Waste Reduction Tips

Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program

We're halfway through the Waste Reduction Challenge!

To keep you going, we've collected the best tips of the week to further reduce waste around the house and neighbourhood.

1. Take care of your clothing, and consider second-hand or vintage when looking for new items.
White shirts looking a little grey? Instead of buying new ones, aim to spend a few minutes whipping up a natural whitener and freshening up your existing ones. Consider a chemical-free whitener such as lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda or washing soda. Using ingredients like these mean that you know exactly what's in your detergents and where they came from. You also reduce the waste that comes from regular detergents' plastic packaging (made from petrochemicals) and shipping from overseas.
Every kilo of cotton requires between 9,000 and 23,000 litres of water to produce (Global Water Network), along with quite high amounts of fertiliser and pesticides. As such, reducing the amount of clothing bought, looking after what you already have and buying vintage or second hand where possible can all reduce waste in your life while doing a huge favour for the environment!

2. Consider sustainable alternatives that require little or no effort on your behalf
- Batteries contain many harmful metals and chemicals that make them toxic when disposed of improperly. Rechargeable batteries will save you money over their lifespan and have to be thrown out far less than their disposable counterparts- making them far less environmentally damaging.
- CDs and DVDs, while sometimes nice to have, require resources to make and are hard to recycle- while the plastic can be recycled, the metallic coating needs to be removed by specialised equipment. Given how prone disks are to scratching or breaking, and the amounts of packaging and shipping they require, legally downloading music and movies is the more sustainable option.
- In terms of gifts, try to avoid buying small 'token' gifts that often wastefully sit around unused. Instead, consider gifting an experience instead- be it a movie voucher or something else, less waste is created without the creation, packaging, shipping and disposal of an unloved trinket.

3. Avoid food waste with these top tips.

Avoid storing fruits and vegetable together in the fruit bowl or fridge- many fruits produce a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the ripening (and spoiling) process of vegetables. Additionally, vegetables need to breathe in storage, so store them (not too packed together) in reuseable mesh bags. Avoid washing fresh produce until you're ready to eat it- the water can cause early spoiling. To help, buy produce loose in the amount needed as opposed to pre-packed- you don't need the extra packaging or likely even the whole amount. As a bonus, buying loose is often cheaper!

Finally, consider the resources that have gone into your food when you're disposing of it- fresh produce, meat and dairy products all take huge amounts of resources to grow. Throwing out a kilo of beef that you forgot you had means that the 15,000-17,000 litres of water that were used to grow it are also wasted. As such, avoid food waste wherever possible and try to set up a compost bin, worm farm or bokashi bin to recycle nutrients when food isn't consumed.

The following weekend, June 13, is the final event for Sustainable Neighbourhoods in 2015! We'll have some lunch, mingle with all the participants in the lovely Whites Valley Creek Park and even take home some seedlings from the nursery and the food forest to get your own sustainable garden started. See below for event details.

Sustainable Neighbourhoods Final Event

Saturday, June 13th, 1-3pm

Whites Creek Valley Park, Annandale, New South Wales, Australia

Annandale, NSW

To celebrate the end of the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program in 2015 we'll be holding a final event in the Food Forest at Whites Creek Valley Park in Annandale. At this event participants can meet like-minded locals, enjoy some delicious food and take home a seedling or two to get their own sustainable garden (and neighbourhood) started. We'll also award fantastic prizes to our winners on the day!

To complement the Waste Reduction Challenge, we've teamed up with Treading Lightly to bring you the Ladies' Accessories Swap on June 6- an event based on sharing and recycling that gets you some great new pieces!

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If you're not in the market for new ladies' accessories, the Mort Bay Community Garden is holding an open day the same day (June 6). Their fantastic volunteers will be there to chat about and demonstrate anything from transplanting, rotating veggie crops, composting, worm farming or bush care. So take advantage of local knowledge to find out what will grow in our local area and how to grow it... All while meeting new people and getting out and enjoying the sunshine.

Leichhardt Council's Sustainable Neighbourhoods

Leichhardt Council was the second council in NSW to become certified as carbon neutral, and is committed to remaining carbon neutral and to improving the environment of our local area through various projects. The Energy Savings Challenge aims to help residents reduce energy use and improve their environmental footprint.