Waste Matters

Living Plastic Free

Did you know?

  • Australians use four billion plastic bags annually, which means over 10 million new bags are used every day.
  • We each use around 200 plastic bags a year. (www.planetark.org)

Every time you shop, you are buying waste. Ideally waste should be biodegradable, compostable or recyclable. Unfortunately this is not always the case for many products, particularly those made out of plastic.

There are many reasons why you may choose to reduce the amount of plastic you are buying, ranging from environmental, health and ethical concerns.

Although plastic has become a very common product, particularly for packaging, reducing the amount of plastic you purchase does not need to be as difficult as it sounds.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

Buy in bulk and choose products with little or no packaging

Farmers markets are a great place to source unpackaged fruit and vegetables. When buying from supermarkets and grocers, look for items in bulk.

Many staples such as rice, flour and pasta can be sourced straight from bulk bins – just remember to take your own reusable bags or use paper bags if available!

In times when it is impossible to avoid packaging, look for products that are packaged in recycled or recyclable material.

New farmers markets are constantly appearing around Perth.

For more information check out the Australian Farmers' Markets Association

Carry reusable shopping bags

This may seem like an obvious tip, but a visit to the shopping centre or local landfill, reveals this practice is far from widely adopted. Make this easier by keeping a few reusable bags in your car, handbag, backpack or briefcase.

Don’t buy bottled water

Approximately 400,000 barrels of oil are used per year to manufacture the plastic water bottles used by Australians.

Do the maths:

  • Tap water costs around one cent per litre
  • Bottled water costs around $2.53 per litre

Doesn't it seem crazy to be using so many resources and spending so much money, when Australians are blessed with clean potable drinking water on tap?

When you are on the go you can carry a refillable stainless steel bottle or travel mug.

If water quality is a concern for you, invest in a home water filtration system.

For further information view the five minute 'The Story of Bottled Water' clip here.

Compost or worm farm organic food waste

Home composting and worm farming food scraps is a fantastic way to reduce the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis while returning the energy that went into preparing your food to the earth. Further, composting has several environmental benefits, ranging from a significant reduction of organics going to landfill, greenhouse gas reduction and soil enrichment.

Try wrapping your waste in newspaper

Rather than using plastic bin liners, newspaper placed in the bottom of your bin is a great, biodegradable alternative. As organics decompose, newspaper is very effective at absorbing liquids and associated odours. Meaning your bin may actually smell better than it does with plastic liners, plus you won’t be sending plastic to landfill!

Reduce and reuse

When we reduce the amount  of plastics we use, we also reduce the demand for products that are made of plastic. Further, buying products that are of a higher quality and that last longer reduces the need for replacement. Lastly, when you can’t refuse plastic, learn to reuse! Shopping bags, food containers and bottles can be put to many alternative uses.

Why not get involved in Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is an opportunity to make a commitment to live plastic free for a day, a week or a month in July.

For more information and to sign up to the challenge click here.

Last modified: 11:41 am Fri, 31st of Jan 2014