Category Archives: waste management

Waste not want not…

I came across this article yesterday Do Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food each year?

The title of the artcle was enough to disturb me little lone the content of the article.  So how many of us are guilty of wasting food?  I’ll be honest I’ve done it myself.  So why do we do it?  Quite often people don’t check the pantry or fridge before they go shopping,  we have lost the art of using leftovers, we cook too much food, we buy a take-away instead of using what we have at home or we mistakenly throw out food before the use-by/best-before date.

A couple of months ago, along with other waste management/sustainability officers, I met Jon Dee.

Jon Dee

Jon Dee (black suit) is located in the centre and I’m  on the side (in red)

Jon Dee known in my profession for being one of the co-founders of Planet Ark and has now put his energies into Do Something!. This is an organisation that empowers people to make social and environmental changes.  Jon Dee spoke of a new campaign ‘FoodWise‘.

‘FoodWise’ is DoSomething’s national campaign to reduce the environmental impact of Australia’s food consumption. The main ethos behind it is for Australians to become more educated and informed about the food that they eat.

Did you know?…

  • Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase.
  • Up to 40% of the average household bin is food.
  • For the average Australian household $1036 of food is thrown away per year.

The website that has been created for this website is great and is very informative.  One of my favourite aspects of the site is the Recipe Finder.  This is where you enter the ingerdients that you have in your fridge or pantry and it will give recipes that will use some or all of the ingredients that you have entered.

Food Security and Food Waste is certainly  a hot topic of discussion within my professional circle at the moment.  I do believe the more we educate the more aware people will become.  For some it is just a matter of changing bad habits for others it might be learning about using leftovers.  However we need to keep this topic out there.   Dealing with food scraps left on a plate I believe is a total different conversation.  We need to stop the waste before that stage!

Back In My Day…

"Food is a Weapon - Don't Waste it" ...
“Food is a Weapon – Don’t Waste it” – NARA – 513830 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have noticed and even been involved of late with this new “revolution” to try and educate people on food waste, how it can be avoided in the first place and if you do have food waste how can it be responsibly recycled.  In the last couple of weeks through various meetings and workshops I have realised this is certainly not a new “revolution”.  I guess I take it for granted because I have always been quite mindful of waste and things like food scraps I have always placed in my kerbside organics collection, composted, placed in the worm farm or even given to our animals.  What I have come across and would like to share are the most gorgeous vintage posters.

These posters were around during the period of WWI and WWII, when rationing was a part of everyday life.  Hence the title of this blog “Back In My Day…”.  I can just hear my grandparents saying this now as we take on this issue as if it has never been addressed before.  It just goes to show we can learn a lot from our elders.

If you would like to see the many posters that were designed around this time just Google “vintage food waste posters”.  Although they had a serious message some are quite funny in this day and age (in the sense of the roles that men and women had in society at the time).

Domestic Waste Management…

One of the biggest issues I deal with on a daily basis in my day job is domestic waste management.  I’ll admit sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating that people are just not getting the message about the 5 Rs… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Redistribute.

I will be quick to mention that waste management in my household is not perfect. However I think we do a pretty good job with a household of six. The little ones are still getting use to separating the waste but it is a work in progress.

For those that don’t know about our kerbside waste service we have a 120Lt general waste bin, a 240Lt recycling bin and a 240Lt organics bin through NAWMA (Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority).  I am amazed by the amount of people who tell me this is not enough.  Personally I would be lucky to fill up my general waste bin on a weekly basis.  Whereas my other two fortnightly bins (recycling and organics) are usually bursting at the brim to be emptied every fortnight.  However before I look to purchase another recycling or organics bin (an option that is available to us) I really need to look at ways I can reduce or find alternative ways to recycle.

Cans and bottles, clothes and food scraps are most probably the easiest things I can dispose of without having to place in the kerbside waste.  Cans and bottles we collect and cash in, clothes we donate and foodscraps quite often get placed in our worm farm.

At the moment we have a couple of tables and a matress to get rid of but I have taken advantage of a “free” (it is paid for within rates) hard waste service that our local council offer.  This offer allows us to until the end of the year to get rid of one 6×4 trailer at the local transfer station.

I guess some of the things that I or we could improve upon in the household is recycling soft plastics.  I guess I’ve been a little slack in implementing that “rule” into the house and making it happen.  I do hope the other supermarket chains pick it up as I tend not to shop at the big multi-nationals (for ethical reasons).

Domestic waste management does require discipline.  Even for the people who live, work and breathe sustainability.  However if a household of six can manage with the bins that the local council give us and the programs that are available for recycling on top of that I’m sure that most can.  Do a little research on your local council’s website,  “google” recycling for your area, you will be surprised with what’s out there.

Recommended Reading…

101 Ways to Recycle Everyday Household Items

Domestic Waste Management

Domestic Waste Management

Cover of "Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Se...
Cover via Amazon

Worms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System