Friday, 26 July 2013

Household Waste and Recycling

How much household waste do we throw out?

According to Australia Bureau of Statistics in 2007 the annual waste generated per person was 2,100kg! This is a up from 1997 when it was 1,226kg. The average Australian family (of four) generates enough rubbish in one year to completely fill a three bed room house from floor to ceiling!

We are tracking the amount of waste we place in our red landfill bin each week. Last week it was two bags of rubbish. But starting Monday we are going to be more scientific about this and will weigh how much waste we are sending to landfill each week.

What do we throw out?

So we all know there are lots of things that shouldn't end up in landfill. According to Cleanaway Australians throw out:

  • 414kg of food
  • 330kg of paper
  • 552 Aluminium cans
  • 118kg of plastic
  • 74kg of metal
  • 206 glass bottles/jars
Almost all of the above can, and should be recycled or composted. We have two compost bins (more to come in another blog) for food and garden waste. We recycle as much as possible with regards to the other items listed.

What about plastics?

We've recently found out that most Coles Supermarkets have introduced an initiative to collect the soft plastics that can't be be placed in household recycling bins.

"In an Australian first, The Red Group, in partnership with Coles, has developed and implemented an innovative closed-loop recycling initiative, the REDcycle program. The program is set up as a product stewardship scheme involving 10 of the biggest food companies in Australia. These companies are taking responsibility for their product packaging, and covering the costs of the collection and recycling of the soft plastics.

The program is aimed at collecting the soft plastics you can't put in your kerbside recycling bin. The processed materials will be converted into outdoor furniture and signage for schools and communities by program partner Replas."

They accept plastics such as: bread bags, frozen food bags, confectionery packets and plastic shopping bags.

In terms of volume of waste we think this initiative will divert around a quarter of our waste from landfill - and we think we don't generate much in the way of soft plastic waste. If your in Australia please separate out your soft plastic waste and drop it off at Coles. That's not to say we support Coles, just this great initiative to divert what is largely food packaging waste from landfill.

What else do we do?

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
We take 'green bags' when we shop, to reduce our reliance on plastic bags. At the moment we are in the process of making some nice new calico bags. For food shopping we also have a collection of home made reusable 'care bags' which are mesh bags for storing fruit and vegetables, in place of plastic bags. To date no markets or stores have refused to accept us using our care bags. When we do have plastic bags we reuse them, before recycling.

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