Source: ‘Your Guide to Becoming a No Waste Household’ ACT Government (2006)

This July, I am aiming for our family to halve our rubbish output. That means we will need to reduce:

  • 3 bins of general waste down to 1.5 bins a month, and
  • 2 bins of recycling, down to 1 full bin a month.

Sound easy?

I think it is going to be challenging! We already compost our food scraps (which apparently fills up to half of many Australian bins). So how are we going to reduce the rest and why bother trying in the first place?


  • Waste generation has increased by 31 per cent to 43.8 million tonnes over the period 2002-03 to 2006-07.
  • Food waste in landfill generates methane (25 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon).
  • Australian cities are running out of landfill space.


Less plastic bags. Not just the shopping bag variety, but also the numerous other items sold in plastic bags, such as loaves of bread, potatoes, carrots and a whole variety of other fresh fruit and vegetables.

Apparently plastic bags can take up to 450 years to break down and in that time can become serial killers, as animals often mistake bags for food, after the animal dies and decomposes the bag is released back into the environment to kill again (Clean up Australia, May 2011).

Less packaging. So many things are pre-packaged, sometimes with multiple layers. Take for example cereal, cake mixes and snack food items.  Apparently every Australian throws away an average of 165 kilograms of product packaging each year! (Clean Up Australia, May 2011). Buying in bulk would help, but I am only aware of two places in Canberra where I can do that.

If you could give me any further ideas on how we could reduce our waste and places to bulk buy – I would love your help!

For more information or to take action see:

Clean Up Australia

Food Wise

National Waste Policy (Australia)