Did you know that on a per person basis, Australia is one of the highest producers of rubbish in the world? The huge amount of rubbish we produce has multiple effects on the environment, ranging from depleting natural, often non-renewable resources to requiring excessive amounts of energy to manage the waste.

Reducing waste can be easy, as long as you follow the waste minimisation hierarchy:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

The waste hierarchy shows the step of reducing waste as the most important step, followed by reusing, recycling and finally disposing of the waste as the last step.

Step 1: Reduce:

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place.

  • Did you know that the average household in NSW throws away $1,000 worth of food each year? A bit of planning goes a long way. Checking your fridge before you create your shopping list can prevent over-buying and wastage, while ensuring your food doesn’t expire before you use them. Check out Love Food Hate Waste for tips on shopping, managing your pantry, use-by dates and food storage.
  • Made too much for dinner? Pack it for lunch the next day or freeze it for another meal. Visit Taste for inspiration on turning dinner leftovers into new meals!
  • Set up a compost bin or worm farm for your fruit and vegetable scraps. This doesn’t just reduce the amount of food waste going into your red lid bin, but gives you some great compost and worm castings for your garden. Visit the Environment & Heritage website to learn more.
  • Did you know 5.6 million disposable nappies are used by Australians each day?!! That’s a whopping two billion disposable nappies that goes into landfill in Australia each year! Reusable cloth nappies have come a long way in the past decade. Whether using them part-time or full-time, they can help to reduce waste and odours in the garbage bin.

Step 2: Reuse:

Here’s some ideas for reducing your waste by reusing more:

  • Take a reusable shopping bag, basket or box with you when shopping. If you need to use a plastic bag, reuse it on your next trip or find other uses for it, such as turning it into your bin liner.
  • Switch to reusable versions of your single-use items, such as rechargeable batteries and reusable razors and nappies.
  • Buying or swapping your old clothes with friends and family can be a cheap and fun way to reduce waste. Check out the Planet Ark website to learn how you can host your own Swap Party.
  • If you are getting rid of good quality furniture, clothing or general knick-knacks, consider holding a garage sale, selling them online or donating to your local opportunity shop instead.

Step 3: Recycle:

Through your yellow lid bin and other recycling programs:

  • These recyclables go into your yellow lid bin paper, cardboard, metal cans, rigid plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars. Visit our Recycling Bin page for a complete list.
  • Recycle your empty printer cartridges at any Australia Post, Officeworks, Dick Smith Electronics, JB Hi Fi, The Good Guys and Harvey Norman outlet through Cartridges 4 Planet Ark.
  • Find a local supermarket which offers recycling facilities for plastic supermarket bags, such as Coles or Woolworths.
  • Visit our E-Waste RecyclingLight Globe & Battery Recycling and Chemical Cleanout pages to learn more about the Council’s other recycling programs.
  • Visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website for details on recycling mobile phones, computers, corks and more.