How our family minimise waste when out

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As you would probably expect, our family are passionate recyclers with an entire four stream recycling setup!

However, we believe the key to living more sustainably is actually reducing the amount of recyclables and landfill we purchase. Here are our three top family’s tips.

 

OUR PRECIOUS CANE BASKET

We never leave the house without my favourite cane basket. It sits near the front door, waiting for adventure. The basket is always packed with my reusable bags, a fold of Compost-A-Pak Singlet Bags and a number of Fruit and Veggie Bags (or 8 litre bags) which I pull off the roll as needed. Always having this when we are out of the house means we never have to use plastic carry bags, even for our fruit and vegetable selections at the markets or for meat at the butchers. Whilst I love my reusable bags, I don’t like to use them for any meat and fresh produce. Instead I pack this fresh food straight into my plant based Compost-A-Pak bags, and then throw them straight into the fridge or freezer as needed.

OUR PICNIC STASH

We also have a picnic stash in the car with a blanket, reusable cups and cutlery, which means we are always prepared to eat out, even if it’s unplanned. Whilst obviously we still generate some waste, eating in or choosing carefully and eliminating drink containers, straws and cutlery does make a difference. The kids are also in the habit of grabbing their water bottles every time we leave the house. It’s a great way to reduce single use bottles, and of course that we don’t hear “I’m thirsty!” as soon as we leave the house.

 

THOUGHTFUL PURCHASES

This is where I would love to tell you we purchase all our fruit and vegies direct from the farmers with no packaging, and make all our own snacks from scratch. We don’t! We are a very busy family, and as is the case with so many modern families, as parents we both work very long hours. We do however have sustainability as one of the driving forces of all our purchasing decisions.

  • We consistently aim to buy quality rather than quantity, and particularly with our clothes, we try to choose natural fabrics to minimise the microfibres released when we wash. This doesn’t always mean you have to spend more. It’s just about spending time researching and buying at the right time.

 

  • We eat lots of fresh food, and try to purchase them plastic or packaging free, either at the markets when we can make it or instore. We place loose items in our plant based Fruit and Vegie bags or 8 litre bags.  We will sometimes even pay extra for the loose items, however if not unreasonable, we think it’s worth it to make a stand against the unnecessary packaging. Often these loose items are also fresher, without the protection of bags and the ‘modified atmosphere’ used to make them look fresh.
    • With all this fresh food, we rely on some really easy and quick recipes that ensure dinner can be prepared quickly. Food marketing is designed to convince us that we need to buy extra packets and jars of flavour for speed and convenience. In my experience they are not necessary.
    • We also pack the kids lunches without packaging. This can be achieved with simple changes like purchasing a large block of cheese to cut rather then buying precut packaged cheese.
    • We also avoid store promotions and giveaways. I’m actually amazed how well our kids embrace this when you sit down and explain why our family chooses to say no.
  • Presents, particularly with kids can be challenging, however we try to avoid plastics when possible. For our own kids, we try to focus on experiences and the kids just love it.

 

We would love to hear more about your family’s sustainability tips. It’s certainly a journey, and we find we get a little bit better each year.

 

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