The world is on track to triple its garbage by 2100. Aargh, it will exceed 11 million tonnes a day. Whoa, that’s a lot of mess. You care about the state of the Earth for tomorrow’s generations and want to banish needless wastage, but life is full on. How can you practically do more? Here are some resources to help with how to fight wastage of food and natural resources.
The wastage problem is HUMONGOUS. So what can we do about it? As individuals, we do have a role to play. Every little bit counts.
People genuinely care, but often don’t know how to reduce wastage.
Learn to reuse, repurpose, and rethink
The problem worldwide is that wastage going to landfills takes up a lot of space on the Earth’s surface.
Garbage break-down can go on for centuries in landfills! Then, there is the leachate from the waste that potentially contaminates water and land resources, which means further wastage.
As well, landfills produce 18% of total methane emissions, which, unless harnessed as an energy source, is further wastage.
Note that methane is 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 100 year period — Another reason to reuse, repurpose, and rethink before you purchase and avoid wastage is that it helps fight the extremes of climate change.
The wastage problem is BIG!!!
A single Australian person, for example, can produce 2.1 tons of solid waste a year for disposal (2006-07 figures). This wastage has almost doubled in the previous decade.
Half of all food produced becomes wastage, according to Huffington Post, 10 January 2013. That’s a staggering amount!!…. About 1.3 billion tons (~1.2 B tons) per year of wastage. The disposal of wastage consumes landfill, and the degradation produces greenhouse gas emissions.
How to deal with this ourselves?
- One – commit to only buy what you need; shopping lists and meal plans help;
- Two – store foodstuffs properly and check use-by-dates – also budget and health benefits;
- Three – instead of landfill disposal, compost food scraps – ideal for your garden.
- Four – use leftovers.
- Five – access resources that assist with wastage reduction.
Sad for your health – SAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
There are hidden toxins in many everyday household products. These can also harm our environment, so it makes double the sense to avoid them.
Investigate your air fresheners, cleaners, food additives, and beauty products.
Washing your face, brushing your teeth and scrubbing your body can be hurting, not only yourself but also the environment.
Only recently… the US intends banning plastic micro-beads from personal care products and other places are gearing up for a campaign against the use of plastic micro-beads.
Plastic micro-beads are not filtered out of our treatment systems, enter the aquatic systems and pass along the food chain. We are ultimately the top of that food chain.
How to make a difference
Here’s the thing. In my parents’ day, society was based on a one income family. They had less money and more accessible time than is the norm today. People were innovative then and repaired or re-purposed items, e.g. old vehicle tires made good as swings and garden edges, milk bottle tops as Christmas decorations, and things were mended or ‘handed down’ to others. Environmentally that was good.
However, the emphasis was on reuse, repair, and repurpose, not because of environmental awareness but because of monetary constraints.
Decades later, we have the two income families. At first, this was a bonus to the household, but years on and it is now a necessity since the standard is set much higher than in the past.
With less time, convenience is now supreme over innovation. The popularity of plastics and polystyrene has triumphed especially with single-use items; as well, a ritual of replacing over reuse, recycle and repair is king.
Because my parents advocated ‘waste not, want not‘, I have the basics to fall back on.
Most people today are familiar with the ‘throw away’ society since it has been forefront for many a decade and has increased more so in recent times with greater national affluence.
The foundations for reducing waste are still available, however. There are many resources including apps to help. You can download my list of 9 GREAT RESOURCES in the fight against waste!