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Have you been watching the War on Waste on ABC TV?It’s a three part series hosted by The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel that shines a light on the shocking amount of waste Australians generate each year, and then looks at ways we can all do a little better.
  • One of the great things about it is the simple hints, tips and solutions offered, and the message that as individuals and communities, we can all reduce our waste and help make an impact.

    In the first episode, the program looked at the staggering amount of food waste that ends up in landfill each year and the effect this has on the environment. This week the focus is on plastic waste, which ends up in our oceans and is then ingested by marine life, killing hundreds of thousands of animals each year.

    Reducing waste is an issue we are passionate about, and it’s why we are so proud to be Australia’s leaders in zero waste shopping. Our stores always have been, and always will be, plastic bag free. We encourage our customers to bring their own containers, bags and bottles to refill and we offer waste-free living solutions that eliminate the need for plastic, such as stainless steel water bottlesstainless steel lunchboxes and reusable cotton produce bags.

  • Here are some ways you can join the War on Waste and be part of the Zero Waste Revolution:

     

    • Buy just what you need. The average family throws away $3500 worth of food each year. Save money and reduce your food waste by planning your weekly shop and shopping at bulk food shops like The Source where you can buy the exact quantity you need.
    • Compost your food scraps. Much of the waste that goes into our bins is food. When food waste goes to landfill, it generates methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times worse than carbon dioxide. Compost your food scraps or start a worm farm. It saves food from going to landfill, and creates rich organic matter that does wonders for your garden.
    • Don’t put your fruit and veggies in plastic. How many times have you seen someone put one apple in a plastic bag and take it to the checkout? You don’t need to put bigger items in bags at all – they’re perfectly fine loose in your trolley. For smaller stuff like beans, or if you like to keep produce separate, invest in some reusable cloth produce bags. The Ecology Centre has some great tips on how to store your produce without plastic bags once you get it home.
    • Refuse to buy food wrapped in plastic. We’ve all seen the single avocado wrapped in plastic sitting on a styrofoam tray. How do we stop supermarkets from doing this? Simple – don’t buy it. Our dollar is one of the most powerful weapons we have. If we don’t buy it, they won’t make it.
    • Shop at farmers markets and independent butchers, bakers and fruit and veggie stores. Unlike the big supermarkets, farmers markets don’t place restrictions on the size or appearance of fruit and veggies, so you’ll sometimes find some wonderfully wonky looking (but still great tasting) stuff. Farmers supplying to supermarkets are often forced to throw this produce away, creating a huge amount of waste. Shopping at farmers markets also helps you avoid packaging as most stalls provide bowls to weigh your fruit and veg rather than bags, and bread comes in a paper bag or can go straight into your cloth bread bag. Find your nearest farmers market here.
      • Refuse straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics like spoons and forks. Carry reusable utensils in your handbag or car. Reduce everyday plastics such as plastic wrap, sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/boxreusable water bottleand reusable cotton/beeswax food wrap.
      • Be an advocate for change in your community. Form action groups and put pressure on local supermarkets and other businesses to eliminate plastic bags and excess packaging. Follow the lead of the residents of the NSW town of Bundanoon who in 2009, banned bottled water from their town.
      • Join The Project’s Ban the Bag Campaign. The Project recently reported that Australians use between four and six billion plastic bags annually. Yet, on average, a single plastic bag is used for a mere 12 minutes before being discarded. Join the fight to ban plastic bagsby signing the petition.

The War on Waste is a real wake-up call for us all and a reminder that the time to make change is now. If you care about the health of our planet and the environment you need to get involved, be heard and take responsibility. Small changes we make as individuals or communities add up to a big impact.

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