Well, as you may know, I have signed up to Zero Waste Week 2014 which runs from Monday 1st September to Sunday 7th September. The theme is ‘One More Thing!’ which means all you have to do is focus on one area of your life where you think you can improve and commit to it for one week. Easy peasy I say, well…maybe!
My pledge is, ‘I will not buy any food with packaging that cannot be recycled or reused.’Obviously not creating any packaging at all would be the ideal but there are just some things that are super difficult to buy without some sort of packaging, usually plastic, the scourge of our oceans! Please see my previous post on ‘Our marine animals deserve better!’ for more information on just some of the problems plastic is causing.So, before I started the week, I thought I’d do some research and find out some alternatives to the way I usually do things and I discovered one very key piece of information that is going to make my Zero Waste Week infinitely easier…and hopefully yours too!I know that I can recycle most firm plastics, glass, paper, aluminium in my big recycling bin at home, but what to do with those soft plastics that seem to be around almost every kind of food I buy…biscuits, pasta, bread, nuts, cereals, lollies, frozen food, etc. Apparently these ‘soft’ plastics clog up the recycling machines at the recycling plant so I’m told.However, on a recent trip to my local Coles, I thought I’d take a closer look at the big green bin they have near the registers (hidden in the corner at the far end mind you) and I discovered these bins take a lot more than just used shopping bags (which is all I thought they took). They take almost all kinds of soft plastic, with the exception of cling wrap. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? Coles certainly don’t advertise it in a big way, but those bins have been right there for years, every time I shopped, and I did not even look at them. I reuse my plastic shopping bags at home for bin bags (the few I get every now and again when I shop without my green reusable bags) so I never had a need to look at this bin, but now I know, there’s no stopping me. They’ll even take old reusable bags that have seen better days! Maybe other grocery stores have these bins too but I’ve never seen them…have you?So now, as well as my compost bin, my recycle bin and my normal bin, I now have a new category which is going to reduce my normal bin wastage by an awful lot. I have hung an old bread bag under the sink right next to my bin and instead of all these plastics going into my bin, they now go into my bread bag. When it’s full, I put it in my green reusable bags in the car and it’s ready to head back to the store at my next shop! As I mentioned before, no waste is even better than recycling waste so I’m still going to aim for that, but for those times when I don’t have time to bake cookies for a morning tea catch up with friends and end up buying a packet instead, at least I know I have an option.My Zero Waste Week is looking easier and easier by the minute… not to mention all the tips I’m receiving from the community of people who are all working towards the same goal at Zero Waste Week 2014!