The topic about how to minimize waste and live in a more environmentally friendly community has arisen recently with bold words. Almost every supermarket has stopped using plastic bags. Cafes and restaurants especially around windy areas, which Wellington is famous for, have replaced plastic straws with alternatives or discouraged people to use any at all. All this effort is an extra step and also a good example of how we have to start thinking about adapting to a less wasteful lifestyle and become more responsible in our everyday shopping habits.
I admit sometimes I feel also confused about soft plastic. Should I collect it in a bag so I can drop it off at the supermarket soft plastic collection bins or should it go in the general waste as it has some kind of lining? I feel guilty when have to chuck my coffee cup or any food scraps in the waste bin, but really, I try my best to reduce organic matter and use up most of the produce. There is always one step further to be considered and even a little would contribute to reducing global pollution and give positive examples to our inheritors.
When China stopped taking any foreign rubbish the situation became more tricky and tense so let’s roll up our sleeves, put in a little effort, embrace producing less waste and help, as individuals, our kids to live in a less polluted world.
What can I do?
I’ve came across some research about the most popular products in the rubbish bins of New Zealanders and surprisingly to me, the Kiwi household throws out mainly bread, fruit and vegetables that are past their best. Why there is such a huge waste of food when in comparison to some parts of Asia there are people living on a scoop of rice each day or even not having any? Can’t we be more cautious and make a meal plan or just not overdo our shopping with cheap processed foods and fill the pantry with products but rather buy fresh ingredients or become a good friend with your freezer and stock it up.
Here is a list with a few tips that I find helpful:
- Plan your meals and stick to it, when shopping.
- Don’t enter the supermarket if you are hungry.
- Avoid buying products in unnecessary plastic or even better use mesh bags for fruits and veggies.
- Use glass or plastic reusable containers, beeswax wraps or just cover with a tea towel any leftovers instead of cling wrap and tin foil.
- Understand “Use-by” and “best-before” dates! After a use-by date the food is NOT SAFE to be eaten. Food CAN be eaten after the best-before date, if stored properly. However it might not taste the best and if there any signs of deterioration, don’t eat the contents.
- Freeze your bread if overstocked.
- Use any cut off from veggies to add to your stock. If not planning to do it soon just freeze them and use them on demand.
- Check again what soft plastic is and how you can recycle it. For your convenience here is a link to the Kapiti district information sheet: Kapiti waste and recycling info
- Use a compost bin or worm farm to compost any organic waste.
Another way to help pollution might be to pick up rubbish from the playground, beach or any other place that you pass by or visit. The majority of the waste you see has been blown away or probably teenagers have shown off to one another by disobeying the rules and left bottles here and there. Remember we all have been through that but we all need positive reminders and examples as well.
There shouldn’t be only special events and days where people become more conscious and get together to collect rubbish. Little by little, we can all try to firstly reduce, reuse and recycle our waste and secondly be a positive model to our children and pick up garbage that it’s not ours as much as we can.
Let’s get involved in the global reduction of waste and help having cleaner environment.