What do we mean by waste avoidance? It’s similar to human health, and the value of prevention being better than cure. In simple terms it’s about consuming differently or less, so that we don’t generate as much waste in the first place.
The less waste we create, the less we have to landfill, reprocess or recycle, and that can mean less carbon emissions and reduced environmental impacts in general.
Waste avoidance doesn’t have to mean a return to austere lifestyles or going without, but it does require a shift in how we buy, choose, refuse, use, reuse, repair and so on.
The well known British fashion designer – Vivienne Westwood, shared her simple mantra for helping to consume responsibly and avoid waste from the outset:
We can all do straightforward things to avoid waste, especially when it comes to giving single-use plastics a miss. Whether it’s about straws, coffee cups or shopping bags, the solutions exist and are no-cost or low cost. From re-usable coffee cups and drink bottles through to long life shopping bags, re-fillable containers and reusable beeswax food wraps, the low-impact, waste-free options are accessible and often highly functional.
Boomerang Bags is a wonderful example of waste avoidance through reuse, and also builds in community collaboration through sewing sessions and working with local businesses. Read more about Boomerang Bags here.
Responsible gifting to local charities and schools can also be a great way to help avoid waste and extend the life of products, especially clothing, furniture and appliances. However it is very important to pass on pre-loved clothing and products in a responsible manner ensuring they aren’t damaged, soiled or contaminated in any way. Gifting should not become a burden for charities and their hard-working volunteers.
Tanya Lewis from EcoOrganiser is an Australian expert when it comes to decluttering and practical tips on how to avoid, refuse, reduce, reuse and repair … plus much more. Her website provides a wealth of information, including useful links focused on reuse and repair, and her blog articles on various waste and disposal topics.
Planet Ark also operate the RecyclingNearYou website which features Australia’s largest recycling and reuse information hub with more than 20000 recycling points.