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Plastic Free July: More Ideas

At home, community, waste

By Ann Brain, Wangaratta Sustainability Network

Thank you to Wendy Baker for her suggested ways of avoiding single-use plastics (Living Lightly 21/6/17). Plastic Free July is a great way to get ideas and get motivated to reduce plastic in our everyday lives. The challenge is to avoid all single-use plastics or the top four; supermarket bags, coffee cups, water bottles and straws.

I’ve always struggled with the justification some people use for bringing home plastic supermarket bags i.e. they think it’s okay because they use it to line their kitchen bin. However, where do all these bags go? To landfill.  So I’ve been thinking, do we need a bin liner at all?

We’ve finally come up with a solution in our house, ensuring we no longer need a bin liner for our general waste kitchen bin i.e. the bin we empty into our red-lidded kerbside bin.

This is how we do it – all organic waste, that is fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, egg shells etc go into our compost bin, worm farm or the kitchen caddy provided by council to go in the green lidded kerbside bin. We put meat scraps in one of Council’s green compostable bags and leave them in the freezer until bin collection day (to avoid it going off and getting smelly).  If you have a dog to help out that’s even better.

If you dedicate your general waste kitchen bin to being a clean and dry bin, there’s no need for a bin liner. Loose, clean items do not need to be wrapped up or contained in a bag. Just tip the contents straight from the kitchen bin into the red-lidded bin.

If you have some ‘wet’ items such as nappies or sanitary items which require wrapping, they can be put in compostable bags (available from most supermarkets), then into the red-lidded bin.

For wet or dirty items, such as gladwrap or packaging, rinse out and air dry or wipe dry. Most of our general waste is now soft plastics. Currently recycling of soft plastics is limited outside the larger cities, but hopefully they will soon be more readily available in North East Victoria.

Best of all, avoid buying products in plastic in the first place – and enjoy a Plastic Free July!

For more information see:  www.plasticfreejuly.org and www.wangarattasustainability.org