2020 was rubbish, in every sense of the word. Good riddance, we say!
On the positive side though, seeing both how well the environment regenerated after reduced human impact, but then also how the increase in the use of single-use plastic impacted our wildlife (disposable facemask anyone?), means more people are now determined to make a difference this year.
Incorporating more sustainability into your life doesn’t need to cost anything except maybe a tiny bit more of your time, but the rewards can be huge.
Here’s how to make small changes that will have a big impact on the amount of waste you send to landfill:
Shop local and eco-conscious
Many local businesses continue to do it tough with COVID restrictions, so when you can seek out those that offer naked products (i.e. no packaging) or refill stations.
Check for recycling solutions
There will always be products that you can’t avoid buying in plastic, but you do have a choice about which brand you buy. Look for one that offers a recycling solution for their empty packaging. If you can’t put it in your council recycling, check if there is a TerraCycle program in Australia or New Zealand that will accept it (several programs accept packaging from all brands, not just products from the company sponsoring the program).
Take reusable produce bags to the supermarket
You take reusable bags for your groceries, so go the extra easy step and refuse unnecessary plastic bags in the vegetable aisle. Most fruits and vegies do not need to be in a bag, but for those that do (berries or peas for example) take reusable produce bags or use the paper mushroom bags.
Slot sheets of cardboard inside your bin to organise recycling
You don’t need lots of bins to separate your waste. Create an X from cardboard to make four separate sections in the one bin – perfect for smaller items such as coffee pods, pens, toothbrushes and beauty products.
Reuse shoe boxes to store recycling
Bought new shoes during the Boxing Day sales? Keep the box and use it to store your recycling! Shoe boxes are a handy size, fit neatly into small spaces and are great for posting back to TerraCycle.
Start composting or set up a worm farm
Many local councils will supply one or both of these for free! Or if neither of those options work for you, you might be able to take your food scraps to your local community garden, or find someone who will take them from you through ShareWaste.
Split a Zero Waste Box with friends
If you’ve tried all avenues and still can’t find a free way to recycle, consider a Zero Waste Box. And as there are probably friends or colleagues who share your struggle, why not split the cost of the box with them? Zero Waste Boxes have a price tag because you are paying to recycle the contents as well as the shipping. And yes – there’s one for disposable face masks! Kiwis – these will be available in New Zealand soon.
Become a recycling champion for your community
Keen to expand your impact beyond your home and into your community or workplace? Go you! Read our blog about how to be a community recycling champion.
Here’s cheers to a cleaner, greener 2021.