Here’s something that might blow your mind. Are you ready?….Your bin doesn’t need a liner!
Stop and take a minute to let that sink in.
Your Bin. Doesn’t. Need. A Liner.
Nope. Your precious rubbish destined for landfill doesn’t need a protective bubble of plastic around it to safely guide it to the afterlife. We don’t need to embalm it for future generations (gosh what would they think of our wasteful society?!) It’s not an Egyptian mummy. 🙂
So What’s the Bin Liner Solution?
With the two major supermarket retailers cutting supply of free single-use plastic bags, it’s thrown many families into a state of….well….panic. What are ‘we’ going to use now to line our bins? Don’t fret, here are three simple and environmentally friendly solutions!
- Don’t have a bin inside at all. Take your waste directly to your outside bin, though this obviously is hard to do if living in an apartment.
- Go bin liner free. It’s liberating! “But won’t that be gross and disgusting? And what about “bin juice”? Ewwww. I just can’t deal”, I hear you say. If it gets a little mucky, rinse it out. Simple. And by using our steps below to reduce your overall waste, you might find there’s very little in your bin anyway.
- If you really must line your bin, line it with newspaper. There’s a thousand tutorials on YouTube on how to turn that local newspaper that you never read into something useful.
Whatever you do PLEASE avoid using plastic. Reusing plastic bags as liners should be a last resort. You’re only extending it’s usefulness once. It still ends up in landfill. Aim to recycle soft plastics so it can be repurposed into something more useful.
And don’t waste your money on allegedly eco-friendly “biodegradable” bin liners. It’s greenwashing. Like other plastics, they don’t break down in modern, highly compacted landfills. At best, you get the warm-fuzzies thinking you’ve spent a little bit extra to “do your bit”. But all you’re doing is wasting your money on what is basically the same as any other plastic bin liner. It still sits in landfill for hundreds of years. If it makes it that far. Chances are it’ll end up wrapped around wildlife. Or breaking up into smaller pieces of plastic and polluting our waterways and oceans. Or inside the bellies of wildlife (and us). Read more about the myth about degradable/biodegradable bags here.
And Better Yet, Reduce the Amount of Waste You Need to Throw Away
Now prepare for another gold nugget of eco-wisdom……the less ‘garbage’ you buy, the less garbage you need to throw out.
Reduce the Amount of Waste You Bring into Your Home in the First Place
Prevention is always better than cure….especially when it comes to our waste. Here are some easy ways to reduce the number of items you buy that are destined for landfill:
- Avoid products with excess packaging. Look for alternatives of pantry and household staples that use less waste.
- Choose products that are in recyclable packaging.
- Buy things in bulk and then portion out according to your needs.
- Avoid multi-packs and items “individually wrapped for your convenience”.
- Bring your own containers/ utensils.
Recycle All Your Recyclables
Are you recycling everything that can be recycled? Most of us are well trained now to recycle bottles, newspaper and cardboard boxes. But how about soft plastics?
Many common recyclable rubbish items can go in your weekly/ fortnightly council kerbside collection. Like glass bottles and jars, paper and cardboard, milk and juice cartons, cans, plastic bottles and containers. But make sure to check with your local council exactly what they will and won’t accept so you don’t contaminate the recycling stream.
City of Parramatta | Cumberland Council | City of Ryde | The Hills Shire Council | Blacktown City Council | City of Canterbury-Bankstown | Hornsby Shire Council | Strathfield Council | City of Canada Bay
Soft plastics that can’t be put out in your kerbside collection can go to REDcycle. If it’s plastic and can be scrunched into a ball, it can be placed in a REDcycle drop off bin. For example, bread bags, biscuit packet wrappers, frozen food bags, pasta and rice bags, cereal box liners, foil-lined chocolate and chip wrappers. Here’s a full list of what they can and can’t accept.
Earn extra cash by taking cans and bottles to Return and Earn return points in your area.
Bring Your Own
Say no to common disposable items. The fewer single-use items you consume, the less you’ll need to discard after just one use:
- Bring your own reusable containers to the deli, butcher and takeaway store
- Carry a reusable coffee cup with you. You might even get a discount if they’re a Responsible Café
- Keep a stash of reusable shopping bags and mesh produce bags in the boot of your car for your groceries (and a couple of lightweight/foldable ones in your handbag too)
- Invest in metal straws (even Kmart is on board) and cutlery and use these when you’re out and about
Compost Your Food Waste
Finally, ’employ’ a colony of “working pets” in the form of a worm farm. It’s incredibly easy to set up and just as easy to maintain. These little critters will munch through all your fruit and veg scraps (no citrus, meat, garlic or onion please). They’ll also nibble on coffee grounds, tissues, toilet rolls, leaves and eggshells. They don’t smell. In fact, you barely notice they are there. And as a thank you, these guys will give you an abundance of free goodness for your garden in the form of castings to dig into your soil and worm tea/liquid fertilizer to help your plants grow. Win – win.
And if you just can’t get over the whole “worm thing”, your neighbours can help you out! There’s a whole ShareWaste network of people who’ll take your kitchen scraps for their own worm farm, compost or chickens.
It takes a bit of planning to change your habits, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.