Brains Trust: Waste-Free Living

This issue we’re answering your questions about waste-free living. Got a burning question? You haven’t missed out. You can email us ( and we will answer your question on our blog over at

I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information on waste, and I want to reduce my household’s waste, but I’m not sure where to start. Do I need to buy anything first? (Catherine, Launceston, TAS)

We’ve found a smart way to approach the shift to waste-free living is to work out exactly what waste you’re making. We recommend beginning with auditing your waste, by counting it as it goes into the rubbish or recycling bin. That will give you a good starting point to improve upon and help you identify your main streams of waste. Food waste makes up around half the average household bin, so we’d recommend eliminating that first. Then, you can find ways to access food and products without packaging. You don’t need to buy anything to begin with, but some sturdy cloth bags and a few jars can help. You can often find these second hand or you can make your own cloth and produce bags (see Pip issue 10). Shifting to waste-free living needn’t cost anything at all.