Did you know that Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the world? 10 million plastic bags a day, 1 billion coffee cups a year and 1.4 tonnes of electric waste in a decade are the rough estimates of what we are dealing with.
Even worse, this waste takes up an awful lot of land, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and contaminates waterways and oceans that ultimately kill marine life and eventually poisons humans.
Does this have to happen? No, if we all put in a little more effort and change our daily behaviours we can start to turn around the damage already caused. This is where “Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle” also known as the four R’s comes in.
Benefits of Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle
- Save natural resources for our children’s future.
- Conserve energy and land.
- Reduce pollution and greenhouse effects.
- Reduce waste toxicity and damage to health.
- Save money on manufacturing and waste treatments.
- Help those in need.
The most efficient way to reducing waste is to not create it in the first place. Production of new products only happens when there is high demand. If we reduce the demand, we save lots of materials and energy required during production.
So ask yourself: Do I really need to buy this?
Reduce your energy use. Being mindful to switch off lights and air conditioners are one simple habit that can benefit both your bills and the environment. But more than that, have you considered switching your lightbulbs and whitegoods to energy-efficient ones? LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than standard light bulbs!
Switch to clean energy and solar hot water. This not only reduces your bill but also reduces your environmental footprint. With Australia’s abundant sunshine, it makes sense to use solar energy to provide your hot water for free.
Reduce your food waste. Food production leads to 30% of global greenhouse emissions, yet 1 in 5 bags of food Australian’s buy goes straight into the bin! Next time at the grocery store, ask yourself if you can reduce your buy to what you absolutely need.
Recycle printing. Printing papers and not recycling them is hugely wasteful. Pulp and paper mills contribute to air, water and land pollution while making up 26% of solid waste in landfill. Printer ink is equally damaging as it can take 450 to 1000 years to decompose. The heavy metals and volatile compounds in old ink cartridges can also leak into soil and water, polluting the environment.
Refill your own drink bottle. Single-use plastic bottles generate an enormous amount of waste. They usually end up in landfill and waterways that pollute our environment. Stainless steel and BPA-free bottles are not only environmentally friendly, but also more durable and safer for our health.
Reuse your shopping bag: Aussies use up to 4 billion plastic bags a year! Each of them lasts in the environment for 20-1000 years and poses a danger to wildlife. Wouldn’t it be better to use reusable shopping bags?
Get second-hand furniture and clothes. Do you really need to buy everything brand new? You are doing everyone a huge favour by choosing second-hand items instead. Check out local second-hand stores, you might even find a designer gem at a great price:
Reuse your own coffee cups. Australia produces enough coffee cups to go around the Earth 2.5 times in one year! If you use a new coffee cup every day, that’s 365 that could have been replaced with just 1. Consider reusing your coffee cups or burrow one on the go with Apps like Green Caffeen.
Reuse boxes and printer cartridges. It is very wasteful to buy new boxes or new printer cartridges every time you need to post or print something. 1 million cartridges are thrown away every day, but you don’t have to contribute to that. Refilling saves you money and reduces pollution, landfill, and resources.
With a bit of creativity, “junk” can turn into useful and cool stuff! Check out this blog “30 creative ways to repurpose & reuse old stuff” for some cool DIY inspiration.
- Old ladders into bookshelves.
- Old books into shelves.
- Tennis rackets into mirrors.
- Spoons into a lamp.
- Bottle caps into tea lights.
- Old piano into an outdoor fountain.
… and many more – Let your imagination run wild!
There are also other easy ways to repurpose that don’t even require much thinking such as using scrap paper for taking notes and empty containers for growing plants.
Think that your “junk” is to worn out to be recycled? That is not true!
If we produce things out of raw materials all the time, we need to spend energy in extracting and processing these materials. With rubbish recycle, we can skip many of these initial processes.
Don’t throw away. Over 90% of plastics and metals in mobile phones and batteries can be reused in new products! Don’t throw away these valuable materials, you can recycle with Mobile Muster and Clean Up Australia.
Use Recycle bins properly. Recycle bins are great, but did you know that putting the wrong items in recycling bins can contaminate the whole recycling stream? When unrecyclable items arrive at recycling centres, the misplaced items can cause costly damage to the equipment. It also takes a long time for people to sort out the junk and send them to landfills. That’s why it is very important to check which items are meant for the recycling bins.
Recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans. If you have to use plastic bottles and aluminium cans, at least recycle them. Recycling just 10 plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a laptop for more than 1 day, and one ton of aluminium cans conserves the equivalent energy produced by 21 barrels of oil.
Recycle organic waste and compost at home. This reduces methane emissions from landfill and lowers your carbon footprint. Learn how you can compost at home with food, hair and fur, cotton and wool rags and many others.
Recycle clothes and furniture. Most of your old clothes, shoes and furniture can be donated to charities, second-hand shops or sold online. Remember, one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure. Check out where you can send your used items here.
Recycle electronics: Many manufacturers and retailers may have trade-in policies that can save you money and environmental impact. Importantly, illegal dumping often involves electronics, which can leak toxic heavy metals that cause major health consequences over time.
When in doubt, the team at Cheapest Load of Rubbish can help you with rubbish removal, recycle and reuse safely and quickly. Our experts take all sorts of rubbish from residential addresses, commercial businesses and even construction sites. Contact us today for a free quote and let us take care of your rubbish!