Don’t you just love the possibilities of the New Year!
“This is the year that I will…”
No matter what comes next, the excitement of new journeys to be taken or new skills to be learned are what makes life fun! If you are thinking of going waste less or up-ing your waste-free game then maybe consider these ideas for Summer:
Switching out disposable water bottles for reusable. It is a small change that will save you money in the long run, plus if you get an insulated option like those we have at WP then you will always have a cool drink handy on those hot days of Summer.
Take package-free snacks and goodies to your picnic so there is no litter left over.
Make your own icy poles, iced coffee, and iced tea – you can control the sugar content and reduce waste.
If you are getting into smoothies, get your additions like cacao, mesquite powder, maca powder, bee pollen, spinach or spirulina powder, and protein powders in the quantity you choose rather than packets. That way you won’t have bits taking up space come winter.
Make your own salad dressings! A few herbs, vinegar, and quality oil mixed together is the base of most and you can suit to taste will minimal experimenting.
Summer is a great time to relax, get outdoors in nature, and appreciate this wonderful place we call home. Your action to help keep it beautiful makes it that much more enjoyable too.
It’s a New Year and another opportunity to get cracking on reducing your waste. I love the enthusiasm that is generated from the calendar ticking over to January 1st, and all the new habits and resolutions that are inspired!
Step 1: Bin Audit
Starting with some ideas about what goes into your bin is the best first step. So as gross as it sounds, you are going to need to pay attention to what is going into your bin. If it’s a shared bin then it gets trickier and so picking a not too hot day/week to pull it all out on a tarp or the lawn is a confronting and informative way to find out exactly what has been hiding in there.
Group all the bits and bobs into as many categories as is useful to you:
Landfill – stuff that has no other place to go like disposable nappies and random little bits of plastic.
Compostable – think food waste, tissues, paper towels, hair from your hairbrush and dust out of the vacuum.
Recyclable – all the things that go in your yellow top bin.
Specialist recyclable – things like batteries, ink cartridges, toothbrushes, globes, spectacles, razors, mobile phones, e-waste and paint.
Step 2: Collection Bins
Now that you have figured out what you are dealing with, it’s time to make sure that you have all your collection bins sorted. Maybe you have only had a landfill bin in the house and so that is where everything has been going. Or maybe you figured out that you don’t actually know what goes in your yellow top recycling bin. Perhaps, your compost bin wasn’t cutting it as it was too big or too small and so nobody wanted to use it. Whatever you learnt, what is your solution?
In our house, we have a landfill bin, compost bucket and recycling bin in the Kitchen, Bathroom and Study/Office. We have a little battery collection bin in the draw with the new batteries. I pop bread tags, ink cartridges, used pens and toothbrushes into the shopping bag I take to Wasteless Pantry so that I can remember to drop them off each week. I put globes in my car for dropping off at the Sports Centre I go to. We have a box in the shed to collect any e-waste as that only gets dropped off about once a year.
Think about putting all the information about what goes in each Collection Bin on it so that everyone can make good choices. And make sure to let the whole household know where they all are!
Step 3: Use What You Have
At this point, you might be rearing to go get all the cool zero waste gear so that you can tick the box of feeling wasteless. Hold your horses!
We would love you to instead use up all the products and food you have first before you think about getting anything new. With the exception of expired products and food which needs to be disposed of, it is usually best to just swap things out as you finish them up. Good reasons for this are that:
More gradual change is usually easier to keep up long term
So instead of going out and getting new containers, reuse jars and takeaway containers. Instead of getting shampoo bars, use up the last of all your shampoo samples and leftovers first. Instead of buying a fancy BYO coffee cup, take one from home. And yes, we want you to use up all the food in packets in your pantry, fridge and freezer too.
Anything that has passed it’s used by date could be a risk to your safety, but anything past it’s best before you can use your common sense as most likely it is just not quite as flavoursome and delicious as it was before.
Step 4: Gently Make a Change
Find one thing at a time to change.
Pick one area you’d like to wasteless and just start there.
When that is easy and hard for you not to do, then do the next thing.
If you’re looking for an easy but yummy dish to bring to a lunch or dinner with friends, you should try pasta salad with homemade dressing made from WP ingredients!
– 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
– 1 tsp of garlic granules
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1/2 tsp ground mustard seeds
– 1/4 tsp salt & pepper
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 1 tsp dried basil
* you can use mixed herbs instead of the other individual herbs
Put all the ingredients into a container with a leak-proof lid. Shake well until combined and pour over salad!! In the pasta salad, we used spiral pasta, cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, capsicum, red onion, beetroot, grated zucchini and salami.
Iced Tea is simple to make and makes a refreshing, lower sugar beverage option for warmer days.
3 cups of water with 3 teaspoons of loose jasmine green tea and 1 teaspoon of peppermint tea (both from WP) brewed in a pot then strained into a jug with 1 cup sugar (adjust to taste), 5 cups cold water and 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with mint leaves and lemon wedges.