Specialist Recycling: Mobile Phones

Join the Go for Zero campaign!

Australians are holding onto a staggering 4.2 million old phones that are broken and no longer working. They represent a stockpile of valuable materials and metals that can be reclaimed through recycling.

We mine precious metals at an enormous cost and they are an essential part of electronics. However, these supplies won’t last forever which means recovering what we can from our old devices is critical. If we recycle those 4.2 million broken mobiles, we can prevent over 8,000 tonnes of mineral resources from being mined, with saved carbon emissions equivalent to planting 42,000 trees.

So, this month we are asking everyone to join MobileMuster’s nationwide challenge to Go for Zero. All you need to do is look in the bottom drawer, search the study or even sort out the garage. Simply find those old mobile phones and accessories and recycle them via your local Australia Post outlet or your local WP store!

Want to know what else you can recycle through WP?

Check out our Specialist Recycling page!


Specialist Recycling: Bread Tags

Have you been collecting your BREAD TAGS for recycling?

Too small to be recycled via curbside collection, these can be brought into your local WP store to be sent to Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs. The tags are recycled locally, raising funds to buy wheelchairs for disadvantaged people, mainly in South Africa.

Bread tags are recycled in Robe, South Australia, by Transmutation, run by Brad and Narelle Scott. Transmutation runs a craft plastic recycling operation and retail shop, selling their own products, as well as other products supplied by Australian artisans that share their vision to recycle, reuse and reduce landfill. Transmutation takes monthly shipments of bread tags from us, recycling the tags to make bowls, boards, and pens. These products can be purchased online, from their shop in Robe. Whiteboards and bowls are available from Country Road.

Note: This is just for plastic tags. Cardboard tags can be composted at home or via the green bin, or placed in the yellow bin inside a used envelope to stop them from falling through the rollers. Or make good use of them to mulch a plant!

Want a better option?

Take a reusable bread bag to your local bakery and have them slice a loaf straight into your bag. Can be kept for 3 days fresh or 7 days in the freezer with good results.

Want to know what else you can recycle through WP?

Check out our Specialist Recycling page!


Specialist Recycling: Dental Products

Did you know that you can recycle your old DENTAL/ORAL CARE PRODUCTS at WP?

So until you switch to bamboo toothbrushes and refillable tooth powders or pastes you can still make a little switch to reduce your waste!

✅ Program accepted waste: Toothpaste tubes and caps, manual toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads, toothpaste tube plastic packaging, and floss containers.

❌ Not accepted: Please recycle your cardboard packaging in your kerbside recycling bin. Electronic toothbrush handles and bases are not recyclable through this program.

Once collected what happens? The tubes and brushes are separated by composition, shredded, and melted into plastic pellets that can be remolded to make new recycled products via Terracycle.

Want to know what else you can recycle through WP?

Check out our Specialist Recycling page!


Specialist Recycling: Household Batteries

Are you collecting your HOUSEHOLD BATTERIES for recycling via WP? 🔋

Household batteries are dry cell batteries used in many gadgets around the home, such as radios, cameras, and children’s toys. They include AA, AAA, C, D, button batteries, 9V and 6V batteries.

It is estimated that WA throws away over 18 million household batteries to landfill every year! When batteries are sent to landfill, their casings disintegrate and metals and chemicals used within the battery can leach into the surrounding environment.

Once collected what happens?

The recycling process is able to separate the steel, copper, and aluminum as well as create a mixed metal compound. Rechargeable batteries (also known as secondary batteries) can also go into the household battery recycling bins. These will be separated from the alkaline (also known as single-use) batteries and sent either to France or Singapore for recycling. Australia does not currently have a facility for recycling rechargeable batteries. The different components are then able to be reclaimed for use in new products. ♻️

Want to know what else we can help you recycle?

Check out our Specialist Recycling page.

Want a better option?

Consider investing in rechargeable batteries, solar-powered and wind-up gadgets instead!


Specialist Recycling: Disposable Razors

Have you recycled your DISPOSABLE RAZORS through us yet?

The program accepted waste: Any brand of used razor blades and their packaging, including:

🪒 All brands of blades and razors (refillable and disposable products, and replaceable-blade cartridge units)

🪒 Rigid plastic packaging

🪒 Flexible plastic packaging

Please note: cardboard and paper packaging is recyclable through regular yellow top kerbside recycling. Please do not include these in your collections for this program.

Once collected what happens to it?

The razor blades and their packaging are broken down and separated by the material through Terracycle. Plastics are cleaned and pelletised to be recycled into new products, and metal materials are sent for smelting and conversion to new alloys.

Want a better option?

Instead of disposable why don’t you check out our Reusable Razors in-store or online.

Another option is to buy an electric razor or epilator for your hair removal needs as these can be reused for many years before being recycled as e-waste.

Want to know what else you can recycle through WP?

Check out our Specialist Recycling page!


Zero Waste Summer Living

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.


What the Wooroloo Bushfires Taught Me

I live in the Perth Hills and have done so for well over 20 years. Bushfire preparedness has always been something that we were supposed to get to. Every year we maintain the fire breaks and clean out the gutters and up until a several years ago, that was pretty much it. When the Parkerville fires came through 7 or so years ago we evacuated for a day or two with our small children and pets and that was about it. It wasn’t even that close to our home but we could see the smoke and didn’t want to risk it.

Just 2 weeks ago the Wooroloo fires came through on the other side of us and we could see the glow through the trees that first night. With the wind whipping around, we packed up again and headed out.

We were very lucky. Many were not.

The Lessons

Prepare.

Bushfires have always been a reality but they are becoming more frequent and more intense with climate change. Fortunately, we watched Big Weather on ABC iview late last year and that really gave us the motivation to get our preparations in order. We now have an emergency pack with all the essentials and the really important bits that lives permanently packed in a central location in our home. If we were home, it would take us only a minute to grab and go. If we weren’t home, it would be easy for our neighbour to grab it for us.

We also have a written plan and have discussed when to go and where to go if bushfire comes through. Our kids know what we will take and what we will leave behind should we need to evacuate.

We are continuing to do what we can about reducing the fuel load in our gardens, and make it as easy as possible for our home to be defended against fire.

Given how close the fires came to the suburbs this year, it doesn’t matter where you live, it is worth knowing your plan. It is quick to do and then you have peace of mind when a crisis occurs. Check out for https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au/ more details.

Address.

Whilst we have to prepare for the likelihood of ongoing fire threats, we can also be doing whatever we can to tackle climate change. There are actions we can take that can slow down and start to reverse the trends.

For starters, reduce your waste.

The less waste we create that has to be landfilled, converted to energy or recycled, the less burden there is on the earth. The less stuff that has to be produced new the better. Instead, go secondhand, borrow, share, repair and look for better alternatives. Use up your stuff or find someone else who will give it a meaningful use. Eat all your food or feed it to the chickens or worms. Avoid your bins wherever you can.

Then help rehabilitate through things like tree planting and clean-ups.

During February 2021, Wasteless Pantry is helping to do that by fundraising for Carbon Positive Australia’s good works! Carbon Positive Australia uses the funds raised through donations and carbon offsets to plant native trees on degraded land in Australia. Over almost two decades they have planted 5,992,261 trees, restored 4,757 hectares of land and captured 632,681 tonnes of carbon. Impressive huh?!

The recent bushfires have reinforced just how important it is for us to do what we can to slow down and even reverse climate change. More trees and less waste will help!

So this February help us with our fundraising! All you need to do is make a purchase over $25 at your local WP store during February to qualify for a $1 donation. So, come refill your jars and do even more good.

Connect.

The last big lesson for me was the amazing support from our community. There were so many offers of help and others just reaching out to make sure we were okay. In speaking with others that were affected, the overwhelming message was that in times like these people do band together and make it work. They lean on each other and offer what they can.

Please get to know your neighbours, be empathetic when someone is having a bad day, and just smile at people when you are walking by. These little gestures cost nothing but mean the world some days.


‘Go Wasteless’ Starter Guide

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.

Make it easy to collect your specialist recycling!

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:

  • Saves money
  • Prevents waste
  • Reduces clutter
  • 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.

Slow and steady, you’ll get there!


Food Bank: Making the best of Food Waste

Last week, Jeannie was given the opportunity to tour Foodbank for a behind-the-scenes peek at the amazing facilities and the team hard at work. She even got to enjoy a lunch prepared in the kitchens from rescued food.

That’s Jeannie on the far right!

Most of us know that we have a big problem with food waste in Australia. But did you know that over 300,000 people in WA live below the poverty line and struggle to access regular nutritious food? And thanks to Covid19, many people are now experiencing food insecurity for the first time.

Such a mammoth effort being made every day

Foodbank is an organisation that tackles both these issues, rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste, often on a huge scale and turning it into delicious, nutritious meals for those who need it most. And on top of all that, they now package the meals in compostable packaging!!

In the 25 years since its inception, the organisation has saved 50 million kilograms of food from landfill and provided 100 million meals.

You can read more about it here https://www.foodbank.org.au/?state=wa

Maybe you’d like to consider making a less fortunate persons Christmas a little bit brighter this year, with a donation to Foodbank’s Uncancel Christmas appeal?https://www.foodbank.org.au/WA/uncancel-christmas/?state=wa


Travel Waste Free

These are all my favourite things to pack when I’m travelling 🌴🏖️👙

  • Insulated water bottle: great for keeping water super cool and hot beverages, well, hot! I find that having this is means I don’t need a separate reusable coffee cup, so I can travel light. If you have more room in your bag then you could easily take both.
  • Cutlery set: I’ve been caught out without it and regretted not having it. Either I end up feeling bad for using plastic single-use cutlery or I don’t get to enjoy my meal fully by eating with my hands. This way I always feel good chowing down.
  • Reusable container: I love having a 2 tier variety since I can separate out meals or tailor to the quantity of leftovers I have better. Plus, I can also use it to store small items in my bag between destinations so they are easy to find on arrival.
  • Handkerchief: Multipurpose goodness! Use it as a tissue, napkin, wet wipe, flannel, sweatband on your wrist, wrap for your sandwich, tie for a water bottle to your belt for hands-free hydration, and more. As they are so lightweight easily handwash in a sink at the end of the day and it will be dry by morning to go again.
  • Shampoo bar, conditioner bar and stain remover bar in a travel tin: Shampoo bars double as body wash, conditioner bars double as body lotion and stain remover bars triple as laundry, dishwashing and handwashing products. The travel tin isn’t airtight which means that my bars can dry out a little even in transit.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Taking my own bamboo toothbrush and refilled toothpaste means that I can give the hotel samples a miss.
  • Refillable deodorant: I love my natural deodorant and my own little sprayer is just the right size. So handy to be able to access liquid or paste varieties at WP now.
  • Lip balm refillable tin: My handy little tin fits plenty of lip saving wonder, this one is tinted to give me a little colour and I know that the ingredients are just right for me.
  • Moisturiser: I want to look after my skin for the happy snaps so refilling my container before I travel is a must.
  • Bamboo comb: It’s lightweight, it does the job and it is a great shape to pack easily into my bag.
  • Plastic-free hair tie: I’d be lost without a hair tie and if I do lose one then I want to be sure that it will biodegrade back into the earth rather than sticking around forever harassing wildlife.
  • Reusable bags: Having a stash of cloth and mesh produce bags plus at least one shopping bag that folds down to practically nothing means that I can avoid ever taking a plastic single-use bag. Cloth produce bags are great for buying bread, rolls and sandwiches. Mesh produce bags are great for fresh fruits and vegetables, bulk foods, as well as keeping your small laundry items together at the end of your trip. Shopping bags also double as a handbag for takeaway meals or laundry bags or any time you want your hands free.

What about you? What is your must-haves for zero waste travelling?