Reduce Your Waste
Have a good look at what goes into your bins each week and work out where your waste is coming from. Make a plan to reduce the waste, tackling one waste type at a time. Allow one small change to become a habit before tackling the next one. Over time you’ll achieve a big, sustainable change.
One of the simplest ways to reduce your waste is to choose products with the least amount of packaging.
Food packaging can be a big contributor to household bins. Here are some tips for reducing food packaging:
- Buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables.
- Let your local retailer know that you want to purchase unpackaged food and ask them what they can offer you. Some may allow you to bring your own containers.
- Farmers Markets are a good source of unpackaged, locally grown food. Contact your local council to find your local market or visit Local Harvest or South West Victoria markets Facebook page.
- Bulk buying groups and community food co-ops are also a great source of food with low or no packaging. Visit Local Harvest to find a group near you.
6 Ways to Purchase Unpackaged Food
Don’t let food go to waste
Each year households throw away 250,000 tonnes of edible food – enough to fill Melbourne’s Eureka Tower.The average Victorian household throws away $2,136 a year in wasted food. 65% or almost two thirds of the food Victorian households throw away could have been eaten.
Reducing food waste starts with knowing what’s in the pantry, fridge and freezer.
Giving your pantry, fridge and freezer a regular tidy-up and placing food that needs to be used soon, in easy reach, is the first step in reducing food waste. Check the used by and best before dates and use up the older products first.
|What’s the difference between used by and best before dates?|
For health and safety reasons, foods should not be eaten after the used by date as they may no longer be safe.You can still eat foods after the best before date as they should be safe, but they may have lost some quality. Click here to go to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website for a full explanation.
Now that you know what’s in the pantry, fridge and freezer, it’s time to make a meal plan for the week ahead. Think about who you are cooking for, whether they need something that can be easily re-heated and what you currently have on hand.
Plan Buy Cook has some great templates you can download for free to help with evening meal planning. Their 4+2+1=Dinner Done method is a great way to eat well and not have to cook every night.
Once you’ve decided what you’d like to eat for the week, it’s time to create a shopping list.
Shop to a list
Using a shopping list saves time and money in the long run. It gives you the freedom to shrug off those two for one deals, and nagging doubts about whether there really are enough carrots in the crisper as you zip around the supermarket in half the time. There’s a really handy shopping list template available at Plan Buy Cook. The list is divided into food categories, making it quick and easy to scan the list and see if you’re finish in that section of the supermarket. Once you get your shopping home, the next key step is to store your food correctly.
Store food correctly
Food that’s stored correctly stays fresher and lasts longer. Where and how we store food can also affect the taste and nutritional value of food. Should apples be stored in the fridge, pantry or the fruit bowl on the kitchen bench? Should you unwrap food before placing it in the fridge?
The Better Health Channel provides useful tips on safely storing cooked foods. There’s a free downloadable pdf available on their site.
Reduce Textiles Waste
Large quantities of clothes, shoes and household textiles such as bed linen and soft furnishings are sent to landfill every day.
You can reduce textile waste by:
- Purchasing fewer items of higher quality that won’t date as quickly as this season’s fashion trend.
- Looking for natural fibres like wool, cotton, hemp, linen and silk. At the end of their useful life, all of these organic fibres can be composted and returned to the earth.
- Buying clothes and soft furnishings that are high-quality so that they last longer. Make sure zips run smoothly, stitching is even, and a strong thread has been used.
Grow Your Own Food
Community gardens and garden clubs are wonderful places to make friends while learning about growing food and making compost.
There are several community gardens across the Barwon South West region. Visit Local Harvest, Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network, or contact your local council to find a garden near you.
Tune in to Gardening Australia on ABC television for weekly tips and garden inspiration or download their Vegetable Gardening factsheets.
Check out Gardenate for useful tips on seasonal gardening.
Say no to single use plastic
There is a growing list of alternative products to help reduce single-use items. Here’s a short list to get you started:
When you head to the shops, remember to take your own bag.
Lightweight plastic shopping bags will no longer be available in Victoria as part of a state-wide ban coming into effect from 1 November 2019.
What is banned?
The ban applies to lightweight plastic shopping bags with a thickness of 35 microns or less, including degradable, biodegradable and compostable bags.
The ban applies to all retailers, including supermarkets, food outlets, clothing stores, markets, cafes, bakeries, greengrocers and many more.
Why is it banned?
In the past, Australians have used up to 10 million plastic bags every day – an astonishing 4 billion every year. Of these, approximately 150 million end up in our oceans and waterways, contributing to an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic dumped in the ocean every year.
Although plastic is lightweight and low cost, it doesn’t go away; it breaks into many pieces, ends up in landfill or as litter and can cause long term harm to the environment and wildlife.
We believe these are compelling enough reasons to support the ban and we want to help make it as easy as possible for residents to build better bag habits.
What can I do?
Build better bag habits. Make a reusable bag an essential in your day – just like your wallet, keys and phone.
Victorians are already doing a great job building better bag habits. On average three quarters of Victorians already bring reusable bags with them when shopping for food, and other items, like clothes and shoes.
Some simple tips to build better bag habits and get used to remembering a bag ahead of the state-wide ban include:
- Before you leave home remember: Bag, Wallet, Keys and Phone
- Keep your bags at the front door, at work or in the car so you are more likely to remember them
- Keep a foldable bag with you throughout the day in your handbag or backpack
- Get used to saying ‘no bag please’ at the checkout
- Take a bag or container at lunchtime when purchasing food from cafes and restaurants
Replace single-use water bottles with a good quality reusable bottle. Download the Choose Tap app or visit Choose Tap for help finding a public tap to refill your bottle.
There’s now a wide range of reusable cups to replace single-use cups. Visit Responsible Cafes to check out the most environmentally friendly options and find a café near you that will happily serve your next coffee in your own reusable cup.
If you really need to use a straw, consider purchasing a plastic-free one. Paper, bamboo, stainless steel, glass and silicon options are available through a quick online search.