Five easy ways to reduce your waste at home

Plastic-free July has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean we should all return to single-use plastics.

There are plenty of easy swaps you can do at home to help reduce your environmental footprint, and here, we’ve collated five from Rebecca Searles, the founder of Family Garden Life.

A mum of two, Rebecca credits her Facebook community of over 25K parents with helping her find new ways to minimise food waste and help the planet. Here’s what she recommends:

Rethink your sustainable kitchen

Plastic is just so yesterday… and these are our family’s fave alternatives:

a) Silicone or reusable zip lock bags – Take these to the butcher or fish market to store your goods in instead of plastic bags the stores may offer. Rinse and dry out in the drying rack and reuse. Handle with care to avoid any breakages or holes.

b) Beeswax wraps – say adios to clingwrap with this beautiful eco alternative. Made from beeswax, cotton and natural ingredients the wraps last for at least a year and can be simply washed with water and dish soap. You can DIY this for an activity with the kids or purchase packs online or at your local farmers market. They’re gentle on the earth and feel good every time you use them.

c) Glass Jars – there is no need to buy purpose designed glass jars, simply wash out your jars from pasta sauce or spreads and reuse them at the bulk food store or as plastic container alternatives. A random assortment of sizes and shapes may not have the same aesthetically pleasing sense of order, but your soul will be smiling knowing that’s one less jar going back into landfill.

Grow your own

Although having a sprawling assorted veggie patch sounds great, they tend to fall victim to our chaotic family lives. Start with these three robust and delicious ingredients and you’ll find yourself reaping the rewards in no time. They are all extremely weather tolerant and can be grown in either a garden bed or in a pot on your window-sill.

Lettuce – Most leaves are very quick growing, which makes fun spectating and harvesting for kids.

Rosemary – It is the aromatic key to mastering any roast and makes your garden smell fantastic.

Spring onions – Tip: Cut store bought spring onions two centimetres above the roots and place the root end in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill. Regularly change the water until it reshoots then plant in soil.

Shop plastic-wise

What is the point of reusable shopping bags if you fill them with packaged food? A great tip to combating the supermarket plastic crisis is to find your ‘Local Trio’.

Find your local: fruit and veg grocer, butcher/fish market and bulk food store. These shops allow you to weigh and choose the amount of product you desire and bring your own bags and containers, meaning less food waste and plastics. Shopping at independent stores also means you are supporting local small businesses and likely buying Australian produce, reducing food mileage.

Waste not want not

Food scarcity and air pollution are massive issues in Australia and food wastage is a significant contributor to both. Finding simple ways to use your scraps is an incredibly doable way to reduce your waste.

The saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, also applies to meals – consider how you can use leftover food that your recipes didn’t call for, so that nothing gets tossed out. Juices, jams, soups and stews are great ways to utilise perfectly edible offcuts and scraps like vegetable stalks or meat offcuts.

Worm farms are a great way to get rid of your kitchen scraps. Photo: Getty

Get some squirmy pets

Their popularity is on the rise and for good reason – these wriggly friends are entertaining, educational for kids and oh-so helpful for gardening and waste management.

Worms eat your food scraps and turn them into rich garden fertiliser, reducing landfill and enhancing your garden crop.

The farms and worms can be bought at your local garden store or online and setup in just a few minutes. A hot tip is to use red or tiger worms as these are best for composting.

Words by Rebecca Searles

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