Avoiding the creation of waste in the first place is the front line of managing the problem. This relies on changing the way we live our lives. The choices we make determine our waste footprint and stem from our purchasing decisions to our storage, consumption and discard behaviour.
The critical questions are Do I really need this? and How long will it last?
The key principle is one of quantity. You should ask yourself:
- How little can I buy, based on my consumption, so my waste is minimised? (This goes to food as much as anything else)
- Do I have the storage capacity for the unused portion?
- Will the remaining portion deteriorate before I get to use it? (food, paint, chemicals, medicines, fuel - just about everything has an expiry date)
The other issue is packaging. You should ask:
- Can I buy the same product with less packaging or recycled packaging?
- Is there a bulk option that lets me use my own container?
Finally, the question of whether something contains less harmful components than its competitors, how much recycled material is in the item or maybe whether the company has an end-of-life recycling program in place (we call this product stewardship) are all important considerations. For more detailed information and suggestions see our Shop Smart section.
If attending major events such as Skyworks, please ensure that you avoid taking any waste with you. Check out our Skyworks page for ideas.
And let's not forget the humble garage sale...which can have a mjaor impact on the amout of waste to landfill and re-distribution of resources. In 2013, a program called Garage Sale Trail will go national and Western Australia, through the Waste Authority, is contributing to this valuable initiative. To find out more, click here.