a trendy fashion item that might lose currency in a few years’ time, opt to buy second-hand from your family and friends. Otherwise, scavenge for vintage rare finds at your local op shop.
- THROW vs DONATE
Donate to local op shops or organisations instead of discarding unwanted items in good condition. Take advantage of recycling programs run by retailers such as MAC, Zara, H&M, Nike, where they accept empties or used clothing.