When it comes to living sustainably, the choices you can make are endless. A big factor is the amount of waste you generate as an individual and a family. If you were to concentrate on just 3 actions, look at your food waste, recycling and use of plastics.

1. Avoid food waste
1 - 3 things waste_food waste

We buy too much food and send much of our perfectly edible food to waste. Food waste is the largest contributor to landfill from domestic garbage, at around 35%. Research shows that the equivalent of $3,800 is wasted by NSW households every year. Reduce food waste by remembering to shop to a list, buying only what you need, cooking to portion sizes, storing food correctly, and eating your leftovers.

2. Put recyclables in your yellow-lidded bin

You’d be amazed to know how many people still throw recyclable items in the red-lid bin. Have a look at what goes in the recycling bin as a reminder.

The City’s waste goes to an advanced treatment plant, where recyclables are recovered and only non-recyclable material is sent to landfill.

The recycling processor says that recyclable material collected in the city is mostly reused locally. So even with China’s ban on imported recycling, there’s no impact on our services.

You can also help by buying products with recyclable content in their packaging.

3. Say no to single-use plastic

Bartender finished decorating his cocktail with mint and orange slice
Bartender finished decorating his cocktail with mint and orange slice

This one’s simple. Next time you order a drink, ask the bar tender to hold the straw. Ditch the dressing sachet with your takeaway salad, as well as plastic cutlery.

Buy yourself a nice water bottle and keep it in your bag (you can refill from a bubbler around the city). Keep a reusable shopping bag in there too.

And get other tips here and here.

No matter how good your recycling efforts are, reducing the amount you consume and waste is always the better option.

To brush up your knowledge, you can also learn about the most common items people in Sydney don’t know how to recycle. See what to do with soy sauce fish and other small items And work out what you might be getting wrong, even with best intentions.

Here and here are some more ways to avoid food waste.

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