Tips for waste minimisation
Changing one thing at a time is a great way to reduce your daily waste. You may even find you need to buy fewer rubbish bags as well! Here are some simple ideas that make a difference. Start with one and see how you go.
The most powerful thing we can do is start to rethink how we deal with our rubbish and waste.
- Think back to how your Granny did things, or how things were done when you were younger. We all had clean hands just using soap, without a plastic push dispenser, maybe a step back in time, is a step forward for waste minimisation?
- Support local business who are environmentally aware and make an effort to reduce waste.
- Share with businesses what you would like to see them sell, do or not do anymore.
- Pause before you buy something, and consider these questions:
How long will it be in my life for?
Is there a waste free alternative?
What is it made of? Can I recycle it?
What happens to it at the end of its life?
What packaging does it come in?
Do I really need it?
Could I borrow or rent one?
Look at different ways to refuse waste and put a stop to the problem before it starts.
- Keep your letterbox free of junk mail by putting a No Ad Mail sticker up. You can get these stickers for free at all Council offices and libraries. You can also sign up for an electronic mail box with Ecomailbox. That way you'll still get all your favourite catalogues, but without the need for all that extra paper.
- Just say no thanks to single-use plastic bags when you are doing your shopping. Take a reusable bag with you instead.
- Sip don't suck. While straws may be handy the plastic they are made out of is not biodegradable. Next time you are out, don't take a straw!
- We’re all on board with bringing our reusable shopping bags when doing the weekly shop. The next step is getting a couple of reusable produce bags.
- Grab what you need in the handy lightweight produce bags, instead of another single-use plastic bag.
Here are some good ways to reduce the amount of rubbish you personally generate.
- See is there are simple swaps you can do. Swap single use plastic cling film, for a reusable beeswax wrap.
- Bring Your Own Container! It’s totally fine to bring your own container for sushi and other takeaway options. Start the conversation first, and see how you go. All supermarkets are also allowing BYOC for the deli and all our local butchers are also keen to fill your own container!
- Shop wisely by choosing products that have less packaging. Or buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you take home with you.
- Buy one good quality lifelong item instead of ten cheaper - but not long lasting - options. For example, a classic coat that will last many seasons.
- Invest in reuseable options, for example, a sodastream can get rid of soft drink cans and bottles.
Recharge the soil
Green garden waste and food waste can recharge the soil and is the biggest part of what people throw away each week in Waipā.
Read more: Food and garden waste
Refilling your empty containers and jars can be a great way to cut down on waste. You can use the same container over and over again before eventually recycle it. There are lots of products that can be refilled, ask at your favourite shop and see!
Throw a kids party with zero waste
Raising her two young kids, Nicola from Mainstream Green has been to plenty of kids parties. Check out this video to hear her ideas on how to reduce the environmental impact of your next celebration.
- Consider going virtual
- Recycle things you already have - kids artwork is a great option
- Go old school and phone your guests!
- Consider experiences, homemade, pre-loved, or things that can be eaten
- For wrapping, use the Japanese art of furoshiki (fabric wrapping) or recycle what you have
- Keep a list of things your kids need for when people ask for ideas
- Avoid over-catering - or have a plan to use, freeze or share leftovers
- Go for packaging-free food options
- Compost any food waste
- Go for reuseables
- Use what you have, hire, or source secondhand
- Have a party collection to share amongst friends
- Go for reuseables like fabric bunting
- Use things found in nature - flowers, leaves, branches
- Use a hole punch and dried leaves for confetti
- Upcycle what you have or source decorations secondhand
- Choose games that don't require any 'stuff', or try upcycling or reuseables
- For example, 'pass the parcel' wrapping paper can be replaced with scarves
- If you have prizes, keep them simple - follow the gift ideas above
- If you do choose to have goodie bags, here's a few ideas to reduce waste:
- A piece of birthday cake, a plant or seeds, something homemade, a personalised story or poem for the guest, something reuseable like a beeswax wrap...
- First name
- Last name
- Cell phone
- Date you want to pick kit up
- Date you will return the kit to Te Awamutu
- Where is the event being held?