Recycling centre
Have you heard that Terracycle have recently introduced a new recycling scheme for writing implements? They’ve partnered with Bic and will accept any branded plastic pen, felt tip, highlighter, marker, mechanical pencil, correction fluid bottle (empty of course). These items will be sorted, their different materials separated, be processed into small pellets and then made into new (recycled) products!

Recycled writing pens

This is such an easy program for people to participate in. You can set up a public collection point at your children’s school, your workplace or community group. Not only is it encouraging people to divert waste from landfill, schools or charities can earn money. I reckon this form of fundraising is far superior to selling chocolates!

Pen recycling

So what can you do at home?

Well we’ve set up our own mini recycling centre to act as our collection point for our pens and textas and also a range of other waste materials that can be recycled separately to the kerbside recycling collection. You’re probably aware of various groups that collect bread tags and bottle tops and that dead batteries can be recycled via Aldi. But it can get a bit overwhelming!

Recycled items

Here’s my simple “how to” guide to set up your own recycling centre!

Reading time: 2 min
Tropical Queensland
Well yes, you can. But it’s harder than being at home. Away from our routines and reusable containers, moving around and being on the road, limited by not knowing where the best places to shop are… these are a few obstacles that popped up for us on our recent trip to tropical North Queensland.

Being prepared and organised is the first step in reducing unnecessary waste. Along with the usual holiday check list items, here is a list of extras we packed:

– Reusable drink bottle for each person
– Keep cups
– A couple of lunch containers (which we filled with snacks for the plane flight)
– Some reusable produce bags
– Fold-up shopping tote bags
– A beeswax wrap
– An ice pack

Most of the above items revolve around food shopping and storing. This seems to be one of the biggest contributors to waste on a holiday, but there are lots of things you can do to lessen the amount you produce.

On our 13 day holiday we moved around a bit starting at Cairns and traveling up to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation for a few nights. Then we settled back in Cairns, choosing to stay in a small AirBnB apartment for five nights. After that we swapped over our hire car for a Jucy Condo campervan and we travelled around the Atherton Tablelands. It was fantastic to be able to see so many beautiful places!

Swimming pool

So what did we do exactly to reduce our waste? Let’s break it up into three main sections and I’ll give you my best tips on how to minimise your environmental impact for each.

Reading time: 5 min
Twelve months ago I left my teaching job. I was not enjoying it. I could not keep up with the demands. I did not feel like I was doing it well at all. So I said goodbye.

Fortunately, our family was in a position where I could afford to do this. And I’m so grateful for that.

I’ve since spent a bit of time reassessing my options. Will I return to teaching? What else could I do with my skills and experience? Can I just not ever work?! (Jokes, I would go crazy – or crazier!)

When that got too difficult and I was making no decisions, I threw myself into volunteering. Specifically, cleaning the rubbish off the beach with 3199 Frankston Beach Patrol. It was rewarding. There were no demands and no pressure. No timetables, no reporting, no planning, no stress! I was doing something useful and helpful for something greater than myself.

I was learning about how much rubbish there was and opening my eyes to our waste issues. I was finding plastic bottles and straws, soy sauce fish and empty cans. Ironically, the topic I had just been teaching kids at school was ‘Resources; Use Them Wisely’ and yet I really had no idea of just how poorly our resources were utilized.

But as great as volunteering is, it certainly doesn’t pay the bills.

(Except that one time I found a $50 note, but I spent that on brunch with my mum!)

I needed to get a real job again.

Reading time: 3 min
Kombucha. Booch. Fermented tea drink.

“Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly intended as a functional beverage for its supposed health benefits. Sometimes the beverage is called kombucha tea to distinguish it from the culture of bacteria and yeast.”
(Thanks Wikipedia!)

Sounds fancy, but tastes pretty good. And it’s easy to make. The kids like it too.

To make it at home you just need a SCOBY (and some starter tea).

A what?!

Reading time: 3 min
It’s amazing what creative ideas you can find with a simple Google search.

Broken item? Google how to fix it.

Lots of empty toilet rolls? Google for some craft ideas.

Too many unwatched DVDs collecting dust? Google it!

So many ideas on how to reuse, repurpose and repair are available at the click of your fingers. Pinterest is great too!

This is what lead me to my latest DIY project; making my mum a Mother’s Day gift while using up a stack of old DVDs.

Mosaic coasters AND a matching tray!

Reading time: 1 min
Gift wrap
When it comes to gifting, there can be a lot of waste involved. There’s the packaging of the gift itself (think kids toys!), the wrapping paper, sticky tape, ribbon, gift bag, card, envelope… Ugh!

But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of unwasteful options available.

Firstly, it makes sense to use what you already have. I have a few rolls of gift wrap that I bought years ago that are tucked up in the hard to reach space in my linen cupboard that will not go to waste. I like to save this for gifting people we don’t know all that well. No one wants to be judged straight up by an odd looking gift!

Reading time: 2 min