According to Clean Up, Aussies produce 540kg of household waste per person each year. On top of this, just over half of the country’s commercial waste gets recycled properly, with about 130,000 tonnes polluting our waterways and oceans each year. Ouch.
Given the heftiness of those numbers, we probably don’t have to explain why it’s bad and why you should care. Instead, it’s way more productive at this point to start actively looking into ways to help solve the problem.
While the whole waste issue may seem like a mammoth task to conquer, there are tiny purchases you can make that will help reduce your waste output in the long run and make your life much more organised.
Some things are so damn convenient that you might find using them becomes second nature, like brushing your teeth or listening to folklore on repeat after a hard day.
Here’s a little rundown on where to start.
Get An Emotional Support Water Bottle
It’s 2022, for crying out loud. Unless you’re at a festival or football game where you’re legally unable to bring your own bottle in, why the hell are we still flogging single-use plastic bottles?
According to research conducted by the University Of Wollongong, plastic bottles are among the ten most common rubbish items picked up on Cleanup Australia Day, and a whopping 373 million plastic water bottles end up as waste each year. So, jump on the train and get an emotional support water bottle. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but it’ll become the grounding object on which you rely daily.
If you want to finally jump in on the trend five years late, buy a keep cup for your morning coffee for good measure.
Suss Out Refillable Containers For Cleaning Products
The bottles of our favourite cleaning, haircare and skincare products are problematic for several reasons. One, they will likely end up as one of the 500 billion single-use plastics that go to landfill each year. And two, they are usually ugly and don’t match anything else you’ve got in your house.
To solve this issue, buying refillable containers to reuse constantly is a massive go. You can buy most cleaning products in bulk these days, and heaps of cosmetic brands are finally hopping on board the refills train too.
Seriously, getting a hand soap dispenser that matches the decor of your bathroom can make you feel like a million bucks. Trust me, this is the easiest way to show your friends that you’ve got your life together and reduce plastic waste.
Invest In Some Glass Produce Containers
Food waste sucks on many levels. For starters, fresh food is expensive these days, not to mention that an increasing number of folks in our communities are becoming food-insecure. According to Food Bank, we’re currently wasting around 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, 70% of which is perfectly edible.
Investing in produce bags to take with you to the shops (those flimsy little plastic bags are a pollution nightmare) should be step one in your waste reduction journey. Instead of allowing your zucchinis to raw-dog the bottom of your fridge, buying beeswax covers and glass containers will help your produce last longer.
If you don’t fancy yourself a chef, opting for frozen or canned goods where possible is a great shout to reduce potential waste.
Take Care Of Your Clothes With Garment Bags
According to government data, Australia is the second-highest consumer of textiles per person in the world (after the US), and the average Aussie disposes of at least 23 kilograms of clothing to landfill each year. Given that we’re still pretty small compared to the US, this is alarming.
Taking care of your clothes is a huge way to reduce our clothing waste. Buying garment bags to wash your clothes in, the correct products to clean your garments with and even things like leather cleaner will help your fits last multiple seasons.
While these are a great place to start in terms of living a more wasteless life, being mindful about what you buy (and don’t buy) is a massive part of the process.
Purchasing products that are made from recycled (and recyclable) materials or materials that won’t spend thousands of years in landfill is a huge way. Luckily for us these days, it’s pretty damn easy — given everything from Colgate’s range of recyclable plastic toothpaste tubes to keep cups are readily available at supermarkets everywhere.
All it takes is a little more effort and a little less frivolousness about the current state of the world.Image: Modern Love / Amazon Prime