Thursday, 25 May 2017

War on Waste - Week 2


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This week saw Craig tackle the issue of plastic bags....and what an issue it is!

He chased down politicians in NSW and VIC to question them about #BanTheBag - none of them seemed too keen to accept his generous gift of a giant ball of plastic bags or discuss the massive impact plastic bags have on our environment. Shame, shame politicians.

Did you know that NSW, VIC & WA are the only states that don't #BanTheBag, with QLD, SA, NT & TAS having already implemented #BanTheBag initiatives.

However, there seems to be some loopholes as Craig headed to TAS to see just how well #BanTheBag was going. Some places were totally smashing it, however, others weren't so much and it is also up to the consumer to make a conscience effort to take their own bags.

The enlisted #WarOnWasteAU households were set a challenge to decide which plastics could be recycled, which resulted in a lot of hesitation over what could and what couldn't. Hesitation that would be mirrored in households across Australia - can you recycle aerosol cans? can you recycle plastic takeaway containers? Well, yes you can - but the tricky thing is that each council differs in what they recycle, so if in doubt check out your local council website.

For some tips on what can be recycled - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-24/what-plastics-can-i-recycle-war-on-waste/8548658

The verdict was in this week on the GPS trackers in the recycled plastic bags....it seems some ended up in landfill - ummm, certainly not what we are expecting to happen.

However, Craig gave them the benefit of the doubt and re-did the experiment and the plastic bags ended up in a recycle facility, but queue confusion from the people working there about where they come from and what happens to them....needless to say I am still not convinced about what happens when people set out to recycle their plastic bags and I will be going down the route of #BanTheBag entirely.

This week also saw Craig deep diving into Sydney Harbour to see the impact of plastics on our marine environment....verdict = REALLY REALLY not good. It is estimated by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Seriously, if that isn't enough to kick you into gear on cutting down waste and plastic I don't know what is!


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But it isn't all bad news. Craig visited a recycling plant that is separating out our plastics, aluminum and paper to be on sold in Australia and overseas to be remade into other items. (Side note though - Eskys aren't recyclable. Some people seem to think that anything can be chucked in their recycle bin!).

He also showed us a place that is using recycled plastic bags (the ones that make it where they are meant to make it) into plastic benches etc. It was really great to see. And one guy at a landfill outside Cairns is going through the rubbish to take out what is recyclable - Nice work!

If you didn't see the second part, please take the time to check it out - http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/war-on-waste-stories/DC1624H012S00

The takeaways from this episode were:

  • Ditch the plastic bag and use reusable bags - #BanTheBag
  • If you do find yourself with a plastic bag or two they can be recycled through some supermarkets by the REDcycle program
  • Check out Boomerang Bags.
  • Petition the Government about #BanTheBag

Did you watch it?
What were your takeaways?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

#MinimiseWaste Hot Tip > Reusable Nappies


According to stats from the world wide web, Australians use over 6 million disposable nappies a day - which equates to over 2 billion used nappies going into landfill sites each year and it is estimated to take about 200-250 years for them to decompose.

Even the production of disposable nappies present some amazing stats, as they use 3.5 times more energy, 8.3 times more non-renewable resources and 90 times more renewable resources than reusable nappies or modern cloth nappies (as I have just heard them referred to).

This week's #MinimiseWaste Hot Tip comes from Mrs W, who has recently had her second bubba, a gorgeous little man affectionately known as Duck and you guessed it, she is using reusable nappies.

Mrs W has the following pro's and con's to share on modern cloth nappies (MCNs)...

Pros of MCNs


Less waste - we were using about 10 disposables per day. Older babies use less but I would estimate that we will keep at least 3000 nappies out of landfill.

Cheaper - especially as we were given most of our stash second hand and bought the rest on Gumtree.

Aesthetics - I'm looking forward to summer when he can show off the cool colours and patterns.
Apparently they are also better for preventing nappy rash.

Cons of MCNs


Overwhelming - there are so many different brands and different types. We were given ours from a friend which meant I didn't have to do any research. (If you're interested they are itti bitti snap in ones which basically means you have a shell and snap your preferred combination of soaker pads in.)

High start up costs - You need at least 15 nappies but its worth checking out eBay and Gumtree for second hand. The ones we're using have been used by 2 other babies and are still in great condition.

Leakage - they have lots of great features but when it comes down to it MCNs are not as absorbent as disposables. I don't really care about the odd leak because I'm washing all the time anyway. We still use disposables at night as I find he can go the whole night in one nappy.

Washing - You need to do a load every second day. I'm sure this adds to our water and power usage/cost. We dont have a dryer but fortunately we have had great weather and have space to hang them inside if its raining. I also didn't start using them until he was about 6 weeks - I might have found it all a bit much in the first few weeks.

Travel - I take MCNs in my nappy bag for day outings and just put the dirty ones in a wet bag but if I was going away for the weekend I think I'd take disposables for convenience.

Do you use MCNs?
Got any pros and cons?


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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

War on Waste - Week 1



Last night Craig Reucassel, of The Chaser fame, kicked off his three-part series, War on Waste and what an eye opener with a massive gobsmacked thrown in.

Did you know that Australia is ranked 5th highest for generating the most municipal waste in the world! 52 mega tonnes of waste is generated in a year and this number is just continuing to grow. Clearly change needs to happen - and fast!

The first part of the series delved into food waste and holy shit is there a lot of it! And not just the stuff households are throwing in the bin everyday, which apparently adds up to over $3000 worth of food a year, some food isn't even making it from the farm to the supermarket shelves. Seriously outrageous stuff.

Craig headed to North Queensland where he visited two banana farmers who were having to throw away tonnes and tonnes of bananas because they didn't meet the supermarkets specifications. Who the hell comes up with these specifications anyway? I mean, come on...too bendy, too long, too short, I can't believe there is such a thing. The farmers seemed to think it was being pushed by consumer behaviour. There needs to be a shift in this behaviour - #SizeDoesntMatter.



It seems Harris Farm and Woolworths are taking steps, albeit baby steps, towards fixing this issue and starting to sell "imperfect picks" and "odd bunches" respectively. These are the fruit and veg that don't meet the strict specifications of gorgeously glamorous and are being sold at a discount.

In other good news for food waste, some supermarkets and farms are also donating some of their surplus / unsold goods to places like OzHarvest and Foodbank, which are amazing initiatives.

However, we still have so very far to go.

As part of his investigation into food waste, Craig met up with the wonderful Julianne (that is her pictured below) to go dumpster diving - basically she dives into dumpsters behind supermarkets to grab the food they are throwing away. In the darkness of night they crept in and reclaimed freshly baked bread, eggs, fruit, veg and nuts. Don't be grossed out by this - most of it was all packaged and wrapped and well within the "use by date" (what the hell is that anyway?).

For more information on Julianne, check out - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-09/dumpster-diving-sunshine-coast-grandmother/8009018



He has also recruited several households from a street in the south of Sydney to aid his War on Waste investigations. Having shocked them with the contents of their garbage bins, highlighting the food and plastic bags they throw away each week, I can't wait to see what he has planned for them in the weeks to come.

It will also be extremely interesting to see what happens to the plastic bags that were put in the "Recycle your plastic bags here" boxes laden with GPS trackers - will they end up in a recycle centre or landfill??

If you didn't see the first part, please take the time to check it out - http://www.abc.net.au/ourfocus/waronwaste/

The takeaways from this episode were:

  • Ditch the plastic bags and use reusable bags when shopping #BanTheBag.
  • Only buy the food you need - if you do over buy, try freezing it (you can check out Sarah Wilson's Simplicious for tips) or share it with your neighbours or colleagues at work or parents at school. You can also check out this article for some tips, Planning grocery trips to minimise waste.
  • Petition Coles & Woolworths to ditch the specifications on their fruit and veg! Let them know that #SizeDoesntMatter and we want to #MinimiseWaste.
  • If you are brave enough, give Dumpster Diving a go.
  • Donate your time or money to places like OzHarvest and Foodbank.
  • Composting is an awesome way to minimise food waste - check out this post, The Compost Revolution.

Did you watch it? (You really, truly should)
What were your takeaways?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

#MinimiseWaste Hot Tip > Reusable Lunch Pouches


Since starting our minimise waste journey so many of my wonderful friends have shared the ways they are minimising waste in their own lives, so I decided to share them on the blog as #MinimiseWaste Hot Tips.

The first Hot Tip comes from my lovely friend Mrs S and it is Reusable Lunch Pouches!

Think about how many school children there are and how many lunches they'll have in their school lives!! Most of them would be in packaging, plastic etc that ends up in landfill.

A great solution for this is the reusable lunch pouch. They do cost more at the start but pay for themselves in more than just monetary ways.

You can also add more to your lunch repertoire than pouches, like insulated food jars, sandwich wraps and even beeswax food wraps.

Mrs S uses sandwich wraps and pouches.

They buy lunch items in large quantities and send them to school in reusable pouches. Even yoghurt!  Mrs S' girls also have 'Fridge To Go' lunch boxes that keep refrigerated foods cools for up to six hours - which is totally fab!

What are your Hot Tips for school lunches?

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Fashion Revolution with Bobbin & Ink


My wonderfully minimal friend, Ms Mc, recently invited me along to a Q&A panel discussion at Bobbin & Ink in Petersham, centering around how we can all join the fashion revolution and call for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.

On the panel were Kirsten Lee, a strong advocate for ethical and sustainable practices in the fashion industry, Jessica Parker from The Social Outfit and Osha Shealey from Bilboa.

These three incredibly knowledgeable, passionate women answered questions about their involvement in the Fashion Revolution as well as how they are ethical and sustainable in their own fashion adventures.

Osha has her own brand, Bilboa, which is located on the NSW North Coast at Byron Bay, where she prints her own fabric and hand makes everything she sells - check her out at http://www.bilboa.com.au/ or Finders Keepers markets around the place. She is also in the process of getting her ethical fashion accreditation.

Jess is part of the Social Outfit, a registered charity who employ and train people from refugee and new migrant communities. They provide training and employment in clothing production, retail, design and marketing.  Seriously amazing! They are located at 353, King Street, Newtown where they make and also sell their clothes.  You can even pop out the back to see where the clothes are made!

I also discovered from Kirsten, who is so very passionate about ethical fashion and the education of up-and-coming designers, there is an app, Good On You, where you can check the impact a brand is having on people, the planet and animals. You can use this app to see how brands rate, find more ethical brands and see some great deals from ethical brands.

As part of the event there was a Fashion Swap. People were encouraged to bring along up to six garments of clothes that they no longer wanted, were in good condition and clean.

Upon arriving at the event, you handed in your clothes and received a token for each piece of clothing you had to swap. That token represented one piece of clothing you could choose as part of the swap.

The clothes were grouped into areas, i.e. dresses, short pants, skirts, tops etc. Once everyone with tokens had made their selection, it was free for all to go through what remained.

If any clothes weren't swapped at the end they would be bagged up and donated to charity.

This event was part of the Fashion Revolution week held by, of course, The Fashion Revolution.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. Their goal is to unite the fashion industry and ignite revolution to radically change the way our clothes are sourced, produced and purchased, so that what the world wears has been made in a safe, clean and fair way.

It was such an amazing event and I learnt so much about ethical and sustainable fashion.

Have you ever had a fashion swap?
Do you have any favourite ethical brands?





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Monday, 24 April 2017

The Compost Revolution


As I sat flicking through Facebook recently, mundanely zooming past cats and babies, a post jumped out at me and poked me right in the Minimise Waste journey!

It was posted by The Compost Revolution alerting me to the fact that my local council were offering 80% off compost bins and worm farms in an effort to get people on the composting train.

I signed up straight away.

The Compost Revolution is all about making it easy for Australians to reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill. Because about half of what the average Aussie household throws away is compostable organic material.

Using home composting systems significantly reduces the amount of stuff we send to landfill. It also reduces our impact on climate change because food waste releases harmful greenhouse gases as it breaks down in landfill.

Currently there are 40 councils across Australia participating with Compost Revolution to educate and equip households to begin home composting.

This initiative been developed for councils by councils and has been going for four years and help divert 3 million kigs of waste from landfill, avoiding 5 million kgs of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions and saving councils almost $800,000 in landfill costs.

So, if you are in Australia, you should jump online at http://compostrevolution.com.au/  and check out if your council is participating. And if they aren't perhaps ask them why?

Are you a composter or worm farmer?
Got any tips to share?


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Friday, 21 April 2017

Earth Day 2017 - ways you can make a difference



April 22, 2017 is Earth Day. An annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

This year, Earth Day's main event is the March for Science. A campaign focusing on creating and supporting knowledge sharing, community engagement, citizen science and stewardship. For more information, check out http://www.earthday.org,

Here are some super ways you can contribute to supporting our environment - every little bit counts.....

Plant a tree

Deforestation contributes to species extinction and is responsible for up to 15% of the gloabl greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. 

Planting a tree is a great way to flight climate change.

Reduce your use of plastics

Currently about 300 million tons of plastics are produced each year to make bags, bottles and packages. However, only about 10% of this plastic is properly recycled and reused. The rest ends up in landfill. This is really a situation that is getting out of control.

Ideas include:
  • Refuse plastic bags at the supermarket - take your own cloth bags
  • Switch to a KeepCup for your takeaway coffee
  • Stop using plastic straws, even at restaurants
  • Buy boxes instead of bottles
  • Purchase food in bulk and fill a reusable bag or container

Reduce your carbon footprint

An increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore in carbon footprint is the primary event associated with climate change that has led to global warming.

Ideas include:

  • Walk or ride a bike instead of driving
  • Change your lighting to compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Invest in insulation and solar panels


What are your tips for making a difference this Earth Day?