Cassie's Tips to reduce your waste!

28th April 2020


Jacinta: This month we are doing some blogs on how to be a little bit more eco friendly and sustainable because its a huge thing in the whole world right now. Like the whole world is dying. We basically use too much plastic, which is a bit sad. So I got one of our fabulous students, Cassie in because she is a bit of a queen on zero waste.

So how do you start? Cassie, what are your top tips for just getting started for people that haven't really thought about it yet?

Cassie: Get rid of your bin liner. I think that would be my number one because as soon as you take out your bin liner you go, 'what am I going to do with all the stuff that normally goes in my bin'? So you know the, let's call it the wet stuff, so your meat off cuts, your fruit and veggie scraps. The stuff that makes the bin 'Ew'.

Compost! Worm farms! It doesn't have hard, Bokashi bins. If you literally had no backyard, you live in a flat or apartment, with no outside anything, a Bokashi bin is the way to go. It's like a little bin like this. I don't have one so I know a lot about them. It works the same as a compost in that you put your kitchen waste in. I believe it needs some kind of formula kind of thing that speeds up the decomposing process and then you get compost out of it afterwards.

Worm farms are also really great, people love them. They give you worm wee, they give you compost, and they are great fun for kids as well. They are quite compact, you can get some that are really small.

I have a compost and ever since I've had a compost our waste is next to nothing. Because everything goes in there. You are supposed to be a little bit careful with things like onion, citrus, you are not supposed to put in there. Dairy and meat you're not supposed to put in there. If I have like a little tiny piece of meat or cheese, I just chuck it in, it doesn't make much difference but you're not, going to put that big, massive fat rind in there. So you do have to be a little bit careful. For those kinds of things, if we're having a barbecue and we've got meat leftovers so it doesn't go stinky in the bin, I would wrap it in a newspaper and then put it in the bin. If you're a bit of a psycho like my mum, you can put it in the freezer until the bin day. And then, it won't stink. So that would probably be the top one.

The easiest tip we all know is; shopping bags, your veggie bags. I go to this wonderful, magical place called 'The Wasteless Pantry'. I absolutely adore it. There's one in Greewood, Mundaring and Bassendean. There's places like this popping up all over the place. It's a bulk food shop where you take your own containers, you weigh them, you write the weight and then you fill all your containers with all the different products, cleaning products, beauty products, all the staple pantry stuff.

Every little thing is an achievement. So when I moved from buying red kidney beans in a tin to buying them dry and then cooking them up myself I was like "I did a thing". Brining less stuff into the house. Whether it's plastic, paper, cardboard, metal, whatever it is, just reducing the amount of shit you are bringing into your house.

Jacinta: Yeah. I definitely need to get a compost, I've wanted one for ages!

Cassie: I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about compost as well because they sell these like big plastic tubs I'm like, so we're buying more plastic to solve the plastic problem. AGH! So luckily my fiancé is a tradie and I just got him to get off cuts of wood from his work. Because its treated for moisture and everything. And he just built a box which we divided into 2; one side gets all juicy, lovely and compost-y, while the other side I stick fresh stuff into. You can just put a bucket with the bottom cut out of it into a spot in the garden and add stuff to that. It doesn't necessarily have to be hard or expensive, or time consuming or need a lot of space.

Jacinta: So we need to get rid of our bin liners, get a compost.

Cassie: A bin liner is buying something with the intention to solely throw it out. I do not understand. Jacinta: What about the biodegradable bin liners, have you seen those?

Cassie: I have. There are some which are plant based which are great. Some of them..., It's quite a grey area between compostable, biodegradable. It might be biodegradable, but in a hundred years. But they can still say that it's biodegradable.

I don't know the brand of the coffee, but it's a Melbourne company that makes compostable and biodegradable coffee pods. And I had a couple of them floating around my compost box for at least 12 months! NOT compostable.

Jacinta: What else is in the easy swap for women to do? We mostly talked to women.

Cassie: Women care more too.

Jacinta: Yeah, we do.

Cassie: Well, let's talk about the icky part of life. The thing that happens every month. Apparently, Sanitary pads, tampons, every one that has ever been made, it's still out there somewhere in the wild world. They don't break down - EVER!

Jacinta: Ew

Cassie: Yeah. And they're still covered and whatever you put on them. The number one best thing I've ever discovered, which I just, it right here at a Sweat or Sparkle Diamond Dance open day; the menstrual cup.

Honestly like the best thing that has ever happened to me and my body and my period. It's like you don't even have your period. It can stay in that for 12 hours. It doesn't leak, you don't feel it. Everything apart from ;) with it in. Yeah, it's just amazing. And I use reusable, panty liners as well on either side where it's not heavy enough to use the cup. People think they might be a bit icky, but honestly once you put them in the wash, you put in the cold soak they come out like new. So I haven't had a period where I had to throw in anything in the bin in a year maybe. Which is a lot of waste.

Jacinta: That's awesome.

One of the thing I wanted to mention about your composting, your garden is fricking amazing.

Cassie: That's because compost is like crack for plants. I literally have to rip out pumpkin seedlings because pumpkins are growing like nobody's business in my garden. Anywhere I put compost, I get tomatoes and I get pumpkins. But I'm am growing 4 pumpkins that I will eat myself, which I'm super proud of them - I'm a pumpkin Mum!

Jacinta: That's awesome.

Lots of benefits from reducing your plastic, getting compost. I need to get onto that. Maybe that'll be this weekend's job...

Cassie: So obviously like the kitchen is a place that we produce a lot of waste as well and a lot of it is gladwrap and food storing. I have purchased some Silicon Zip lock bags. Super cool because my fiancé likes to use zip lock bags but also these things. So if you haven't heard about bees wax wraps, you're probably living under an eco-rock.

Jacinta: or a Plastic rock.

Cassie: I'm sure they exist. These are like the most amazing things. You use them just like glad wrap to wrap pretty much everything except for meat. Nothing that needs to be like sterilized with hot water because you can't put them in the hot water. So a cut Apple, lemon cheese, tomato, anything. You just wrap it up and you're like, 'Oh it doesn't fit right'. And then you just get the heat of your hand and you mould it to any shape. And then you just pull it apart to open. They last about 12 months, but I have actually successfully refreshed some of these just by grating bees wax over it and you put baking paper either side and iron it. This one has a few little cracks in it. You can see on the camera there to fix that. There's nothing wrong with it. Just looks gross to fix that. You just put it on baking paper in the oven, hundred degrees for two minutes. It redistributes the wax and it's like new! WOW! Realistically, probably more than 12 months.

This thing is food grade Silicon, they come in a pack of four from Agreena. You can buy them at The Wasteless Pantry as well. Or an amazing online store called Flora and Fauna, it's one of my favourite stores. A pack of 4 is about $20 to $25. You get 2 of these little boys and two big boys you can use them to again. Yeah, they're stretchy. You can use them to cover bowls, glasses. Your fruit and veg as usual. You can bake on them. I've baked Brownies on them. Anywhere up to, I think it's about 220 degrees. You can freeze them. So they're super versatile, so they replaced glad wrap, al foil, baking paper. And then we don't need glad wrap anymore!

Jacinta: Good! So we got rid of glad wrap, we got rid of the bin liner. We've got crack fot the plants and we can have a periods into menstrual cups and the reusable panty liners.

Cassie: If you have to buy plastic or any kind of packaging because let's face it, it's inevitable. It's going to happen even though I go through a lot of plastic, the crunchy plastic and that kind of stuff. I think the hardest thing is milk and meat. I'm trying to go Plastic free July and that's the thing that I am brainstorming how can I get around? You know I've asked Woolies and they won't let me use my own containers, so you're going to have to shop local. There is a brand called Grumpy Farmer. They do one litre glass bottles. You empty the bottle and you take it back to wherever you bought it and they change it out.

But if it does have to come into your house, the question is then what do you do with it? Most hard plastic can be recycled. I'm still asking questions about this cause you've got your numbers 1 - 6 some people say the 6 can't go in. I think most Chinese containers are fives, but my lady at the Wasteless Pantry says that all hard plastics can go into the recycling. The lids cannot it you put the lid on the bottle, It's not going to get recycled, it just goes straight to landfill.

It makes to say this, the recycling bin is just delaying landfill. Because Plastic alone only has so long that it can be recycled. So most plastics it's once or twice and then into the landfill. I think metal and glass are the only things that can be recycled. The soft plastic, can go in the Red bin outside Woolies and Coles.

I have about 6 bins in my house; the compost bin, the recycling bin, the rubbish bin, which is a bucket like this big, which we barely fill in a month. There's a little pouch for bottle lids, the pumps out of hand sanitizer, pumps, hand soap, that kind of thing, there is a little pouch for Al foil. Because if you get an Easter egg wrapper and throw that in the recycling. Yes - it's Al foil so it can be recycled but It's too small. I collect it until I've got enough to make it. Yeah, maybe like fist size. Then wrap it all up in one big bit that's already in there. And then in the recycling.

So there's a lot of nitty gritty to it.

Jacinta: But once you kind of got a system I suppose it's not so hard.

Cassie: Exactly. Yeah. In August we actually had guests, we had three of my fiancé's cousins living in our house and at the end of the week, the waste situation had not changed. There was no extra in the landfill bin, everyone put things where it should have been - it was so heart-warming! We'll have them back.

Jacinta: And I would just wanted to mention as well, we have a blog up on different items that you can use your periods and reusable pads - there's a few different products actually that we found and we also have a video out as well on how to insert to your menstrual cup. Because I know that's actually a big thing that puts people off. They're a little bit scared to use them because they're not sure how to get it in correctly.

Cassie: Does it also have a tip on how to get it out someone had a very awkward experience on their maiden journey.

Jacinta: There is a tip on how to get it out as well.

Cassie: It involved some help from my fiancé and that's why I'm marrying him!

Jacinta: Thank you so much Cassie - We are spreading the green.


More interesting articles here:

Eco Period:

 Zero Waste:

Chemical Free Cleaning:

Fast Fashion:

Food Wastage: