For a while now I’ve known I need to lift my game on the recycling front.
Between having to push our bags of rubbish into the big garbage bin on collection night and feeling guilty about the state of the planet I’m passing down to my kids and grandkids, I finally got a bit conscientious about it.
This is what I discovered.
1. Only one bag!
When I started putting ALL soft plastics (and I mean all, including muesli bar wrappers and tearing the plastic off window-faced envelopes), into the bag to go to the Woolies collection bin, our family rubbish massively reduced.
Along with recycling the hard plastic bottles, tins, cardboard and papers as per usual, there really wasn’t much that ended up in the general waste bin.
At the end of the week, our big bin had just two bags of rubbish in it. But as these weren’t very full, I would consider it one because it all could’ve fit into the one bag.
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2. Composting is the best!
We’ve had a compost going for a while now, but I admit I haven’t been great at doing it. Some nights I am simply too tired to scrape the carrot peels into the little bin because it’s full and that means I need to empty it into the garden compost first. As such, they would often end up in the actual bin.
But we just mulched the garden and applied some compost soil first and I know my plants are loving me for it.
Since then I’ve been more proactive on the compost front and I’ve noticed the reduction in my rubbish.
3. Leftovers are to be eaten
Instead of scraping half-eaten meals into the bin, or even a half-used tin of tomato paste, I’ve been better at using up what we have.
This is not only saving me money but also time.
Now the kids regularly get some of the dinner they didn’t eat the night before on their plate and leftovers are being used up.
4. I discovered my big environmental sins
This is not meant to be preachy. I don’t stand before you as a exemplary greenie. I am a work in progress. This story is simply about how a few changes at home exposed some things to me. One of which is, that I am still an environmental sinner.
When I realised how much household waste I reduced in a week by recycling a bit more conscientiously, it was glaringly obvious what things I still need to change.
My son’s night nappies filled up most of that general waste bin. Nappies that take 200-500 years to break down. That and all the wax-lined takeaway coffee cups my husband and I get from the local cafe, that can’t be recycled.
5. I am trying and learning
I may not be carbon neutral or an environmental saint, but I think I am a bit better than I was a few weeks ago. There are still lots of changes I need to make though.
I know I need to put my little guy in a more environmentally-friendly night nappy, for instance. Maybe a plant-based one which takes less time to decompose, or cloth.
Another is I need to stop buying single-use plastic, even if it can be recycled.
BUT! I have bought myself a cute bamboo keep cup with Rosellas on it to put an end to all those disposable coffee cups.
I love it and it feels good to hand it over to my local barista each morning, instead of taking home a cup that will end up in landfill.
Next thing is trying to get my school boy to take shorter showers! Umph. He loves them.
Do you have any tips for me on how I can do better?