Zero Waste?

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.

 

WHERE TO START

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!

 

HOW TO SHOP

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Can you alleviate this need by repairing an existing item?
  3. Can you borrow/loan the item or buy it second hand?
  4. Is there a package free option?
  5. If you can’t get it package free, can and would you reuse the packaging?
  6. If you can’t get it package free, is the packaging minimal and made from recycled materials?
  7. Can you recycle the packaging or compost it at home at the end of its life?
  8. Is the product sourced ethically?
  9. 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

Fresh fruit and veggies

Rescued /donated food

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 Stores

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:

 

RESOURCES

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