We're all in need of a bit of recovery. And that can mean environmental recovery, resource recovery, economic recovery and even, emotional recovery!
Managing our resources well is an important part of the fight against climate change. And for a future beyond the bin, everyone needs to play their part. The good news is that the journey has well and truly begun.
These 6 steps highlight ways you can personally transition to a future beyond the bin.
We're all in need of a bit of recovery. And that can mean environmental recovery, resource recovery, economic recovery and even, emotional recovery! Managing our resources well is an important part of the fight against climate change. And for a future beyond the bin, everyone needs to play their part. The good news is that the journey has well and truly begun.
The following 6 steps highlight ways you can personally transition to a future beyond the bin.
Change is happening, with more manufacturers designing products with the environment in mind including minimising the use of materials, ensuring components are recyclable and using recycled content.
In Australia, Federal, State and Local Governments have agreed to deliver the first ever National Waste Policy Action Plan with greater investment in recycling infrastructure, implementation of waste export bans and investment in product stewardship schemes.
Most Australians say they are concerned with waste and are acting to reduce the amount they generate. However, knowing how to waste less and recycle right can be confusing. Your waste is a resource that embodies value and so a future without landfills is something Australia should aim for.
The most effective way to eliminate waste is to reduce your consumption. This can also mean saving yourself money. Taking time to review your purchasing habits and taking stock of how much 'stuff' you have can be the first step to better resource use.
Reducing your waste is not necessarily about sacrifice, it's also about changing behaviour, your mindset, and discovering the hidden benefits of those new behaviours.
Be conscious of whether you really need that new "thing". Humans are fascinated by novelty so avoid impulse buying by creating a 30 day waiting list for big purchases and avoid perusing online shopping. Perhaps an experience will provide you more joy.
Choose to Reuse
Packing your lunch in reusable containers, along with your reusable water bottle and reusable cup helps avoid single-use items and saves money on takeaway food and drink. Try a second-hand clothing store for pre-loved bargains and to reduce your eco-footprint.
Pass it on
Many items in cupboards or garages are barely used or needed. Selling them ensures the valuable resources and energy that went into making them are not wasted, creates space and gives you extra cash to help pay that next bill.
Food waste is one of the biggest contributors to landfill from households. In addition, it is one of the biggest contributors to contamination of kerbside recycling bins. However, food waste is also one of the things we can easily avoid.
Food in sealed landfills rot and produce methane as these environments are anaerobic, meaning there is no oxygen. When landfill sites do not capture methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide is released. Food scraps and liquid also don't belong in recycling as it can ruin your good efforts and prevent recyclables from being recycled.
Make a List
Check your fridge and pantry supplies, make a list before shopping and stick to it.
Plan meals and plan what to do with leftovers - like turning it into tomorrow's lunch or freezing it to use later on.
Get Into Composting
Set up a compost bin or worm farm, or give your scraps to community composters - visit ShareWaste.com
About half of all packaging in Australia is recovered. We're doing ok with paper and cardboard but less so when it comes to plastic. Many Australians are pushing back on excess packaging and looking to a trusted recycling label to help inform their purchases.
Packaging that is not reusable, recyclable or compostable is simply a waste of all the energy, resources and water that go into its production.
Refuse Single-use Plastic
Say no to straws, takeaway cutlery, disposable coffee cups, shopping bags and bring your own fruit and vegetable bags, takeaway containers and water bottles.
Buy in Bulk
Buying groceries in bulk (and even splitting it between friends and family) reduces the amount of packaging you consume and saves you money. Don't forget to close the recycling loop by buying back packaging made using recycled content.
Check it Before You Chuck it
Before you throw away packaging look for the Australasian Recycling Label, an evidence-based system that provides easy to understand instructions on how to correctly dispose of every part of the packaging.
Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in Australia. Constant upgrading of devices and low rates of recycling means landfills are filling up with valuable resources and hazardous materials, or worse, leaching into our waterways and potentially causing problems for wildlife and human health.
Sending e-waste to landfill has already banned in Victoria and is a priority for the Australian Government under the Product Stewardship Act. E-waste is not recyclable in your kerbside bin. This includes virtually any appliance with a plug or battery such as mobile phones, TVs and computers.
If your device is broken, seek out a repair shop or contact the manufacturer.
Do you really need to buy new? Try reconditioned or second-hand to save money and resources. You could also make some extra cash by selling your old technology online or give it away to someone who could make use of it. It will make you feel good!
If there are no other options, find your nearest drop-off location for mobiles, printer cartridges, batteries, computers and electrical appliances by visiting RecyclingNearYou.com.au
Companies can have a positive impact on the environment by making small changes in how they produce products, what resources they use or how they dispose of materials. From large corporations to small businesses, companies are innovating to take responsibility for their products and waste.
The age of product stewardship is here. MobileMuster and Cartridges 4 Planet Ark have been helping brands take responsibility for the end of life of their products in Australia for many years. The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is encouraging brands to make packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable. And, the Australian Government has committed funding to support more product stewardship programs into the future.
Become a champion in your organisation for reducing resource use, recycling more and buying products with recycled content.
Vote With Your Dollars
An important way to encourage sustainable practices in companies is to support those that are taking real action to reduce their impact.
Inspire Your Workplace
Use Planet Ark's free War on Waste Toolkit for Business to help create change in your organisation.
Support the Circular Economy
Discover circular economy thinking, see what other businesses are doing in this space, and find out how your workplace can become a sustainability champion for the future via the Australian Circular Economy Hub.