I’ve written a before about how we have been working on reducing our household waste (here).
We have made quite a few changes to our routine and shopping list in order to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce. Although we recycle, we consider this to be rubbish and we want to reduce the amount in our recycling bins.
Because we (ie Monte) take our rubbish to the tip, we are very aware of how much waste we produce regularly. It is very easy, when your rubbish is collected weekly, to not think about your rubbish because it gets whisked away and you no longer have to deal with it. When you have to actively handle and dispose of your rubbish, and see the local rubbish dump regularly, you really start thinking about your waste.
One of the secrets to self sufficiency is being able to manage your own rubbish. Actually it’s not a secret. But you get the idea. Because our long term goal is to be self sufficient, we need to think about our waste, and we may as well start now.
Changes we have made
One of the key things of reducing your waste and being self sufficient is to produce your own stuff. We make our own yogurt. Because we go through around 4kg of yogurt each week, that’s a lot of rubbish we’re cutting. Another thing we’re making ourselves is sparkling water. Because I’m hopelessly addicted to bubbly water, I’m making my own, using our soda stream, rather than buying bottles from the shop.
We compost all paper waste. You can use cardboard as a weed mat under mulch. You can shred paper for chook layer boxes and compost. You can plant seeds/seedlings in toilet rolls and then plant them straight into the ground.
Using cloth nappies is the only way you can avoid the waste from nappies. I find them much preferable to disposable nappies for lots of reasons. Using reusable wipes reduces rubbish even more, and using biodegradable nappy liners makes everything seamless. I can’t recommend them enough.
We are using powdered milk. Sure, we still have the rubbish from the bags the powder comes in, but we are not having to deal with those huge milk bottles (we go through 12L of milk each week). It’s a bit cheaper and tastes good (I know this because our fussiest eater prefers the powder milk!).
Avoid items that are packed in plastic. It’s hard to do, but if you avoid buying meat, veges, baked goods etc that are packaged in plastic, you won’t have to deal with the waste. Doing this has meant thy we no longer order items that come to us packaged in plastic, such as donuts, chicken and other meat products. It hasn’t worried us, not having these things. We either produce our own meat or buy sausages and ethical chicken from the butcher. I miss donuts, but my waist will thank me one day.
You can reduce your rubbish by buying in bulk. We are still working this part out, but if you buy your dry goods and beans, fruit etc in bulk, you can preserve and store it in a more environmentally friendly way. We have some plans in the pipeline for this, and I’ll write about it one day.
Of course, growing your own food is the best way to reduce waste. And it saves money. And it’s nice doing the gardening (says Monte, who’s the main gardener around here).
That’s it for now. I’m going to go wash some nappies!