Are you looking for ways to reduce the amount of unusable waste that is generated by your household and in particular your kitchen?
Some time ago, I became very concerned about the amount of day to day waste that was being generated by my activities in and around the kitchen. As a result of this, I devised an action plan that has resulted in a significant reduction in the amount of waste that actually leaves my property - no more than a couple of handfuls a week, and sometimes not even that much.
My Action Plan involved 2 major components:
The Weekly Shopping - reducing the amount of material that I purchase that can not be recycled, re-purposed or composted.
Dealing with Waste - Ensuring that material that could be recycled, re-purposed or composted was not added to rubbish to be removed and end up in landfill.
The Weekly Shopping
When shopping, consider the container and packaging that the item is coming in - ensure that it is either recyclable, or you can use it for another purpose, or even better, both.
Refuse to use plastic shopping bags. These only end up in landfill or the ocean. Even those that are labelled ‘biodegradable’ still take many years to degrade and can still cause harm in the meantime. Use reusable shopping/grocery bags.
- don’t purchase meat or fruit and vegetables in pre-packed containers. These containers usually end up in your rubbish and ultimately in landfill.
- unless absolutely necessary, add loose fruit and vegetables to your shopping bag; they don’t usually need to be in a plastic bag. Does it really matter if your bunch of bananas is sitting loose on top of your shopping and not in a plastic bag?
If you do need to place them in a bag, use a paper bag as an alternative. Often, paper bags are available for mushrooms, use them for your grapes and brussel sprouts as well.
Dealing with Waste
I maintain 4 different containers in my kitchen for waste disposal. These are:
- Egg Shells
Typical recyclables include; glass, aluminium cans, tin cans, plastic bottles/containers, paper and cardboard. Many of these items can be repurposed. For example:
- Many bottles can be used for containers of other items, homemade jams, preserves and juices. With a little imagination, there are many ways they can be utilised. Even when they are no longer usable, they can be recycled.
- Paper and cardboard, with the exception of glossy paper, can be used as a mulch in the garden and is extremely useful to suppress the growth of weeds.
If they can’t be repurposed, or when they reach the end of their usefulness, they end up in the recyclables container.
Virtually all fruit and vegetable material can be composted, so if you don’t already have a compost bin, consider either purchasing or building one. Other options for this type of organic matter include worm farms and chickens. If you have all of these, simply rotate where the material is added on a needs basis.
Things you can add to your compost:
- Fruit and vegetable scraps and peelings.
- tea bags (but not for the chickens)
- most paper based towels/wipes (not for chickens)
Things not to add:
- Meat scraps. But, do not add these to the rubbish. Usually, they can be buried somewhere deep in the garden.
If it can’t be recycled, repurposed or composted, sadly, it ends up in the rubbish. But, do not line the bin with a plastic bag - this bag only contributes to the landfill and environmental problems. Simply add the rubbish to a small bin (should only need to be small). It shouldn't get smelly and too dirty; remember ...... meat material is buried in the garden and most other kitchen scraps end up in the compost. When you empty it, wrap the contents up in newspaper and dispose of this.
Don’t throw your eggshells into the rubbish or compost! Throw them into a separate container, crush them into a powder - they make a wonderful soil conditioner for the garden.
By doing this, you will minimise the material that goes into landfill and reduce many other environmental problems.