In light of National Recycling Week, new revelations have blown the lid off REDcycle’s recycling program, leaving many of us wondering if our recycling efforts are actually helping the environment, and it begs the question of what we can do to make sure our recycling contributions count. That’s why we’ve compiled 3 easy, guaranteed ways to live more sustainably.
Recent news has unveiled the shortcomings of REDcycle’s program, revealing that hundreds of millions of plastic bags and soft plastics that Aussies dropped off at Coles and Woolies ended up stacked in warehouses in what’s been considered a major fire safety hazard. This comes as a massive disappointment to customers who diligently provided their plastics for recycling in hopes of reducing pollution – after all, plastic is one of the worst offenders when it comes to overloading landfill and driving global warming, and we’re unintentionally buying more of this stuff than ever.
Even fruit and veggies end up wrapped – sometimes double wrapped! – in plastic, and our love affair with this stuff is driving a host of environmental issues. Every year, 8 trillion tonnes of plastic pollute our oceans, and they’re accountable for 80% of the debris found in the ocean and 100, 000 deaths of marine life each year. We’re also at risk when we consume plastic waste that seeps into our food and water sources, resulting in out-of-balance hormones and inflammation. In fact, studies have shown long-term exposure is devastating to the endocrine system, leading to issues with reproductive function. For those of you looking to live more sustainably without the pitfalls of relying on misleading companies – we’ve got just the solution. Here at I Quit Sugar we believe there’s never been a better time to buy less, use more and reuse everything we can – here’s how.
One of the first steps to reducing your plastic output is to cut down on your buys – opt for produce without plastic wrapping and choose bulk products over smaller, individually-wrapped portions. Going to a farmers’ market is another way to ensure your buys aren’t drowning in plastic, along with joining a co-operative. Signing up to a co-op is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your food and plastic wastage while also cutting down on your spendings – after all, money is a major barrier to buying fresh produce, and is often the reason many of us end up buying heavily-processed breads, cereals and chips packaged in excessive amounts of plastic. With inflation at its highest in nearly 30 years and grocery prices up by 10%, it’s no small number of people struggling to make ends meet for their weekly shop. Co-operatives offer an affordable bridge for a variety of financial situations, and open the door to accessing fresh, whole foods for a fraction of the cost. Membership can cost as little as $5 a month, for instance the Manly Co-op in Sydney offers zero waste, organic produce, while allowing members to volunteer and contribute further to sustainability and the global fight against waste.
Composting is a simple, fun and useful way to prevent food wastage, promote sustainability and get a powerhouse plant fertiliser while you’re at it. Aussies go through a lot of food waste with the average household wasting 28% of food purchases and the average Aussie putting out just under 550 kilos of rubbish every year. But it’s not just an Aussie issue, around the world half of fruit and veggie produce is wasted – which contributes to climate change due to the methane these scraps release. That’s where composting comes into play – instead of dumping your waste in the bin, set up a compost heap in the backyard or an indoor caddy if you’re living in an apartment. Take a look at some of the foods you can add to your compost:
- Fruit and veggie scraps
- Teabags and ground coffee
- Egg shells
- Grass, leaves and plant cuttings
Now you’re ready to get composting – here’s how to do it:
- First, choose a spot for your heap – near a water source and partially shaded is ideal.
- Mix your brown materials (leaves, branches, coffee grounds) with greens (fruit and veggie scraps) in a 3 to 1 ratio.
- Give your compost some moisture, but be sure not to waterlog it.
- After a while, you may start to see steam coming out of your compost heap – this is good.
- When the compost is dark and has no visible bits of food scraps, it’s ready to be used. It works well anywhere you’d use soil, and it happens to be highly nutritious food for plants!
Reuse wherever possible
You can easily reuse ingredients – instead of throwing out leftovers, freeze them to use as needed. You’ll no longer have to worry about not eating veggies before they go off, or wasting in excess soup stock that you know you’ll never be able to use before the use-by-date. This is where your freezer comes in – you’ll get more out of your dollar and send less food to landfill. You can freeze anything from meat to bread, fruits and veggies – you can even freeze grains like rice. Meal prepping is another way to cut down on wastage and reduce your plastic consumption, as you’ll be cooking more at once, there will be little need to buy more smaller-portioned, plastic-wrapped products during the week. Rather than draining electricity, gas and water by cooking 3 meals a day, every day of the week, you can simply choose a day to prepare all of the week’s food and store them in the fridge or freezer, taking each portion out as needed. With a study showing Aussies lose around 6 hours to cooking each week, you’ll not only save energy and prevent wastage, but you’ll save time too.
Keen for more health tips and tricks? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!