Yesterday I watched the final part of the ABC’s War on Waste with Craig Reucassel. The whole series has been a bit mind boggling with his visual reminders of the amount of food waste, “disposable” coffee cups and single use plastic bags, not to mention the waste caused by fast fashion. The 3 part series has served to bring these kinds of waste into mainstream conversation and really get people thinking about what they can do. Here at Grow Lightly we have always been very conscious about waste of all kinds. Preserving the harvest so it is available for longer is one practical way we do this, by drying and freezing, bottling and making jams, chutneys, sauces and relishes. All unusable food is composted and we make efforts to reduce and recycle. In the Food Hub shop there are reusable produce bags made by a local from otherwise waste fabric, thereby giving it another life and removing some textiles from the waste stream. Not to mention that it saves on single use produce bags. The reusable ones can be washed and will last a long time.
One thing that the series made clear was that “disposable” coffee cups are a real problem. Although theoretically recyclable, in practice they mostly get put into landfill and the number thrown away daily are staggering.
The answer here is to bring your own cup or sit down and have coffee in the cafe. There is a growing movement to #banthebag. Anita Horan writes about this very informatively in her piece on the Undercover Plastic Detective.
But the news is not all bad. Gippsland Unwrapped is where Tammy Logan a Gippsland local shares her zero waste, plastic free and no palm oil life. Some great resources here on being able to shop without excess packaging by buying in bulk and bringing your own containers.
When we realise the magnitude of the problem we may be inclined to think it is all too hard. But everything counts. We vote with our dollar. Supporting Grow Lightly, supporting farmers direct selling their products, breaking up with the supermarkets, making small incremental changes as we can and not feeling guilty where we can’t is the way to go.