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Talking Garbage.

Fat Mum Slim /

I’m becoming quite obsessed with all things anti-waste. I’ve watched a few bits and pieces from that show War On Waste, but never the whole thing because I also don’t want to waste my sleeping hours {i.e. I go to bed too early!}.

Anywho… our local council has brought in a new scheme, which forgive me if this is the norm for people the country/world over, but it’s new to me. Usually we have our bins picked up weekly, but in an attempt to get people to stop wasting so much they’re changing it to fortnightly. It means that we have to use a compost bin instead that will be picked up weekly, and recycling and general waste will be picked up every two weeks.

So, it means we’re going to have to throw away less, or be smart about how we do it. Compost is new to me. Can I wrap food scraps in newspaper? How do I stop things from smelling {especially general waste that sits there for 2 weeks!}.

How do you have less waste? I wanna know all your secrets!

P.S. We recycle everything possible. We take bags shopping {I also want to find a solution for fresh produce instead of the bags}. We don’t drink coffee {so no coffee cups!} and use reusable water bottles. 

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  • Lauren Doherty

    Yay! Welcome to the anti-waste movement!!! In response to your questions, yes to newspaper in the compost. You can line your compost bin with it and then empty it all in to it. WE use ‘onya’ produce bags, a quick Google will point you in the right direction. When I’m using them people always comment about them. Set yourself up with a separate bin for all your soft plastics and take them along to your local Coles for recycling. Hope that helps!!!

    • PERFECT! Ok, soft plastics will have their own tub from this point forward. And I’ll check out ONYA.

      Is it weird that I’m suddenly a little bit excited about all of this?

      • Lauren Doherty

        Definitely not weird, it is exciting and you feel like you’re actually making a difference. Another one, which I’m yet to come on board with, is taking your own bread bag to the bakery when buying bread. I’ve seen a pattern online on how to sew one. Apparently bakers delight are more than happy to use your own bag for bread. You should definitely find the time to watch all three eps of war on waste. And if your girls are old enough watch it with them in the school holidays!!! My mind was blown and we thought we were doing a good job, but realised there was so much more we could be doing. Check your local councils website for different hints and tips too! I didn’t know that our council won’t recycle pizza boxes as they are soiled, but you can put them in the green waste bin instead!!! Once your eyes are open you seem to see articles, hints and tips everywhere!!!

  • I’ve been inspired since watching war of waste! I’m also interested to hear of people’s alternatives to produce bags. I always have left bigger items like bananas and cauliflower out of bags – all the items that don’t require – but things like beans you have to put them in something! I may check out onya as Lauren suggested below and see how I go 🙂

    Sarah | More Than Adored

    • Pauline

      I never understood people that put bananas in a plastic bag. They come in natures own handy packaging!

      • I complete agree! My mind is blown every time I see someone doing it.

        • I went to a grocery shop when traveling recently and they provided mesh bags – I wish more places did it. I’m not sure if people get to use/re-use them, or what happens. Big supermarkets need to come to the party too, maybe?

          • Milly Howells

            Yes we personally own Onya produce bags and they are going strong 7 years on, great investment and easy to remember as you just attach them to your reusable shopping bags with the little hook thingy. Otherwise if your handy with a sewing machine you can whip some up! I’m currently making some (actually 64 to be precise out of one set of sheer mesh IKEA curtains that were donated) for our newly formed not for profit called Plastic Wise Taroona in Tasmania. We are starting a bag library similar to boomerang bags. Here’s a picture of the first one! Pretty stoked with how they have come up. They are exactly 5g the same weight as a plastic produce bag you’d find in any shop so your not even paying for extra weight.

          • Lauren Doherty

            That’s awesome Milly!!!

          • Milly Howells

            Thanks Lauren, just trying to do our bit and help others break the plastic bag habit too ??

  • Every two weeks! Most weeks my bins are overflowing. I’ll struggle with that length {and I recycle and have a green waste already}. But I can we can always do better right! I’m following your thread to get some tips. In Canberra we’ve had no plastic bags for ages. I’m kind of shocked when I shop in another state. It becomes normal fast.

    • Our little town is plastic bag free, but the town is so small and some shops don’t really play along. I need to learn and do better, I think it will be a process!

  • Life At 101

    I think our area was one of the first to use the 3 bin system so we’ve had it this way for about 8 years I think. Our green waste gets collected weekly and general waste and recycling alternate weeks.
    We are fine with the green waste and usually recycling but struggle with general waste given that there are 7 of us… the bin is always overflowing so I am keen to reduce a lot of our waste too…but without huge outlay.
    And yes you can use newspaper for the green waste bin, our council also provide compostable green bags….we can use the green bin for more than food scraps and grass cuttings so check what else you can put in there!

    • How do you get more of the compost bags from the council? Do you have to go and buy them? That’s one thing I don’t know yet!

      • Life At 101

        The council deliver a pack of them every few months and if you need more in the meantime (like we always do!) you can pop into council and grab some! They’re free.

  • Michelle Gelston

    Flora and Fauna (website) have reusable produce bags, and reusable food wraps (instead of using cling wrap) they have lots of eco friendly and vegan products. I think thats a great idea with the council supplying compost bins, we only have two – recycling and normal rubbish. In Tassie they dont give out plastic bags anymore, we have to purchase them if we want them. I think every state should be like this. Although when i do online groceries, they still give me bags which i re-use but they need to come up with a better solution.

    • Oh yeah, I don’t like the home shop for that reason. I’d rather they just bring them in the tubs so I can unpack them from there. I wonder if we can make it happen somehow.

      • Life At 101

        It would be great if home delivery didn’t come in bags!!

  • War on Waste made me open my eyes and I am trying my best to reduce our waste. I am doing Plastic Free July and I think it is going to be much harder than I originally thought.

    • I think I might do July too. ✌?

      • Lauren Doherty

        There is a Facebook page ‘plastic free july’

  • Pauline

    We live rural since more than 2 years back and we don’t have any bin collection service! You learn really quickly on how to reduce waste. Most paper and cardboard go into our fireplace in winter. Scraps go to chickens. It’s not as hard as it seems. Good luck!

    • Oh wow, that’s impressive! I’m so impressed. What happens to your other waste? Do you bury it?

  • E.C.

    Our collection is fortnightly and it works fine. We have a smaller general waste bin than normal, and a large recycling bin and green bin. It was easier to transition to the one small fortnightly general waste bin than I’d expected. Basically, if you *have to*, you just get on with it and do it ?

    If anything the only issue we have with a bin being full is the recycling, as we recycle so much now to ensure room in the general waste bin for two weeks.

    An allowance is given for families with large numbers, or with family members in nappies or with medical waste, for an additional general waste bin. If this applies to you inquire with your council to apply for a special annual exemption bin (and sticker).

    To counteract the excess recycling I take any clean, good, interesting or colourful packaging/boxes into school or kindy for their ‘making area’ or repurpose stuff for around the home (kids’ craft, storage, propping up the wonky washing machine, etc!) ?

    We ensure we take all bottles and cans to the depot ourselves as we get 10c refund here in SA. Even though we are not big consumers of packaged drinks, the pile/money racks up quicker than we’d expect, (visitors often inadvertently contribute to this after weekend stays or dinner parties involving drinking) and we put that money towards family fun stuff.

    Soft plastics we take to a collection bin at our local supermarket. We have a little station in the meals area off the kitchen – one tub for boxes/general recyclables, a bin for cans/bottles, and a bin for soft plastics. Cardboard and paper we are not afraid to burn occasionally if it’s outside fireban, and conditions permit. Campfire-at-home waste removal is fun for the kids, too! Cue the marshmallows!

    For your food scraps – you can usually get inexpensively from your council purpose-made teen waste recycle bags which biodegrade, and a kitchen counter caddy. That way it’s easy – put the bag in the caddy, put the scraps in the bag, put the bag in the green bin (or compost). I’d advise against meat scraps and bones in your caddy though. Things like egg shells or toast crumbs are fine though!

    You can make your own reusable food wraps easily, using 100% cotton and clarified bees wax. We made them as a family, it was a fun activity and they really do work. You can also get reusable green grocery bags for produce. Look out for them online or at Farmers’ Markets.

    • Oh great advice! Thank you. We have the little bin for compost and the biodegradable bags too. What do you do with meat and bones – just put them in general waste? Do they small more?

      • E.C.

        Yep! Rotting meat, rancid fat, egg flesh (is it called ‘flesh’?!?) ? But yeah cooked or raw egg innards, anything fish related, and certain dairy waste will reek and make you want to vom, even in the caddy.

        I put them in general waste, yep! Our kitchen bin is as small as our caddy and on average we put three to four shopping bags of general waste in the small bin per fortnight (that’s for a family of three – one adult, two kids). I think we’re doing pretty well! And I’m so *not* a “huge effort person”. If anything I’m pretty slack… But once you get a routine set up and in the swing of things it becomes second nature.

        Look out, though, for the first time you forget to put the general waste bin out one fortnight ? I keep a colour-coded calendar on the fridge.

        Also our council does additional collections over the festive periods etc. which helps, to allow excess over Christmas Hols.

  • Leslie Alwiel

    We compost and recycle here in Portland, Oregon. I thought composting would be a difficult transition but it wasn’t. It’s worth the effort!

    • Do you wrap in newspaper from the kitchen to the bin? I’m sure I’ll get used to it – it will just be a matter of changing habits. ?

      • Leslie Alwiel

        No, we have a little bucket, with a lid, kindly supplied by the city. I fill it up and dump it in the bin outside and give it a quick rinse.

  • Tralee Aylett

    I’m all for war on waste. It’s 1x a week here in rural nsw. Recycling n green waste alternate. Because it’s only myself garbage goes out 1x a fortnight. I get veggies from the local market when i can (they are 1x a month) but we don’t have the bulk bins in my local supermarket out here unfortunately which makes it tricky

  • Kathryn Young

    Hi there. I too have been motivated by watching the ‘War on Waste’ shows. My family might even say I am obsessed.
    We have always recycled so much so we have the biggest recycle bin our council offer. And we have 2 compost bins in our backyard for vegie scraps.
    But since we watched War on Waste we are really mindful of the single use soft plastics. I wish I knew about soft pladtic recycling sooner. Using less of them is better than recycling so my family have made simple changes that make big impact. Using containers over ziplock bags, ordered produce bags from ONYA. Made sure both cars are stocked with our reusable jute shopping bags, even got a No Junk Mail sign for our letterbox. I’m looking into bamboo toothbrushes too. I just got tree free toilet paper wrapped in paper delivered to my door from WHO GIVES A CRAP. They donate 50% of their profits to building toilets for the 40% of the worlds population that don’t have toilets. It is posh 3 ply too people!!!!! No complaints from the family with the change – on par with Quilton!
    They do paper towel and tissues too.
    On the Gold Coast we found a store called ‘The Source’ that sells bulk food products that you can scoop what you need into paper bags they supply Or even better your own containers.

    As for stopping smelly bins. We have always kept a paper bag in the freezer to drop our meat scraps into and just drop it in the wheely bin the day it is going to be emptied. My parents have always done the same.

    I wish our council supplied smaller waste bins. To make us all think about what we are throwing out.

    Imagine the difference we can all make by small changes.


    • Life At 101

      I’ve been keen to buy that toilet paper too…I was impressed that it doesn’t have plastic packaging and that they deliver!! I’m going to go ahead and do it now!!!

  • meandtheyoung

    We don’t have a bin service either (same as one of your other readers). We have a local dump and we have to take our rubbish, it’s about a 5 minute drive. There are big recycling dumpsters but most people are too lazy to drive to two seperate bins. I have noticed they’ve been more full lately (the recycling ones) maybe everyone is getting inspired by War on Waste. We have chickens that eat all our food scraps though, and whatever they don’t something comes in the night to finish off… I don’t really like to think about that.

    The other really lovely thing about our neighbourhood tip, is it’s a great recycling centre for old toys/books/anything really. Someone leaves it out the front, and another person takes it. I even found a change table for our playgroup once.

  • I need to catch up on the episodes I missed. We live in a big apartment complex so our waste and recycling gets picked up once a week. I must look into composting though, it was really big in the states. , I always have a foldaway shopping bag on me and now I’m going to take it one step furtherand get onto those ONYA bags.

  • So interesting to hear all the ideas and strategies. I’m in New York (upstate, not city) Our bins get picked up weekly. Our recycling bin is usually overflowing, while the general trash is fairly empty. That could go to every other week easily. Hate that our area hasn’t gotten onto the no plastic bags bandwagon. I have onya bags for produce, though have to admit to forgetting them often. 🙁 And have big composting bins in the garden for all veggie and garden waste. Haven’t seen compost bins here like you now have, but have seen that in the U.K. Though our village does pick up garden waste on a regular basis. I never have any, it all goes in my garden compost bins. Will have to see if I can find a way to watch War on Waste!

  • Nat Le Fevre

    I’m going to invest in some bags from Onya so that I no longer use those wretched plastic bags at the greengrocer

    We recycle as much scrunchable plastic as we can and drop it off at the REDcycle bins close to us! It’s amazing how much of this plastic that exists!

  • Therese

    I work in waste management, as a waste educator at this point in time, so I am always happy to talk garbage 🙂 If there is a REDcycle bin anywhere near you (think Coles or Woolies or check out their website), then you can also recycle all your soft plastic bags like shopping bags, chip packets, pasta packets etc. There is actually heaps you can do to reduce your waste but it depends on how much effort you want to go to. If we really are serious about waste then we need to be serious about avoiding creating it in the first place. I think another big issue we have ultimately is that we still see waste as a waste and just want to get rid of it, rather than as materials that are a resource (although yep, there are some things that will never be anything other than waste).I am enjoying reading people’s opinions and experiences and I am glad you have raised this topic.

  • Anita Delaforce

    That’s how our waste system has been working for quite some time now (at least the 8 years I’ve been living in this house but I think probably close to 10 years since it was introduced.)

    Penrith Council was the first to introduce the 3 bin system and there was a negative whingy response to it initially. People just accelt it as normal now for the most part (some still complaon about smell, etc.) I never had any issues with smell even when Daws was in nappies so I suspect the whingers are not sorting their rubbish properly. Not to mention you’re supposed to flush the poo from nappies anyway!

    I keep my bio bin on the kitchen bench for easy access (Mum has hers under the sink) and usually double bag (in case I get lazy and don’t put it out for a couple of days!) Anything that might smell (meat, seafood, etc) we keep in bio bags in the freezer until bin day so that’s not an issue.

    I use reusable grocery bags and when I forget to take those in I always take the plastic grocery bags back next time to the REDcycle bin. I have recently started keeping bread and veggie bags to go back to the RED bin too.

  • I’m in Kentucky in the US and our city picks up trash bins (up to two per household) once a week. They also pick up recycling once a week (one bin). They charge extra for recycling so many people don’t bother. I think of the 10 houses I can see from our house, we are the only of those that opt to recycle. Our recycle bin is usually almost overflowing, while only about 1/4 of one of our trash bins is filled each week. I wish they would give us 2 recycle bins rather than trash, but until others get on board that will not be an option. (I should note I live in a fairly rural town of back-country folk so some still burn their trash. Trash piling up became an issue when people refused to pay for trash service, so now the city requires trash pickup to get water service and it has helped a TON!)

    We personally use a composting bin for what can be composted for the garden. We choose to use reusable grocery bags rather than plastic bags, though it’s not required (I wish it was). We try not to use straws when dining out. We do not buy bottled water. When shopping and making small purchases, we ask for our items to not be bagged if we didn’t bring our own bags. And I re-purpose a lot of items as well when possible for either crafts, storage, or what have you. Any electronics we get rid of go to the recycle center, as well as batteries.

  • Brittney S.

    I live in Western NY and any food that goes to waste/goes bad like bread that becomes moldy or old veggies or fruits we give to our chickens and what they don’t eat, it decomposes and makes the soil around the chicken coop really good.

    We have a recycle program that rewards us for how much we recycle. and can use the points to get coupons or gift cards off of the website. We use plastic grocery bags for garbage bags or to wrap up food extra well in our fridge or to put fresh veggies from our garden in. We reuse bread bags to put home made bread into or homemade rolls. As for our recycling they pick it up bi-weekly. we try not to waste too much and try to recycle what we can.

    Dad uses excess cardboard and Styrofoam to insulate sheds and the chicken coop.Our recycle program wont take Styrofoam for some reason so we use it to insulate out sheds and the chicken coop. Cardboard and styrofoam are actually better insulators by square inch than the fiber glass insulation you get in stores. We also use certain types of gallon jugs as watering cans.

  • littleangel

    That sounds awesome. I’m in Melbourne…wish my council would do it too!! What council are you in? Would live to find out more!