A little over a month ago, after recovering from an indulgence of wine, chocolates and delicious holiday food, I sat down to think about my goals for 2018. What was it that I wanted to achieve this year?
The decision was almost instant. I wanted to adapt to a new way of living, that would allow me to reduce the amount of rubbish I was throwing away each week.
Living in a large house with my partner and my older brother while also renting out two rooms on Airbnb meant there were always a lot of people in the house and with a lot of people, comes a lot of waste. There were times where the bins (both recycling and general waste) were so full, that the rubbish was being stored under the stairs, waiting for quieter weeks. This had to stop!
I decided that I would first start out by separating my organic waste from the general waste. This had always been something I wanted to give a try but had had two many bad experiences of pesky fruit flies invading the kitchen in the past. And anyway, there was no way we generated that much organic waste, right? WRONG!
I was shocked at how fast our organic bin was being filled up. Granted, it is about half the size of the other bins. The funny thing is, I only got the organic bin as a little experiment, expecting it not to catch on, but it really was a success. Everybody began to use it, with very little nagging on my part. I use compostable bin liners so that when the food goes in the wheelie bin outside, it doesn’t start to stink all nasty.
(TIP: bring the whole bin with you outside when emptying, the compostable bags are more likely to rip on you, and the last thing you want is a load of organic waste on your carpet).
Not only did separating out the organic waste take a large chunk out of the weekly general waste, it also triggered the next phase of my waste transformation – observation and awareness.
Because we now had one separate bin for food waste, there was no more hiding from how much food was actually being thrown away. We never were huge food wasters, but there is always room for improvement.
After just one week, it was abundantly clear what our biggest culprits were – gone off bread and forgotten leftovers. Now, whether this observation has resulted in us just eating a lot more food (rather than letting it go bad) or actually reducing the food being bought, I cannot yet confirm. The point is, that there is much less waste. We are always using what we are buying.
These days, the organic bin is generally filled with leftovers from food preparation – egg shells, potato skins and occasionally my burnt dinner (something to improve on for next year).
So, if you are not doing so already, why not start separating your organic waste? Many cities now offer an organic waste option making it a simpler task to undertake. There are other options out there for those of you who don’t have this service.
If you have a back garden, or even a front one for that matter, why not try making your own compost heap? There are tons of helpful videos online these days.
Try it out and see how separating your organic waste can kick start your waste reduction journey!