If you've watched #WarOnWasteAU and thought: “Guys, this is totally outrageous, disgusting and sad”, you're right. But how do we fix that?
Here are three simple things you can do today to feel better and prove to yourself that you care about the place you live in.
First, buy a reusable coffee cup. It doesn't really matter if it's a smart one from Frank Green, a colorful KeepCup or maybe just a no-name one that looks less hipstery but does the job anyway. We've been using these and they work great.
If you’re not aware of the issues of disposable coffee cups, just look at simple facts. And then into any garbage bin. Australians alone send a billion of coffee cups into landfill every year, Americans over 25 billion, Britons about 2.5 billion! Do you really think that disposable cups are recyclable with their plastic lids and waterproof paper with plastic lining? Do you believe they get recycled when people throw them into bin with other garbage? Read more about disposable coffee cups here.
Next, get a reusable shopping bag. The number of plastic bags a person walking out of a supermarket carries is just ridiculous. Why do I need a plastic bag for a chocolate bar when I can simply put it in my pocket? Do I really need to have every 3 shopping items in a separate bag?
Plastic bags are found in the most pristine places in the mountains, caught by wind in trees, washed up by the sea on beautiful beaches and heart-breakingly, swallowed by sea creatures. Just look up “plastic in the ocean”. If you love water or animals, the pictures will probably make you cry.
Some people think biodegradable plastic bags are OK - their producers say so after all. Well, plastic stays plastic. What happens is that they decompose into very small pieces quickly and then they just stay that way for a very long time. Recycling and decomposing into little pieces of plastic is not exactly the same thing, is it. Also, the quality of bags in most shops is very poor so they can't be even reused. When you bring your shopping home, all the bags go usually straight into garbage.
Third, start saving precious kitchen scraps. There is no reason why veggie peels, fruit, tea bags, coffee grains or any other compostable kitchen waste should go into garbage. That's like getting a cake on a glass plate and chucking the plate in the bin after the cake's been eaten. Green waste disposed into garbage goes into landfill where it rots and contributes to producing greenhouse gases. It doesn't really matter if you are worried about global warming or not - throwing away something you could make use of is stupid. And a waste of money. Does it make sense to send your compostable waste to landfill only to then go to a gardening shop and buy a bag of compost from someone else?
Bottom line, if you have a backyard, get a compost. If you don't have one, start worm farming or get a bokashi bin. If you live in an apartment and can't do that, get a ten litre bucket and sign up with ShareWaste. If you're composting or worm farming already, sign up too and help the less fortunate ones without backyards compost their scraps. You'll turn the scraps into more nutritious compost for your garden (and last but not least you'll do a great thing).
And if you've actually signed up already? Then you are a legend! :-) The best thing you can do now is spread the word, inspire your friends to join ShareWaste too and/or to start composting.
It’s as simple as that!