Wed, Jul 05, 2017 - Page 9 News List

Readers share household tips on winning the war on waste

The ‘Guardian Australia’ asked for advice on reducing waste and readers responded with everything from recycling jam jars to composting and chickens

By Alexandra Spring  /  The Guardian

It is the show that has captured imaginations. The Australian Broadcasting Corp’s recent TV series War on Waste, presented by The Chaser’s [an Australian quiz show] Craig Reucassel, has inspired Australians to tackle overconsumption and waste in their daily lives by recycling soft plastics, switching to reusable coffee cups and composting food scraps.

These were the quick fixes, but we knew there was more we could all be doing. So we asked readers to share their tips.

We got a flood of responses, including advice on using reusable mesh produce bags for fruit and vegetables, setting up a worm farm on apartment balconies, visiting charity shops for clothing and other goods, ditching coffee pods entirely and generally consuming less.

Then there were those who knew how to take it to the next level. So here are our favorite tips for recycling and reducing waste:

Line your compost bin with old newspaper. It keeps the bin cleaner and forms another layer over your food scraps when you empty it. — Bob Paka, Canberra.

Use a jam jar for takeaway coffees. It is stupidly obvious that having a closeable lid is convenient. Bonne Maman is a good shape (no lip at the top). Did I say it was achingly hip? — Tim Motz, London.

I cannot recommend a Bokashi bin from Bunnings highly enough.

All my food scraps, except meat, go in there, then every time you put stuff into it you spray the Bokashi [power].

You can tap the decomposing liquid runoff as fertilizer or stick it in your toilet cistern to help introduce friendly bacteria into your pipes. When it is full, I bury the mush in the garden and my soil and plants go ballistic. — Darren Goldnerd, Melbourne.

Chooks! Since we got our backyard chickens no leftover food ever goes to waste. They particularly love it when we accidentally cook too much pasta or rice, or if the bread goes moldy. And we get lovely fresh, free-range eggs in return. — Nyssa Maisch, Hobart.

Aluminum foil that can form a ball can be recycled, but the smaller pieces end up in landfill. I avoid this by putting all my small pieces into an aluminum can.

When the can is full, I place it in my recycling bin and it is all recycled. Plastic straws and cutlery are also too small to recycle. However, if you enclose them in a plastic takeaway container or plastic drink bottle, they will be recycled. — Amanda Robertson, Canberra.

I signed up for composting with Brisbane City Council and now attend the community composting initiative weekly to drop in our family’s compostable waste. We put waste into large yogurt tubs, and once they are full, start a new one so there is never a smell.

We do not have space for composting in our rental home so this is perfect. — Mia Downes, Greenslopes.

No more freezer bags! I wrap bread rolls, quiche and pie portions for my freezer in oven parchment sheets. They freeze well and can be used to put serves directly into the oven.

Frozen bread rolls or slices are lovely and fresh when lunchtime comes around ready to be unwrapped in paper. — Julia Nolan, Coffs Harbour.

I have made my own yogurt since Easter this year, using the same two plastic storage jars and a couple of small yogurt incubators I found in an op shop [charity shop].

It just takes a few minutes every couple of weeks; I have reduced my waste and saved around A$5 (US$3.80) a week, plus improved my diet with fresh yogurt. — Anonymous.

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