Landfill Waste: 3 easy ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Landfill with a reduce, reuse, recycle logo

Did you know that Australia produces around 78 million tonnes of waste every year? That’s like each Australian tossing the trash equivalent of a grand piano in the bin annually. Of this waste, just 22.6 million tonnes go straight to landfill. Only 19 percent is recycled.  

This is a huge opportunity lost every year. The benefits of recycling are that it prevents pollution, saves energy, and significantly contributes to saving the planet. So why are we not doing more of it? Simply put, recycling on a nationwide scale costs money. It seems many governments prefer to spend theirs on other priorities.

The onus is on us, then, to pick up the habit of home recycling. Small changes done consistently ultimately make a big difference. Three of the biggest sources of global waste are food, clothing, and plastics. Let Everything Alternative show you some easy ways on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Food waste

Australia sends 7.6 million tonnes of food to landfill every year, costing each Australian household about $2,500 annually, on average. Ironically, up to 70 percent of the food waste we produce is still edible. Table scraps, food close to expiration, and fresh produce that don’t pass supermarkets’ quality control are tossed into landfill, eventually creating at least 3 percent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. (These emissions trap heat, raise the air pollution level, and ultimately cause climate change.)

This is how you can do your part in minimising your food waste:

  • Keep your fridge clean. Every week, clean your fridge to prevent mould from developing and spreading on the food. Wash all the removable parts with warm water and soap. Scrub the rest of the fridge’s interiors, including the gasket (the outer ring of the fridge) with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda to kill germs. Leave for 10 minutes then wipe dry using a clean microfibre cloth.
  • Master making whole meals out of leftovers. Hearty soups, burritos, fried rice, stir fries, tacos—these comfort dishes are great at gathering multiple ingredients and making them all work together.
  • Save ugly fruits and veggies. Bruised bananas? Discoloured carrots? Unless they’re mushy, slimy, or have a bad smell, you can still use most “unattractive” fruits and veggies in smoothies, juices, and baked desserts.

Read: Why Are Bees Important?

Clothing waste

Here’s a head-scratcher: According to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the average Australian buys about 27 kg of new clothes every year. They also chuck an average of 23 kg of their clothes into the landfill...every year. That’s 800,000 tonnes of wasted textiles. To further illustrate, new research says around 6,000 kg of clothing in Australia is tossed in the dump every 10 minutes. Only seven percent of this is recycled.

This is how you can do your part in recycling clothing:

  • Repair; don’t keep buying. Instead of tossing your torn clothes in the bin, take out your sewing kit and mend them! Here’s a tutorial you can use.
  • Go Opp shopping. Shopping at a charity Opp shop not only helps reduce landfill; you’re also supporting local charity and saving money because everything in these shops is super cheap compared to the stores. You may have to rummage through the racks but that just adds to the fun. You may even find new clothes still with tags on them, and classic vintage pieces you can breathe new life into.
  • Upcycle. Turn old bath towels into kitchen towels. Make headbands out of old shirts. Transform old jeans into cushion covers. The ideas are endless!

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Plastic waste

Australia produces about 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. It makes up four percent of the 78 million tonnes of solid waste tossed into landfills. Four percent may seem small. But plastic is among the materials that do the most damage to the planet and its inhabitants. Marine wildlife either choke on plastic bags or die of starvation as their stomachs slowly fill with plastic. Aside from water, plastic also pollutes air and soil, filling these with toxins harmful to humans.

This is how you can do your part in recycling plastic waste

  • Recycle your soft, scrunchy plastics. REDcycle bins, found in participating supermarkets all over Australia, keep your soft, dry, scrunchable plastic waste out of landfills. (No need to clean your waste; just make sure they’re dry.)
  • Reduce your waste with reusables. Use water bottles instead of buying PET water bottles. Use cloth shopping bags when you buy groceries. (Check out the eco mesh fruit and veg bags in our store.) Get non-perishables like seeds, grains and flours, from bulk bins to avoid accumulating a lot of individual packaging material.

The problem of waste build-up—and, consequently, the lack of recycling—is humungous. But working together, with more awareness, we can all do our part to make the planet breathe a little easier. 

Everything Alternative is all about living in harmony with nature. Visit us to find more ways you can be at one with the earth’s energies.