It is the end of week two of the waste weigh up challenge and I can safely say that it has been a throughly enjoyable and empowering experience to date. Heading into this month of personal waste assessment I had no idea that collecting and assessing my waste could teach me so much about making sustainable and environmental consumption purchases. Just two weeks in and my knowledge and awareness has increased tenfold.

Here are the weeks reflections. Feel free to answer these questions yourself if you are participating in this waste awareness challenge!

How do I feel about visually assessing my waste so far? 

Feeling good! There are still items in my waste stream that I would like to reduce or improve upon. For example plastic packaging and coconut water (however the cans are 100% recyclable unlike the tetra packs where the plastic cap goes to landfill). But learning about the ‘nitty gritty’ of what is and isn’t recyclable in my locality has definitely changed the way I will purchase in the future. In fact it changed the way I purchased starting today, switching my usual plastic packed face cleanser with a cleansing bar. While the regular cleanser packaging can easily be recycled, the lid can’t. Most lids can’t be recycled on the Coast as they are too small to make it through the automated recycling and will end up in landfill. Today I opted for a facial cleansing bar in a recycled paper box. The bar itself is wrapped in plastic, but I know I can take this wrapping down to the supermarket for recycling. No waste necessary! While it would be nice to be completely waste free, I know there will be times that I need to make purchases. Having the knowledge base to make the best possible purchase makes me confident that I can decrease my waste stream with ease.

How much organic waste did you save from landfill through the process of composting (if you chose to weigh it up)? 

Nearly three kilograms this week! Sounds like a baffling amount but it is mostly comprised of inedible parts of fruit. I have switched to pineapples for morning juices and they require quite a lot of clean up before eating, my estimate would be around two kilograms would be pineapple tops and skin.

Using the knowledge you have gained this week is there anything above from your waste stream that will be sent to landfill?  

Yes! My dentil floss (that collects in a pile in the bathroom) the string of my Vege Threads tags. I have previously composted receipts but I am unsure if this is the best way to get rid of them. There have been reports of receipt thermal paper containing BPA. I am unsure of the implications of this and plan to do a whole lot more research in the next week or two!

How do you plan to divert these items from ending up in landfill?

Research and creativity will be key in making sure these items have have a happy end to their journey, rather than buried in landfill for eternity. The first reuse for dental floss that popped into my head was plant ties and a quick google resulted in lots more! Just scratching the surface.

What area of your waste stream do you hope to improve upon in the next week?

I’m hoping to learn about and upgrade my composting system. A diet with fresh fruit and vegetables can least to plenty of peeling and cores. Unfortunately  my current compost system isn’t really up to scratch. Mostly because it was originally built as a worm farm and isn’t fit for full time composting duties.

Have you enjoyed your experience so far? As national recycling week had come to a close I hope to spend this upcoming week exploring my composting and up cycling options and practices. If you want to join in you can use the questions above to start thinking about what areas you would like to improve on and what might be a possibility to divert that waste from landfill.

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