Reducing Household Waste
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The most efficient way to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill is to produce less waste in the first place. Follow these 'smart' shopping tips. They'll not only reduce the amount of waste you create but often they'll save you money too:
- Make a grocery list and stick to it - a lot of food we buy ends up being thrown out.
- Choose products that come in recyclable packaging (and where possible choose products recycled materials).
- Avoid products that come in excessive amounts of packaging (concentrates and refills are great)
- Buy long-life products - purchase reusable, refillable, repairable products instead of disposable ones (e.g. razors and batteries) and quality appliances and clothes etc.
- Take re-useable bags with you when you go shopping (hint keep them in your car so you have them on you.)
Reducing waste is not just something that happens at the supermarket. Here are some ideas to help reduce the waste in and your life and in your home:
- Choose to have your statements and bills sent to you online.
- Place a 'no junk mail' sign on your mailbox.
- Only print what you need and remember to print double-sided.
- Place paper that is good on one side aside to use for notes.
- Have leftover for lunch or freeze them for a day when you can't be bothered cooking.
- Choose products designed to be used again instead of cheaper disposable items. You will save money in the long run. For example, reuseable drink bottles, plastic or glass containers instead of plastic wrap/film, reuseable menstrual products (contact our Waste Minimisation Officer for more about these).
Using an item more than once is easy and can also save you money, here's some helpful hints:
- Store ice-cream containers and other plastic containers and jam jars to use again (remember to recycle rigid plastic containers in your recycling bin when you are finally finished with them).
- Reuse containers by refilling instead of buying new, for example, drink bottles, printer ink cartridges and household cleaners.
- Repair instead of replace, just like you repair your car consider mending or patching clothes.
- Keep your old toothbrush for cleaning small hard to reach places.
- Donate unwanted clothing to charities or second-hand shops.
- Share magazines and books with friends.
- Sell unwanted items, hold a garage sale or list them on an online auction site.
The age-old adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure" remains true today, with a number of websites to help you exchange goods. Search the web for terms like waste exchange orfreecycle.
Giving waste materials a new life rather than sending them to the landfill reduces demand for virgin materials and is more energy efficient, meaning it's great for the environment. Did you know:
- Creating an aluminium can from recycled aluminium uses 95% less energy than creating one from virgin materials. Each can recycled saves enough electricity to a power a TV or computer for three hours!
- Each tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees.
- Empty aerosol can and tin foil are recyclable, they can be put loose in your recycling bin, just make sure they are empty and free of food residue.
Public Place and Event Recycling
Council has five sets of recycling and litter bins for public place and event recycling. When not in use by Council they are available for community groups to borrow for events. Contact us on 0800 801 350 to enquire about these bins.
What are modern cloth nappies? Modern cloth nappies (MCN) are not what you would expect; there are many varieties available to suit the different needs of different families. Often the only difference to a disposable is that they are washable.
Fabric technology has come a long way so the nappies can perform as well, if not better than a disposable nappy. Microfibre, cotton, bamboo and hemp, are just some of the fabrics used in their manufacture. There are many styles to suit different needs and often is a one piece system. There is no folding, soaking or pins and our modern washing machines and washing products do all of the work.
The use of disposable nappies does not encourage parents to practice responsible waste management. Most families will purchase around 6000 disposable nappies per child over the first 2.5 years; this is approximately 52 bags of rubbish per year per child. Considering it is only a small percentage of the population that is actually in nappies these figures are extremely high.
- A baby is changed around 6000 times in 2.5 years.
- There are 145,000 babies in NZ in nappies under 2.5 years.
- The average used disposable weighs in at 200g.
- Some council figures indicate disposables make up 5% - 45% of the domestic waste stream.
- Cloth Nappies do not require, folding, soaking or pins.
- Cloth nappies are 40% better for the environment than disposables.
- Cloth nappies provide a zero waste alternative to disposables.
- Disposable nappies should have any solids removed before disposing in the general waste.
- A family can save $4000 per child by using cloth nappies.
- Parents have control of the environmental impact of cloth nappies.
- If every baby had just one cloth nappy change per day, this would prevent 1,000,000 disposables from going to land fill every week in New Zealand.