To avoid wasting valuable resources, as well as harming our environment and climate, it’s important that we reduce waste wherever we can. Less waste going to landfill also saves money, both on your household income and the costs to manage waste.
The Zero Waste Taranaki website lists a range of things we can do at home to reduce the amount of waste we produce. Sustainable Taranaki and The Rubbish Trip also have practical guides to how and where you can reduce waste in Taranaki.
We’d love to hear your top tips for reducing waste. Get in touch!
There are six general ‘R’ steps we can all follow to reduce our waste:
Refuse – Say “no thanks” to single use items such as straws, or hard to recycle items such as polystyrene and soft plastics.
Replace – Swap single use coffee cups and water bottles for a reusable coffee mug and water bottle. Bring your own produce and carry bags when shopping. Instead of glad wrap and foil, use beeswax wraps, ‘naked’ lunchboxes with compartments, storage containers, and bowl covers for food leftovers.
Reduce – Reduce the soft plastics you send to landfill by choosing loose produce at the supermarket, or products sold in paperboard boxes or recyclable (1-7) plastic containers.
Reuse – Carry your reusable coffee mug, water bottle, bags, straw and take away container with you when you’re out. Donate items in good condition to an opshop for reuse by others. Or pass on excess food to a food redistribution program such as On The House.
Recycle – Recycle any paper, cardboard, tins, cans and hard plastic containers with 1-7 in a triangle. Other product recycling options are also available on the Zero Waste Taranaki Directory.
Recharge the soil – Place any food scraps, meat, bones, seafood shells, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grinds or indoor cut flowers in your food scraps bin each week to be turned into compost. Or set up a compost at home to also compost green waste, tissues, and home compostable packaging.
You can also follow our four C’s below to reduce your waste at home.
If you don’t already compost at home, now’s a great time to get started. Using what you have, you’ll be able to compost all your food scraps, paper and cardboard, as well as garden waste and lawn clippings.
To create a compost bin or pile, use materials you already have in your shed or garage, such as:
- Chicken wire, wire mesh, sacks or netting, formed into a circle with stakes or branches.
- Wood, pallets, fencing, tin, bricks or concrete blocks, formed into a three-sided square.
- A large cardboard box, sack, or plastic bin or container (just drill holes for air).
- Or cover a heap of layered material with a tarp or a piece of tin, carpet or plywood.
Read more on how to get started composting on the Zero Waste Taranaki blog.
Making the most of what you already have in your pantry and fridge is easier than you think.
Find below a few ideas that might inspire you.
- Get creative with your leftover foods - many leftovers make great toppings for homemade pizza.
- Easy Choice Family Kai have created these inspiring videos: Bacon and corn baked potatoes and Sri Lankan Dahl.
- Watch this great video on Facebook showing how to make your own home-made curly fries. Adults: you may need to help younger members of the family with preparation, but be quick if you want some of the end result!
- If you are unable to access flour or are looking for some flour- free options, there are a number of amazing recipes to try. Nadia Lim has some great flour- free recipes on her Facebook page
- Perhaps you have lots of Feijoas. Palmers have put together a number of Feijoa recipes, or try one of Love Food, Hate Waste's 8 ways with feijoas.
For more ideas check out the Zero Waste Taranaki blog.
It's always important to consider reducing the amount of recyclables you bring home from the supermarket. This will also minimise the amount of waste to throw away.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
- Plan your meals and shopping to avoid waste, and store items so they last. Here’s a helpful planning guide from Love Food, Hate Waste. Meal planning can reduce how often you shop and shorten your time in the supermarket.
- Choose packaging that takes up less room in your recycling bin. For example, items in aluminium or tin cans take less room in your recycling bin than glass bottles in your smaller glass crate.
- Try homemade versions of some common items you buy. Bake biscuits, bread and crackers, make your own yoghurt (easy to make using EasiYo sachets), or buy dried chickpeas and make hummus from scratch (especially now there’s time to soak and cook the beans). There are some great recipes on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
- Use glass bottles to store homemade cordial or check out this recipe for Feijoa Fizz, made from feijoa skins, an alternative to fizzy and flavoured drinks.
- Use glass jars in the shed to store different types of screws, nails and fittings. Get the kids involved for hours of focused entertainment.
You can turn your stored recyclables into fun activities with the kids, from designing cardboard-box buildings and cars to turning old milk bottles into watering cans. Check out heaps more Zero Waste craft ideas on the We Are Teachers website.
Elephants in my living room.
Using old milk bottles is a creative way to not only reuse items, it’s also fun. Create your own herd of elephants. Set the elephants up at the water hole. Maybe you could then create a living room safari and go on a tour with your family. What other animals can you find on your safari? What items around the house could you use to create them?
- Make a milk bottle elephant.
- Create 50 zoo animal crafts
- For more ideas, head over to the Zero Waste Taranaki blog where there will be weekly updates and ideas.