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.

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Reading time: 5 min
Refilling
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.

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Reading time: 3 min
Litter picker
I can’t go anywhere without seeing rubbish.

It’s in the school grounds, in car parks, around my street, at the beach, shops, parks, highways… EVERYWHERE!

What started with a bit of volunteering with my local Beach Patrol group has now turned into an (almost) obsession.

I’ve become known as the ‘rubbish friend’. And I’m proud of it!

Rubbish

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Bagging bananas
I’m a teacher, or should I say, WAS a teacher.

One of my teaching positions a few years back was in reading intervention. I withdrew small groups of kids from their classrooms for intensive, daily reading assistance. I would teach them decoding skills, letter sounds and about punctuation. I listened to them read and encouraged fluency. I worked with their classroom teachers to identify individual needs and planned accordingly.

Basically, there was a problem (lack of knowledge/practice/engagement/etc) and I intervened.

That was my job.

But my passion now is to intervene in a different way.

I want to educate people on how they can help stop the single-use plastic crisis.

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Reading time: 2 min
Compost
It is International Composting Awareness Week, May 5-11.

Did you know:

*Food waste accounts for around 40% of what gets sent to landfill
*The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year (that is equivalent to 1 in 5 bags of food)
*Food waste does not break down effectively in landfill conditions therefore contributing greenhouses gases

In our house we compost our food scraps via three methods: a worm farm, Bokashi bin and outdoor compost bins. And since doing so we have reduced the amount of rubbish that goes into the regular landfill bin.

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The bathroom can be a big offender in producing lots of waste but there are some easy changes you can make to reduce that.

I am slowly making better environmental choices as I use up what I already have and seek out unwasteful alternatives. I like to look for reusable options, plastic-free, no/low packaging and products that are low tox. Here are a few suggestions to start you off:
(This post does contain an affiliate link)

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rubbish waste
Wanna hear me talk rubbish? We all have it. And it’s got to go somewhere, right? I’m going to break down how my family sorts our waste.

But first, a bit about us. Just so you know, we are far from zero waste, but I would consider us a reasonably ‘low waste’ family. There are 5 of us; 3 adults and 2 kids. And a dog. Just a regular family, who eat regular food and shop at a regular supermarket. Anyone can sort rubbish like us if you learn to do it right. So this is what we do…

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Reading time: 4 min