Waste is everywhere in our society. The more waste we produce, the more of the earth’s resources are depleted and the environment polluted.
Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.
Practicing a literal “Zero Waste” life is not currently possible. All of us leave behind some kind of mark. The aim here is waste reduction and with just a few simple swaps this can be easily achieved.
We will share information and ideas to help you get started or progress your journey of waste reduction and show you that reducing waste can be simple, satisfying and fun.
Hooray! You have made it here. Welcome!
If there is one place we recommend you start, it’s with an open mind. Be kind to yourself and others. Set small simple goals.
Start by picking one single use plastic item in your life and swapping it for something reusable. From shopping bags, bread bags, coffee cups and cutlery to menstrual products and nappies, you will be surprised how many reusable options are available. Once you’ve mastered one swap, try another.
Now you’re well on your way. Before you know it you’ll be dancing through the front door on bin night because you don’t need to drag yours out!
Being prepared helps with the zero waste challenge. Making a list before you head to the shops can prevent impulse buying and over purchasing. You can bring your own reusable shopping bags, coffee cup, drink bottle and cutlery. Taking your own containers to the deli, fruitier and bulk food store is also a great way to reduce waste.
What we buy is also important. You can help reduce the impact of what you buy and consume by considering the following:
- Prior to purchasing anything, ask yourself the question ‘Do I need it?’ If the answer is ‘no’, don’t buy it. If the answer is ‘yes’ move on to step 2.
- Can you alleviate this need by repairing an existing item?
- Can you borrow/loan the item or buy it second hand?
- Is there a package free option?
- If you can’t get it package free, can and would you reuse the packaging?
- If you can’t get it package free, is the packaging minimal and made from recycled materials?
- Can you recycle the packaging or compost it at home at the end of its life?
- Is the product sourced ethically?
- Is there a local option available?
There are some great resources out there to help you on your waste free shopping journey. Here are some links to help you shop ethically and package free:
Plastic Free and Zero Waste Food Shopping
- The Rogue Ginger – Melbourne Directory
- Gippsland Unwrapped – Gippsland Directory
- Yarra City Council – Yarra’s Zero Waste Map
- Reusable Nation – Australia-wide Directory
Fresh fruit and veggies
- Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association – List of accredited farmers markets
Rescued /donated food
- The Inconvenience Store (Lentil as Anything) – Thornbury grocery store stocked with rescued/ donated food
- Bring Me Home app – App to buy and pick up discounted surplus food from nearby cafes, restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores / supermarkets
- Share Waste app – Find somewhere to drop off your food scraps or receive free food scraps for you compost, worm farm or chooks
- Local council food waste collection – Many local councils offer this service now
BYO container for food and beverages
- BYO Containers
- BYO Container friendly butchers, delicatessens, fishmongers & poulterers
- Business information (including what the law says about accepting a customer’s reusable container, tips on safety)
- Tips for customers
- Trashless Takeaway – BYO container friendly cafes and restaurants
- Responsible Cafes – Cafes that encourage BYO coffee cup (and offer a discount)
Pre-loved/ second hand goods
- Online forums to find second hand items
- Buy Swap Sell (Facebook)
- Ziilch (free stuff)
- OpShop.org – Op Shop store locator
- Green Collect – Stationery, office furniture and more
- Monash Uni Reuse Centre – Second hand office furniture
- Reverse Art Truck / Reverse Garbage – Rejects, seconds and factory offcuts for DIY, craft and schools
- Local council waste and recycling transfer station reuse shops, aka ‘tip shops’
Our Facebook group is a fantastic resource: Zero Waste Victoria (Australia) FB.
We are also very lucky to have some extraordinarily inspirational Zero Waste bloggers right here in Victoria (Australia). So rather than reinvent the wheel the following are the links to their sites:
Books to borrow:
- Waste Not: Make a Big Difference by Throwing Away Less – Erin Rhoads (VIC)
- A Family Guide to Waste-free Living – Lauren and Oberon Carter (TAS)
- Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste – Bea Johnson
- Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too – Beth Terry
- A Zero Waste Life: In Thirty Days – Anita Vandyke
- Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash – Shia Su
- 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste – Kathryn Kellogg