We’ve settled into our new way of life at home at Reframe Waste, it’s amazing how quickly as humans we can adapt to challenges and work out ways to maintain the things that are significant to us. I’ve found that I’ve actually been cooking a whole lot more and have connected back to some old routines that I’d fallen out of the habit of doing.

We hope that you’re making it work with your physical distancing and finding ways to create stability and support from your loved ones during this difficult time. In Post 2, we’re going to be grabbing our waste diaries and taking a look at the entries from over the past week and see what our current patterns are in our lifestyles!

Waste Diaries

Step One: What did you record?

Have you done your homework? No worries if it wasn’t a precise record every single day, since we’ll be taking a deep dive into your bins shortly and we’ll really see what’s there. For me, the part of recording my purchases was more interesting than my waste streams, as even though I feel like I’m fairly conscious of my decisions, there’s still a few aspects that I’d like to shift.

A week in the life of Liz’s kitchen in March 2020:

Wednesday

  • Homemade museli mix – reduced packaging by making in bulk.
  • Made tahini and peanut butter with food processor – lots of plastic packaging, need to find a source of bulk bags or jar purchasing within budget.
  • Mushroom bucket from Mushroom Head – re-usable for multiple pink oyster mushroom crops!
  • Eating leftovers.

Thursday

  • Using up fridge leftovers to cook up a batch of potato, leek and kale soup – only waste stream was compostable.
  • Pumpkin muffins for volunteering with new muffin compostable liners

Friday

  • Homemade oatmeal mix – reduced packaging by making in bulk.
  • Food shopping for the fortnight at Aldi and Megacontinental Wholesale
  • Thai takeout – re-using containers for food storage.

Saturday

  • Homemade pumpkin sourdough for breakfast
  • Pumpkin muffins for volunteering with new muffin compostable liners
  • Eating leftovers for lunch
  • Spicy lentil pasta – used dried red lentils, tinned tomatoes and packet pasta.

Sunday

  • Eating leftovers for lunch
  • Tinned tomato can from Shakshuska, composted egg shells and veggie offcuts.

Monday

  • Eating leftovers for lunch
  • Red lentil and sweet potato soup, composted burnt toast. 🙁

Tuesday

  • Homemade sourdough
  • Ramen – using bulk packet of noodles to reduce packaging waste, composted egg shells.

Step Two: What was purchased?

One sneaky way that waste can creep into your lifestyle is by how the products that are sourced or purchase may inherently have some components that are utilised only for the transportation of goods.

Grab a camera and take a photo of items that you’ve sourced over the past week. Pick one of the major areas that you’ve bought over the last week, and ask yourself how does it stack up against these questions:

  • What immediately goes in the bin before you use it?
  • Are there ways around it?
  • Are there product alternatives within your budget?
  • What alternative destinations can you source this from?

For my kitchen, this week was the stock up of our food supply for the coming fortnight, with fresh produce and pantry staples.

Let’s take a look at my thoughts about one of my culprits – plastic packaging!

  • Some produce items at Aldi (kale, salad mixes, cabbage) I can’t place in my own green bags.
  • Could try sourcing whole cabbages that aren’t pre-cut and wrapped, grabbing loose salad mixes and kale bunches.
  • Food markets are currently unavailable due to restrictions, however there are some options for home delivery like Food Connect and drive-thru veggies at pubs like The Wholesale Fruit Co at The Glen Hotel!
  • Already transitioning to growing more of my own greens, as we go through a lot of them!

Step Three: Let’s take an even closer look!

Before taking my bins out, I had a look to see what was in each of the different waste streams that I have set up for our flat. At the moment, our living space has become a work from home office for my partner, so it was a little difficult to set up a full waste sorting and audit station. If you have the space, I’d recommend grabbing a tarp like we did over our Christmas series (day 18) and dividing the area into the following five categories.

  • Recycling (Paper/cardboard, metal tins, hard plastic)
  • CDS
  • Soft plastics
  • Food waste
  • General waste

What’s in your general waste bin!

Grab a set of gloves and pick out an item from your general waste bin. The first question to ponder is whether this is in the right space? Not sure? Take a look at the waste sorting diagrams below to see which direction it is best suited to go! We want to avoid things going into this bin as it will head straight to landfill. Curious about learning more about the other waste streams destinations, check out Day 15 in our Christmas series!

Pocket Guide collated from RedCycle
Pocket Guide collated from Containers for Change

Continue to rummage through your recycling bins and CDS collection and try to allocate each item as best as you can!

Take a photo of any items that were in the wrong spot, seem to be the biggest in volume and what your sorted waste looked like, as we’re going to need this for reference for a few more exercises down the line.

A quick reflection…

Looking at the picture of your waste as a whole, do you see items that stick out to you? Are there things that you’ve been intending to change but they’ve fallen by the wayside with your busyness? For the coming week, there are two small reflective tasks to complete that will start to generate some momentum for moving forward.

1. Pick one item that you’ve had previous intentions to change

Do you had any information recorded for your reference from your previous efforts? Can you remember why you wanted to make this change? Have a think and write down what you think the obstacle is for you making this change a reality?

2. Pick one item that you use a lot

Time to do some research! Find out if there are alternative products available that may be able to work for your budget.

Share with us!

Let us know what your rubbish bin looks like! Is it what you expected from your reflections last week? Or were there a few items that snuck their way in?

Today’s feature image showcases the creative ways that I’ve been able to reduce our waste generation in our household with effective sorting and management that we’re able to stick with!

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