Category Archives: Waste Management for Households

Live Sustainably Everyday- Make Everyday an Environment Day

World Environment Day is just around the corner. While different organisations, educational institutions and community groups are undertaking various activities to mark this day, why don’t we take this as an opportunity to reflect upon our own lifestyles and see the impact of our actions to the environment as well as our well-being.

Waste is one of the biggest problems the world is facing at the moment and there has never been a better time to think and rethink about our consumption pattern and disposal
behaviour. According to the World Bank’s report What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management ,globally we are producing1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste every year and are expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025. Similarly according to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US$1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems.

Australians are the second biggest producer of waste and needless to say hundreds of tonnes of waste are dumped into landfill sites every year. In addition, most people these days think that landfill is the ultimate destination for most of the waste we produce, where as it should only be taken as a last resort.

The modern lifestyle and technological advancement is leading to not only increase in volume of waste we produce but also producing different composition of waste which is making the waste issue more big and challenging than ever. Disposal of different types of waste ranging from green waste, hazardous waste, e- waste and other household waste in the landfill is not only taking up bigger chunk of our valuable land which could have alternatively been used for other productive causes, but it is also causing severe and irreversible impacts in the environment, socio-economy and health. Wastes dumped in the landfill accounts for air pollution, water pollution and land quality at the same time methane gas produced during the decomposition of organic waste is one of the potent green house gas which is 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

If we really want to make our impact in reducing the waste or managing it, we need to reduce the production of waste at source. One of the successful and practical mantra that we have been hearing and to some extent practicing is 3 R Principle- Reduce Reuse and Re cycle.

Reduce mean avoiding the production of waste at source. Avoid the things that we can do without. Reuse is about using items over and over for a longer period.
Recycling is re-processing the item into a new raw material so that
it can be used in a new product–for example grinding up plastic bottles to make fibre. While recycling is helping us in a great way by keeping our waste from going to landfill; a huge quantity of waste could be reduced and reused before it goes to recycling.

What are the benefits of reducing and reusing waste?

1. Keeps materials out of landfill.
2. Helps to preserve the “embodied energy” that was originally used to manufacture
an item.
3. Reduces the pressure on raw material, energy and water.
4. Creates less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling one.
5. Reduces overall production of waste.
6. Reuse often creates an affordability of goods that are often of better quality .

So what can we do to reduce waste going to landfill?

Here are 10 different ways that will help to reduce and reuse waste:
1. Change consumption pattern: Ask your self do you need or want that product. Only buy what you need
2. Buy quality products what would last long
3. Burrow thing from neighbours, friends and family
4. Rent it rather than buying if you are using for a short term
5. Covert your food waste into rich fertiliser though composting or wormfarming
6. Donate your unwanted items to charity organisation or give away to your friend and family
7. Buy and sell second-hand at flea markets and garage sales.
8. Maintain your goods, it will last longer
9. Repair the items such as electronics or furniture
10.Upcycle the items you don’t want and expand the life of your preloved goods

These simple actions can easily be incorporated in our everyday life at a no or vey low cost. All we need is a little bit of passion and commitment to change ourselves and create change. Every single action multiplied by thousands will certainly make a difference. So why don’t we start from ourselves and from today. And make every day an environment day.

A very happy environment day 2016 to all of you!

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Happy International Composting Awareness Week 2016!

Half of the waste we put in our rubbish bin consists of food or garden waste. These organic waste get dumped into landfill where they decompose in the absence of oxygen producing potent greenhouse gas such as methane. The leachate produced by these organic waste also results in depletion of ground water quality.   By composting our food scraps we are not only diverting the huge amount of waste going to the landfill but also reducing carbon pollution.

Composting is a natural process by which the organic waste get decomposed into nutrition rich compost by the action of bacteria. In order to work effectively, composting requires the right blend of air, moisture and carbon & nitrogen balanced materials. Little bit of extra TLC (Tender. Love and Care) will work wonders.

Alternatively we can also get our food waste converted into the top quality compost by through worm farming. Worms munch on organic waste and produce casting which are high quality compost . Worm farming is the best way to manage organic waste within the small space and with no smell.

Here is a simple and easy step by step guide on worm farming and composting:

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Happy composting and do share your experiences 🙂

 

 

11 great ideas to have eco-friendly Christmas

Festivals always come with lots of enthusiasm and excitements and Christmas is no exception.  In an attempt to make it fun and joyous we indulge ourselves in lots of activities including exchanging gifts, cooking lots of food, visiting friends and families etc. to name few. These activities if not planned properly can result in possession lot lots of unnecessary stuff as well as money being wasted.  There are many ways to celebrate this festive season in a limited budget while also reducing the environmental impact of our actions. Here are 11 simple ways to celebrate Christmas in an eco-friendly manner while still maintaining its elegance and style.

1. Buy the right product

1want vs need

Every time we have some celebration, we want to buy new things for our home, ourselves or our families, whether we need them or not. Plan and make a list of items you want to buy so that the important things don’t get missed out. Identify if you just want those things or you really need them. Focus on the items that you need most. In this way you would be able to better manage your budget too. Stick to the list and do not let yourself get carried away with the items on sale or cheaply priced. Avoid  buying anything that you don’t need in order to prevent them from getting wasted and ultimately being dumped to the landfill site.

2. Buy less

2 buy less   2. buy less

Once the list of items you really need is ready, try to stick to it. Do not overbuy. Again don’t get tempted to buy the things that are on sale or cheaply priced. The best idea is to quickly scan through your pantry, wardrobe, garage or store room so that you don’t end up buying too much or buy something that you already have. If you already have similar items that could replace the ones you want to buy, consider using them. For instance make your own Christmas tree, use alternatives for wrapping paper, bake your own cake, make your own greeting card etc.

3. Create less waste

3. create less waste 2    3. create less waste

Try to create less waste where possible. Avoid buying thing with too much packaging, don’t buy or cook too much, don’t buy the things that you won’t use. If you get something as a gift that you don’t use, donate it to local charity shop or consider giving it to someone who might use it. Avoid buying disposable or one time use  items, its worth investing in things that that could be used multiple times. If you have a real Christmas tree this season, ensure that it is not put to waste. You can replant it in your garden or take it to nearby recycling centre, instead of putting it out for landfill. If you choose to use an artificial tree, you can reuse it again next year, sell it, or give it to your local charity.

4. Don’t throw away, Donate

3. Donate a    3. Donate b

Christmas is all about giving. If you are planning to clean your house this Christmas, instead of throwing them away, donate them to local charity shops. Pull out your old clothes, crockery, toys, books etc  that you don’t use any more, as  this is the perfect time to donate so that those who need get the pleasure to use them.  This will not only help people in need them but also help declutter  your home and save valuable resources from going to the landfill.

5. Reuse and recycle

4. reuse and recycle

Try to buy things that could be used multiple times. Avoid buying single use disposable plastic plates, glass and spoons. Choose to buy reusable ones or buy eco- friendly products that could be decomposed or recycled.

Recycle the items that could be recycled. Pet bottles, cardboard, paper, glass containers, cans etc could be recycled. Collect them separately and put them in the recycling bin so that these valuable resources could be used to make new products

6. Compost

5. compost

Food  waste constitute the huge part of our waste. During festivals we tend to cook or buy more food which will result in more food waste.  Use your food waste to feed the worms in your worm farm or put them in your compost bin.

7 .Shop locally

6. shop locally   6.. shop locally b

Shop locally to promote local business and support your community. Buying locally made products also create local employment which will help enhance economical status of the community. Local shops sell a wide range of products at affordable prices at the same time they have less ecological footprint.

8. Give the gift of experience

7. gift of experience

Where possible choose to give your loved ones an experience rather than material item. Materials either gets consumed or stay in the house or end up as the waste where as experience last for lifetime. Pass to museum, aquarium zoo, rock climbing, spa, beauty care, movie ticket etc counts more than the material gifts.

9. Save energy and  water

8. save energy and water

It would be wise to be mindful while using water and energy as you would be using it more frequently during the holiday season. Using solar or led powered Christmas light, taking short showers, using dishwasher and washing machines in full loads, minimising use of hot water etc would help save energy and water as well as money.

10. Celebrate with nature

9. celebrate with nature

Celebrate the Christmas close to the nature. organise bush walking, barbeque in the park (national park) or play outdoors. This will help family and friends bond with each other while children will enjoy  to be with nature.

11. Be creative, don’t just spend

10. be creative b10. be creative

People always love and admire creative ideas. Come up with creative decoration or gift ideas. This will not only save you heaps but your creativity might  inspire people to do the similar things. For instance, create your own Christmas tree, design your own Christmas table decoration, make your own gift wrapping paper, decorate the home with the items readily available in your garden or store room.

 

 

 

 

 

An inspiring story…”She Hasn’t Made Any Trash In 2 Years. This Is What Her Life Is Like”

What an inspiration she is!! Such a wonderful life she is living and so much to learn from. It is high time that we all start doing what we could on our part to reduce the impact of our actions on the planet earth. I am doing my bit to live a sustainable life and this article serve as a fuel to motivate me to go further. Here is to living best lives we can.

SHE HASN’T MADE ANY TRASH IN 2 YEARS. THIS IS WHAT HER LIFE IS LIKE

November 23, 2014 by Joe Martino.

Lauren

What if you could live without producing any trash? Would you do it? At first you might think this is impossible or very hard, and it may very well be depending on your life situation. But one inspiring girl is not only doing this, but sharing how we can all try doing the same thing as well.

Eliminating Trash
Not long ago we covered a story about a restaurant who hadn’t produced garbage in over 2 years. It was amazing to not only see how possible it was but that they were able to do it and still run their business with success.

But how could we do that on an individual level and could it be done easily without giving up much of what we love and modern amenities? I came across Lauren Singer’s story and was very inspired by what she had to share. She has gone 2 years without producing any garbage and her story isn’t what you’d expect.

The inspiration came from taking Environmental Studies at NYU. She was passionate about protesting against big oil and wanted to do what she could to help impact our environment in a positive way. While at first you might think she’s probably a “hippie” or “treehugger” who doesn’t live a normal life, when you pay attention to her story you not only find that this isn’t the case, but also that given her experience, we could all be doing this too. All it would take is a little discipline and habit changing.

Her passion for the environment was challenged greatly one day when she realized upon opening her fridge that almost every item was wrapped or stored in some sort of disposable package. Here she was, the “green” girl, being, as she called herself, a hypocrite because she was choosing to live her life in a way that wasn’t green or sustainable. So she decided to eliminate plastic from her life.

Below she shares how she went from being an average consumer to eliminating trash from her life. Use this as inspiration and see if you can begin doing the same. She outlines many details of what she did. See if you can implement this in your own life, I myself am going to start putting a plan together to make less of an impact as well.

Her Journey To Zero Waste
“How did I go from zero plastic to zero waste?

First, I stopped buying packaged products and began bringing my own bags and jars to fill with bulk products at the supermarket. I stopped buying new clothing, and shopped only secondhand. I continued making all of my own personal care and cleaning products. I downsized significantly by selling, donating, or giving away superfluous things in my life, such as all but one of my six identical spatulas, 10 pairs of jeans that I hadn’t worn since high school, and a trillion decorative items that had no significance to me at all.

Most importantly, I started planning potentially wasteful situations; I began saying “NO” to things like straws in my cocktails at a bars, to plastic or paper bags at stores, and to receipts.

Of course, this transition didn’t happen overnight.

This process took more than a year and required a lot of effort. The most difficult part was taking a hard look at myself, the environmental studies major, the shining beacon of sustainability, and realizing that I didn’t live in a way that aligned with my values.

I realized that while I sincerely cared about a lot of things, I wasn’t embodying my philosophies. Once I accepted that, I allowed myself to change and since then my life has been better every day. Here are just a few of the ways life has improved since I went trash free:

1. I save money.

I now make a grocery list when I go shopping, which means being prepared and not grabbing expensive items impulsively. Additionally, buying food in bulk means not paying a premium for packaging. When it comes to my wardrobe, I don’t purchase new clothing; I shop secondhand and get my clothes at a heavily discounted price.

2. I eat better.

Since I purchase unpackaged foods, my unhealthy choices are really limited. Instead, I eat a lot of organic fruits and vegetables, bulk whole grains and legumes, as well as a lot of seasonal, local food, since farmers markets offer amazing unpackaged produce.

3. I’m happier.

Before I adopted my zero-waste lifestyle, I would find myself scrambling to the supermarket before it closed, because I didn’t shop properly, ordering in takeout because I didn’t have food, always going to the pharmacy to get this scrub and that cream, and cleaning constantly because I had so much stuff.

Now, my typical week involves one trip to the store to buy all of the ingredients I need. This trip isn’t just for food, but also for cleaning and beauty products, since all of the things I use now can be made with simple, everyday ingredients. Not only is it easier and stress free, it’s healthier (no toxic chemicals!).

I never anticipated that actively choosing not to produce waste would turn into my having a higher quality of life. I thought it would just mean not taking out the trash. But what was at first a lifestyle decision became a blog, Trash is for Tossers, which became a catalyst for chatting with interesting, like-minded people, and making friends.

Now it’s blossomed into my quitting my great post-grad job as Sustainability Manager for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to start my own zero-waste company, The Simply Co., where I hand-make and sell the products that I learned to produce over the past two years.

I didn’t start living this lifestyle to make a statement — I began living this way because living a zero-waste life is, to me, the absolutely best way I know how to live a life that aligns with everything I believe in.”

Pass this inspiration on to others who you think could benefit from her tips and story.

H/T: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16168/i-havent-made-any-trash-in-2-years-heres-what-my-life-is-like.html

http://www.trashisfortossers.com/

Source:  She Hasn’t Made Any Trash In 2 Years. This Is What Her Life Is Like