With the current pandemic meaning more time spent at home, I have become increasingly aware of the overconsumptive behaviours that myself and my friends engage in. In our share house of four there is an excess of food wastes, rubbish and goods. This has caused me to reflect on our actions and encourage myself and friends to do better together. This has included introducing a compost/food waste bin which will be used for our food scraps. I have also encouraged group meals 1-2 times a week so that we can get through our food together and ensure that there is less waste. In addition, we have begun collaborating when doing our shoppping to ensure that we are buying in bulk what we all use - this directly reduces plastic/wrapping waste. Furthermore, I have been actively trying to educate myself, and others on the impacts that our consumption is having and how small changes can be very beneficial. I aim to introduce more sustainable food wraps and containers. As well as ensuring we are educated on the recycling practices and procedures.
I am actively making an effort to reduce the amount of food waste I produce in the kitchen. There is enough food in the world to feed the entire world’s population. Despite this, many are left without a meal at night. Food waste in Australia costs around $20 billion every year and contributes to more than five per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is an avoidable issue. I am an active cook and love to experiment with new foods and am guilty of producing my own food wastage. For my one step I will find innovative ways I can re-purpose my food scraps so I can reduce my food waste.
All organic kitchen scraps are going in the compost bin! With the increased cooking done at home, I noticed that there has been more and more food scraps going into the rubbish bin rather than to be composted to be used for our garden. I hope to promote the benefits of composting for growing your own delicious veggies and fruits in your backyard and supporting our local ecosystem!
Recently, I have made the shift to vegetarianism to help reduce the carbon footprint of my food. However, it is often the food miles of what we put in our plate that contribute the most to carbon emissions. Melbourne is full of fresh fruit and vegetable markets as well as local bakeries. Finding and shopping at a local markets - especially if they are accessible by foot, bicycle or other non-polluting means of transport - will not only help to reduce food miles but also encourage me to eat more healthily, buy fruit and veg that are in season, and reduce packaging involved with industrial food processing. Though less convenient than driving to my usual supermarket for a grocery run, shopping locally can make a big environmental difference if we all adopt it as a habit and, who knows, could also bind us closer as neighbourhoods and communities!
Reflecting on my level of life 'sustainability' I'm aware that if given the choice I will naturally take the stairs, walk to the train station instead of drive etc. However, there are a number of areas in the home that seem either too big, or too entrenched to change - or rather, that I've simply never considered altering/changing before. For this reason I'd like to undertake a sustainability audit of my house such as looking at the level of water, rubbish as well as types of rubbish, electricity use etc and comparing it against community averages or recommended amounts. The first step will be to identify the process or framework that this could be measured by.
During this isolation period, the frequency of cooking has gone up significantly in my household. Although enjoying delicious food, what doesn't taste quite as right is the realisation that all our food scraps are just being thrown away when they could be put to better gardening and sustainability use! In truth, our household acquired a Bokashi Bin a while ago but without knowing how to use it it soon languished in a corner of the garden. I can't deny the ick factor of cleaning a fermenting box that hasn't been opened in quite literally years (!) however, I'm confident that a small moment of unpleasantness will be worth the gardening returns and reduction in waste.
Menstruation is a normal aspect of most women's monthly routine. However most women buy sanitary pads or tampons constantly as it is the norm in western societies is to use single use items. This creates a huge amount of waste, roughly 200 000 tonnes each year as well as putting strain on women who are homeless or in poverty who cannot afford these items every month. I have recently discovered businesses that offer more sustainable options such as reusable sanitary pads and menstruation cups that can last for years as well as being biodegradable. I have taken the step to invest in some of these products in order to reduce the amount of waste that I produce as a result of my bodily functions.
I WILL BE LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD AND CYCLING TO UNIVERSITY INSTEAD OF DRIVING. BY DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY FOR HEALTHY COMMUTING WE CAN CUT OUR CARBON EMISSIONS AND DEVELOP OUR ON-CAMPUS COMMUNITY TO IMPROVE OUR CONNECTEDNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
- Plan meals ahead of time and buy only what I need to reduce food wastage - Buy groceries from farmers markets to support their livelihood - Limit showers to 5 minutes to reduce water consumption
Maria Gabriela Queiroz da Silva
Every semester (even terms) we consume a lot papers to support our study's needs. These paper can be in the shape of block notes, notebooks, post-its, stick notes, paperwork used in the tutorials and lectures and even readings printing. After each semester, year or after the graduation we just through it at the bin, hopping that the government can recycle for us. However, we can just guarantee the end of all these papers if we know the destiny we are giving to them. That's why I am keen to start to delivery my papers to recycle companies by myself. Also, I am keen to create a campaign ( If Monash does so) that incentives all the students and staffs to delivery their paper stuffs in collection spots through the campuses and Monash could transfer them to a recycling partner. If we wanna change the world, we must start in our yard!. However if this initiative be successful, Monash Uni can even to expand it to schools, encouraging secondary students to do the same. I am totally keen to take this idea 'out the paper'!
The paddock to plate journey of food has dramatically changed in the last 100 years. In many ways food production has become more efficient but at what environmental cost? Overfishing, soil degradation due to land overuse and dramatically increased food miles has created a huge ecological food footprint. This has impacted consumption patterns with food being available year round leading to less conscious consumption in addition to increased food wastage. This food wastage was estimated at 4 billion dollars in Victoria this last year alone and with 20% of this going into landfill. Our recycling plants don't have the capacity to deal with the waste we are producing and many of the recyclable outputs don't have a market to be sold to. My one step is to rewrite the food story by advocating for change and changing my behaviour at each step of the process from production to consumption to disposal. I am going to make more conscious food choices to eat from sustainable sources of fish and meat, and seasonal Australian produce so that my food doesn't have to travel a thousand kilometres to get to my plate! I am also going to buy unpackaged foods from local sources and plan my meals better in order to reduce my food waste. I have also just moved house to where there is a fortnightly collection of organics, so I am going to put my food waste into this to ensure that it is diverted from landfill and recycled into compost which can be reused.
Water is life for people and creatures all over the world. We need it to drink, to create food, clothes, and energy. However, water shortages, pollution and wastage are leading to less of it being available for those who need it to survive. 1 million people per year die from water, sanitation and hygiene related diseases that could be reduced by access to clean water. I pledge to start saving water at home and treat it as the precious resource it is. This includes limiting my showers to two minutes, only putting a dish washer on when it's full of dishes, checking and fixing household tap leaks, checking for toilet leaks once a year and monitoring my water bill.
I'm aiming to consume responsibly in a number of different ways! I plan to try and purchase any clothing, furniture or books I need second hand. I'm also going to cook from what I already have in my pantry (rather than getting takeaway) to reduce food waste.