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10 Easy Ways to Create Less Waste and Live More Sustainably

by Sally L Watkins Thursday August 19th 2021

10 Easy Ways to Create Less Waste and Live More Sustainably-recycle-clothes-sydney-01

The 2018 National Waste Policy reported that Australia produces 67 million tonnes of waste annually. When broken down, this number equates to a staggering 2.7 tonnes of waste produced by the average Australian.

Despite the government’s effort to promote recycling and manage waste more effectively, Australia steadily produces more waste every year. Unrecycled materials go to the landfills and unfortunately, may end up in the ocean.

If you’re wondering how to reduce your environmental footprint, you’ve arrived at the right place.

Here are ten easy ways to create less waste and live more sustainably.

  1. Stop Purchasing Fast Fashion.

Fast fashion pieces are extremely trendy and cheap. These clothes are typically made of materials like polyester, acrylic, and nylon to keep prices down.

But wearing plastic clothes comes at an environmental cost. Fast fashion items are intended to go out of style quickly, so they are not built to last. These clothes usually start to break down after several washes while leaking microplastic into the ocean. After that, most people just throw them out.

Alternatively, opt for clothing made with natural materials like cotton, wool, or silk. Choose a design that works for your body and can match many items in your closet. The cost may seem high upfront, but items worn many times would eventually be cheaper in the long run.

  1. Buy Used Furniture.

If you think that fast fashion is bad enough, you probably haven’t heard about the amount of waste that fast furniture produces. Upholstered furniture like sofas and mattresses are very difficult to clean and process. This explains why certain furniture items usually end up in the landfill.

Rather than going to Ikea and looking for the next cheapest side table, check out your local thrift store or online listing to get used ones. Try getting furniture that is made of solid wood which will last longer than particleboard.

If you don’t think antique pieces will fit into your home’s aesthetics, an option is to give these pre-loved items a make-over. You’ll be amazed at what a fresh coat of painting and switching knobs and handles will do to an old dresser or drawer.

  1. Avoid Using Disposable Items.

Many single-use items like plastic utensils, food packaging, and menstrual products are made of plastic that does not degrade for hundreds of years and is difficult to recycle. Plus, plastic water bottles may leach chemicals into drinking water that is bad for your health.

Be more kind to the environment by switching to these items instead:

  • Stainless steel or bamboo cutlery. You can carry them with you when you go out.
  • A BPA-free water bottle that can be refilled many times.
  • Tumbler for your daily coffee.
  • Menstrual cups instead of tampons and pads.
  • A multiple-use food container to store your take-outs.
  • Acrylic or metal straw instead of the regular disposable plastic one. Even better, don’t use straws at all.
  • Beeswax wraps to keep food fresh, instead of cling wraps.
  1. Recycle Your Mobile Phone

Recycling a cell phone is more than just environmental benefits, such as reducing hazardous waste or reducing natural resources. It can also help you save money and contribute positively towards society through charitable donations or even by assisting people in finding employment opportunities through a donation-based program.

Australian company MobileMuster recycles mobile phones recovers over 95% of the materials in a mobile phone into valuable materials for reuse. By recycling, the need to mine is reduced and taking fewer resources from the earth. Plus, recycling also saves energy when extracting and processing virgin materials and reduces burning fossil fuels.
Recycle at your local Optus, Telstra, Vodafone and Officeworks store or search for your nearest drop off point below for mobile phones, chargers and accessories.

  1. Plan Online Purchases.

With a wide variety of things available for delivery and the current pandemic, many can’t help but make purchases online. However, the things we buy online are packaged with cardboard boxes, Styrofoam, and bubble wraps so that items arrive in perfect condition.

But we have little use of these boxes and packaging inserts so it tends to go to the dustbin. To cut down on packaging, purchase multiple items from the same retailer.

This requires some time and planning but would help to reduce waste and might save you on the shipping fee. Once your items have arrived, recycle cardboard boxes and bubble wraps.

  1. Refuse Freebies.

Before accepting pens, brochures, and other freebies offered to you, do remember that free doesn’t always mean good. You may be tempted to accept these when in fact, you already have enough mugs and pens at home.

Refusing the things you don’t need is a key step towards reducing waste. After all, most of these freebies are brightly coloured with plenty of information printed on them. So they also add to visual clutter. Unless these items are from an event that you are really proud of and want to remember for years to come, don’t bring them home.

  1. Electronic Pollution vs Paper Pollution.

Are you an avid reader? Then you probably love the smell of paper and appreciate flipping over pages. Some consider buying e-books that you can keep on your tablet or smartphone an excellent way to reduce paper but think of the electronic pollution you create when continually going online.

Apart from that, have receipts and bank statements sent to your email when possible. After all, tiny paper receipts usually end up at the bottom of your bag. And if you don't think you will return the item, you can always refuse the receipt altogether.

  1. Take Care of Your Belongings.

This is the one thing that many neglects when it comes to sustainable living. Extend the life of your belongings by cleaning and maintaining them properly.

To make electronics last longer, avoid keeping them in very hot, cold, or moist areas. The lithium-ion battery of electronics like your smartphones and laptops would also last longer if you avoid a full zero to a 100% charge.

As for clothing articles, clean them as per care instructions. Do not put wool sweaters in the dryer to maintain their original size and shape. And dry-clean items made of silk, suede, and linen.

  1. Buy from bulk stores or farmer’s markets.

Getting food from stores that offer items in bulk is a wonderful opportunity to reuse your glass jars and really cut down on packaging waste.

Moreover, pre-packed food might be too much for you to finish especially if you live alone. By purchasing from bulk stores, food waste can be reduced too as you get to limit the quantity of each item you buy.

This might take some practice to make sure you get everything you need while having enough reusable packaging with you. But after a few visits, it should be second nature.

  1. Reduce Takeaways

We mostly swapped our coffee cups to keep cups or green swap cups but Imagine all the food containers used, from plastics to foam, used for takeaway and home delivery. Make sure your local cafe or restaurant uses paper and cardboard packs instead, or just cook yourself - probably a healthy and definitely less expensive way to eat!

In Conclusion

If you are trying to start living an eco-friendly lifestyle, take it one step at a time. Every piece of waste you avoid producing is another one that does not go to the landfill. So try to be more mindful with the things you buy or let into your home.

The next big step is to manage waste responsibly. And that’s where we come in. Fast Eddys provide Residential and Commercial Rubbish Removal in Sydney. So if you need to have your garden waste or old furniture and junk collected, we’ve got you covered. Click on this link to get a free quotation for your next Rubbish Removal job.

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