July 1, 2007 at 12:42 pm #240340
If you are new to the Cutting Carbons Challenge this week â€“ welcome!
If you have already made cuts in the categories of Food, Debt, Transport and Energy – good for you, keep it up! Let’s see what we can now do about reducing rubbish with our Garbage Challenge.
Why reduce rubbish?
Our planet is not getting any bigger, but every year we are throwing away more and more stuff. Stuff we didn’t need. Stuff we thought we wanted but then actually didn’t. Stuff we thought would last longer than it really did. We also have a growing population. More people throwing out more stuff â€“ where is it all going to go? My local park is built on a dump â€“ all that stuff from before the sixties that people threw away, right under our feet. What a legacy!
How does reducing rubbish help cut carbon emissions?
Anything you buy which has been packaged has used resources and energy and therefore carbon emissions were created during the production process. If you plan to send the packaging for recycling, that process will also use energy and resources and create more carbon emissions. If the packaging will end up as landfill, all the resources and energy used to make it were for a very short life indeed. By reducing the amount of rubbish you produce, both landfill and recyclable, you will be reducing your carbon emissions and your impact on the planet.
Setting a Target:
Take a tally when you put out your bins for collection (or when you take it to the tip). How many bags of landfill rubbish and how much of each kind of recyclable is there? Keep a record and try to reduce it next week. 10% is difficult to see when it all goes in the same size bag, but you can estimate, weigh it, or go for a bigger figure, like one bag less! Which ever you choose, set a target so you can see how you go. When you know your target and your strategy, post it here.
But everything is packaged, how can I cut down?
Most packaging is either plastic, metal, synthetics (like styrofoam), glass or paper (including cardboard). Imagine for a moment that you had to dispose of this stuff on your own property. Plastics, synthetics and aluminium cans would be the hardest â€“ they don’t break down fast enough. Glass jars and bottles could be reused for preserves, or containers. Tins could be used in the shed and will also compost over time (you have to bury them deep and wait!). Paper can be composted, shredded for mulch or used for keeping weeds at bay. With this in mind, you can make choices as you shop.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
* Take your own bags to the shops â€“ this is an idea that has really taken off but it does take a bit of discipline. Try a small fold up bag that can be kept in with your wallet and keys all the time. Then you will have it when you need it. Some people even make small netting bags for buying fresh produce instead of those single use plastic bags. And single use plastic bags can be washed and used many times over – wash them with your dishes and hang them on the line.
* Choose the best packaging you can at the point of purchase. If you can reuse the container, great! If it will break down easily, great! If you can choose neither, try to avoid plastic if possible as it is more difficult to recycle than glass or metal.
* Buy secondhand. There usually isn’t any packaging on secondhand goods.
* Buy from a market. You can take your own bags or boxes for produce.
* Buy in bulk or buy from a bulk store. A 10kg bag of rice will have less packaging than 10 x 1kg bags, for example. There are also shops where you can buy smaller amounts from a bulk container. You can take your own packaging.
* Buy meat from a butcher. Supermarkets package meat in those little trays that can’t be recycled.
* Make your own. If an item for daily use can be made in a factory, it can probably be made at home too and often more cheaply and better for you. On this site you will find recipes and instructions for all kinds of foods, soap, detergent, face creams and more. It’s fun to make your own and it takes the mystery out of it all.
* Do without. If you can’t avoid the packaging, could you avoid the product? Don’t try to dump everything at once, there will be a riot! Just try ‘running out’ of that item for a while…
* Think before you buy. We often buy things we don’t really need and they often end up in landfill (or at the back of a cupboard for a few years). If you think you need it, wait a day and then reconsider. Often the ‘need’ has passed.
I hope this helps â€“ I am very keen to see how we can reduce rubbish even more! If you have some tips, I’d love to hear them too!July 1, 2007 at 9:19 pm #306101
This is something I am endeavouring to do more and more ~ create less rubbish !!
I am remembering more and more often to take my own bags to the shops.
They live in the boot but I have had trouble remembering to take them into the supermarket when I do my weekly shopping. Today I WILL REMEMBER to use them:)
Since discovering this forum I have become much more aware of the amount of packaging used and am endeavouring to purchase items with the least if not no packaging and buying food in bulk if possible.
I wish I could find brown rice in a bag larger than 4kg:mad: (a sack like white rice can be bought)July 1, 2007 at 9:51 pm #306102
Good for you, jasali. I just about had to staple those bags to myself to remember! Habit now – I feel like something is missing from my bag if my little fold up shopping bag isn’t there.
If you are willing to buy big amounts, sometimes you an get things from wholesalers or the manufacturer. Or maybe there is a shop that sells things in bulk? Some health food type places do. I know from experience that ‘white’ things (rice, flour etc) are much easier to source in bulk, but I prefer brown too.July 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm #306103
Yup count me in too.
I am good with remembering the “green” bags for grocery shopping, but where I fail are the odd purchases from other stores. I have a little zip up bag from energex that I should take with me everywhere, it zips out to a full size shopping bag. So will grab that and put it in whichever bag I am using for the day (no am not a handbag fiend, I alternate between a backpack and a small shoulder bag depending on if my daughter is with me or not).
Produce is a problem though, I think a whole bunch of my stored plastic bags got thrown out, so being totally unprepared for that on the weekend meant a lot of plastic bags for fruit/veg were gotten. However now we can reuse them. I like the idea of the netting bags but would have no idea how to make them.
1. Taking bags with me on the smaller shopping trips
2. Visit the bulk foods store – aim to take my own packaging
3. Do without – am already doing this with paper towel, and have run out of shampoo so will try to make do.
4. Make your own – already make my own pizza dough, biccies, muffins, cakes, tortillas, dumplings etc… so that cuts down on garbage (though I need to buy flour in bulk). Soap is going to be an issue this week, but I make sure to buy soap that has no packaging. I still don’t have the ingredients to make it :(.
5. Choose the best packaging – already do this to some extent, although I’m sure I could be more conscious of it.
The others we’re already doing to a very strict degree LOL.July 1, 2007 at 10:52 pm #306104
Anastasia, you can reuse your fruit and veg bags from the previous week if you keep them and they are clean.
This week I am going to try to:
*purchase reusable or recyclable packaging
*save food scraps to take to my mum’s compost bin – in our unit we really don’t have the facilities for composting.
*try to use reusable containers rather than snap lock bags through the week (we generally do but sometimes I get slack)July 2, 2007 at 1:07 am #306105
I’ve been taking my shopping bags with me each week for the last 18 years, for a long time I was the freak with the string bags! 😆
A friend and I are trying to find a local/regional bulk food store. I don’t know how we’ll go :confused:
We have a 3 year old who is still using nappies for bedtime. Unfortunately, she is also too clever for her own good and won’t stay in cloth nappies for more than a minute any more :p So, we need to use disposables for naps and nights. This is the bulk of our garbage.
Even so, we put approximately one garbag into the neighbours wheelie bin once every two or three weeks.
The recycling bags pile up outside until there is a uteful and then they are taken to the depot at the dump (every couple of months)
One big thing we did to reduce the load in the recycling, was DH starting brewing at home. Not much rubbish or recycling needs to be removed from that 😆July 2, 2007 at 1:16 am #306106
Count me in too 🙂 I have been writing down the amount of waste that we have generated in the last two weeks, and I’m disgusted :tdown: And that’s after a big improvement on my waste generation a year ago! It’s all relative I suppose. I’m inspired by your lack of waste Jaymie – wow! Any other tips you’d care to share?July 2, 2007 at 1:22 am #306107
Julie, I don’t know how we do it 😆
I’ve lived here for 15 years, and we only got council rubbish bins about 4 years ago. We just started washing all the yucky rubbish (meat wrappings etc) when we first got out here so that the rubbish wouldn’t stink us out :rip: We don’t buy junk food (much) and there is only really the packaging on foods etc that needs to be dealt with.
All the paper either goes in the garden or in the wood stove.
There are bins downstairs, but they don’t get used much and only need to be emptied every couple of months.July 2, 2007 at 1:47 am #306108
I’m making organza bags for my fresh veggies -they weigh about as much as plastic and can be be re-used( got the organza from Op shop and also recycles some old scarves). Now if only I had some thing for when I buy cereals from the wholfoods store! Any ideas any-one?July 2, 2007 at 2:45 am #306109
Lovely to see everyone here!
Anastasia, another good plan! You could look for soap in a cardboard container, like Sunlight soap. Or some health food shops or markets sell soap with no packaging.
Liz, it’s a great idea to save scraps for composting – good for you! You know those snap lock bags can be washed too. I found some nice low profile clip lock containers recently too. Sistema, I think. I know they are plastic, but they will be used for years.
Jaymie, your efforts are awesome. We’d love to hear any tips ou have for reusing things. My fella started homebrewing last year and it made a HUGE difference to the recycling bin! My 3yo wears a ‘pull-up’ at night too. We used to use disposables but I found a place that sells reusable ones. They really work a treat! No leaks (for us very important because our son shares our bed often). Here is the link: http://www.darlingsdownunder.com.au/products.php?cat=38 I got the Happy Heinys trainer pants and 2 microfibre inserts. It cost the equivalent of two months worth of disposables. I wash them by hand in the morning and hang them in the sun. They are dry by the afternoon (unless it rains).
Julie, keep it up – like you said it is a big reduction compared to last year or even the Aussie average. Every little bit helps!
Kiewet, I want to make some of those bags too. Recycling organza is a good idea. Can you take your own container to the place with the cereal? If you took two, they could weight the empty one and discount the weight of the packaging then weight the full one. Our bulk food shop will do this.
Good luck this week!July 2, 2007 at 10:29 am #306110
Any other takers for this challenge this week?July 2, 2007 at 6:52 pm #306111
Yes I’ll be in.:tup:
It is bin day today so I’ll keep track of what goes in after today.
Shopping day is tomorrow and I am making a real effort to reduce packaging. I have all my produce bags in my green bags ready to re-use.
I want to reduce the recyclables as much as the rubbish.
Just gotta stop bringing so many papers home from work.:confused:July 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm #306112
I’m definately in Suz, but I’m way behind on a lot of things due to having a pinched sciatic nerve. I hope to catch up tomorrow.July 3, 2007 at 1:51 am #306113
Good luck Michelle!
Rhonda, I know how you feel. I had trouble with that for a few years about 8 years ago. Hope you feel better with it soon…July 3, 2007 at 3:19 am #306114
There is a school here in townsville that won’t allow any plastic wrapping Ie your gald wrap sandwhich. Have used the tupperware containers for sandwiches, but the kids always lose theirs. very expensive. First two weeks back at school they lost all their new containers. :@:@:@ See me, mad as hell going though the class fridge and lost property. Umm i am trying to reuse bottles for juice. Home made and re wash the snap lock bags.
Gotta remember the cloth bags. but the shopping bags i use as bin lines, bags for dity cloths camping. Put cooked cakes in and in frezzer, warppping for prezzies with some flowers, tie them to trees to scare the birds off my fruit (still not sure if that one works)
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