The aim of this site is to provide specific information to help people who are beginning their journey of waste reduction.
So what is waste? It’s not just what goes into the rubbish bin. Waste is produced any time we underutilise a resource, or if we use something that can’t be replenished.
Waste is everywhere in our society. Almost everything we buy has a waste component to it. 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 (1).
Practicing a literal “Zero Waste” life is not 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 show 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 swap it for something reusable. This might include swapping out plastic shopping bags for reusable, eliminating plastic produce bags or refusing bread bags, straws, coffee pods, disposable coffee cups, etc… Take your own containers to the deli, the fruitier and the bulk food store. Buy fresh and avoid supermarkets. Now you’re well on your way!
Before you know it you’ll only be dancing through the front door on bin night because you don’t need to drag yours out! Yea!
It might seem you can’t avoid it, waste is everywhere. But there are many simple things that can be done to reduce waste. Being prepared helps with the challenge. Making lists when you shop can prevent impulse buying and over purchasing. Bring your own reusable shopping bags, produce bags and containers for food shopping and a reusable coffee cup, drink bottle and cutlery for takeaway food and beverages.
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
BYO container for food and beverages
- BYO Containers – BYO Container friendly butchers, delicatessens, fishmongers & poulterers. It includes business information (including what the law says about accepting a customer’s reusable container, tips on safety) as well as 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 groups and marketplaces to find second hand items
- Buy Swap Sell (Facebook)
- Ziilch (free stuff)
- 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, schools
- Local council waste and recycling transfer station reuse shops aka ‘tip shops’
- Planet Angel – Support a young local ecoprenur Sarina Hausler
- Flora & Fauna
- AusPen – refillable whiteboard markers
Perhaps there’s a better way than buying the latest gismo? Here are some links to places that will help you repair items, loan them and be part of the sharing economy so that you don’t have to buy or own them at all:
- Share Waste app – Find somewhere to drop off your compost or offer your composting space and get free garden fertiliser.
- Repair Cafes – Volunteer run repair services for a range of items from clothing to electronics and more.
- Brunswick Tool Library – A range of tools including hand tools, power tools, garden tools, ladders for use on your own projects.
- Carlton Kitchen Library– Newly opened space to borrow kitchen and cooking utensils and books for home, events and more.
- Sharing Shed – Melbourne – A library of things
- Bayside Party
- Search for library via your local council
- Find a Street Library
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