Waste is something that I feel our household has always managed quite well. In the northern suburbs of Adelaide, we have what is known as NAWMA; the Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority. Every residential property across every council north of the city is allocated three different bins; a waste bin (black), a garden and organics bin (green) and a recyclables bin (yellow). Each bin has a lid with symbols and information as to what can and cannot go into each bin. We also have free hard refuse collection one every six months, where everyone leaves their larger items on the side median strips along the roads and this is collected by the council.
In our house, we have a bin in the kitchen which is separated into three compartments – organics, plastics / paper and other waste. As Adelaide has forbidden free plastic bags when we buy our groceries now – this has been a very popular idea, believe it not – we buy liners. So unfortunately there is always some plastic waste – but we do try to buy the biodegradable bags where we can.
We shred important documents and use for gardening; and we get 10 cents back for every plastic bottle or paper carton that we take to the recycling depot – a good incentive to save these up and recycle them! South Australia is the only state to offer this service.
At university, we’re encouraged to print double-sided on paper (printing is actually cheaper if we select this option) and if we return our used ink cartridges to a store that sells ink (depending on which store, the offers vary), we tend to also get 10% off our next ink cartridge purchase.
So there are lots of little things that we do, as a household and also on a city-wide basis. Recently, my work stopped automatically printing receipts for people if they were purchasing five items or less, with the touch screen computers asking the customer to select whether they would indeed like one. Most of the time, they actually say no. It’s amazing the little things that build up and make a difference!