My commitment to sustainability will start in my own home, in particular, my own garden. Over the past year, I've spent lots of time at home and realised that the seemingly minuscule actions we take each day really do amount to something. Last year in 2020, it was the first time global carbon emissions fell for the first time in decades, and whilst it did take a global pandemic for this to happen, it also made me acknowledge all the ways I could make a commitment to sustainability whilst at home. I spent countless hours during quarantine tending to my garden and was finally able to reap the rewards. The process of growing food in my own home, eliminating the costs and emissions involved with transport, packaging and harvesting showed me that sustainability is a highly rewarding and fruitful process. This year, I'd like to grow more fruit and vegetables at home and improve not only my impact on the environment as I consume more consciously but also improve my health and wellbeing in the process.
To avoid having to use plastic bags when going shopping (groceries, clothes, markets, etc.) I will make sure I always have reusable bags in my car so that way I always have a sustainable option to use instead of increasing the amount of plastic bags used. Also, when I go to university, in order to reduce waste I will bring my food in containers so that I don't have to use little plastic ziploc bags.
Until recently I was unaware that soft plastics could be recycled by simply taking them and depositing them at many supermarkets. I had only recalled from primary school that these things couldn't be recycled in the recycling bin. To reduce the waste of these plastics going to land fill, I will be collecting these bags after reusing them and taking them to the recycling bins at supermarkets. I will also be using reusable containers rather than glad wrap coverings to reduce the consumption of plastic as well. I aim to be recycling all the soft plastic waste weekly and encouraging my family members to do the same.
I often find that at university I will purchase food that comes in cardboard or plastic packaging. Vendors such as wholefoods have proactively encouraged use of your own Tupperware. I will continue to make best use of this practice and attempt to do so from other food stores in addition to pre-preparing meals at home to reduce environmental impact as well.
Today, the 7.8 billion people on earth are using more of its resources than they can provide. Hence, we need to limit our consumption. We should reduce the number of things that we consume. But then, we ought to reuse what already exists in the world. I have decided to buy limited clothes and 80% of them from a second-hand shop in that context. Second-hand shopping lowers the impact of the things we consume as we're reusing things that have already been produced, and we are diverting them from landfills. Research by WRAP found that extending the average life of clothes by just three months per item, from 2 years and 2 months to 2 years and 5 months, would lead to a 5–10% reduction in each carbon, water, and waste footprint. It keeps clothes out of the landfill and prevents the production of new clothing items.
Many young people, especially students do not have a lot of money for food and may resort to cheap, easy, nutrient poor food. I want to create a platform where people can share recipes to promote healthy eating, especially for university students. The aim is to share recipe's that are nutritional, easy to make, tasty and low cost. Many students do not have a lot of spare time to cook, may not know how to cook or do not have high food budgets. I believe students nutrition plays a role in their success and many students struggle to eat healthy while balancing university, work, and other commitments. The meat industry also has a large impact on the environment and meat products are expensive, so I plan to focus primarily on vegetarian meals. I will also focus on maintaining a diversity of recipes from different cultures. This is to be inclusive of all people's taste's but to also encourage people to explore foods from different cultures and embrace diversity. The plan is to create a website and/or social media page where recipes are uploaded along with things like approximate cost AUD, nutritional information, and instructions that are easy to follow. I also plan to include information on the basics of cooking such as food safety and preparation to help other students learn how to cook safely.
Malaysia produces approximately 2.4 billion pieces of sanitary waste a year. This is equivalent to 2,400 tonnes or 480 garbage trucks full of sanitary pads. To counter this, my first step to reducing waste in landfills is to use reusable menstrual cups from this day onwards. I believe this is a small step to creating a big movement in the right direction.
At my house, i will be introducing a food scrap bin to divert food scraps from the general rubbish bins. This will be in addition to the compost bin for green scraps and will divert up to half of the households rubbish from landfill (according to the city of Glen Eira's findings, 2016-17)
Single use plastic has always been a prevalent issue in today's society. Not only is it harmful for the environment through piling up in landfills, polluting our seas, harming wildlife and much more, but it also promotes throwaway culture. We often prioritize convenience without a second though for the long-term impacts of our actions. I believe this is an issue that could be significantly reduced if everyone made an effort to reduce unnecessary plastic use. And so I pledge to stop using single use plastic and carry my own reusable cutlery and my own reusable bags while shopping, in doing I will also pledge to promote awareness of not using single use plastics to those I meet and through social media. Another smaller action I pledge to take is to hand out tote bags I have upcycled from recycled materials to those around me in an effort to help other join me on this journey to reduce harmful plastic usage.
I have just moved out of home and want to buy as much furniture / clothing / decorations / plastic items secondhand as I can! The best part is that it can help stop other people's old goods going to landfill. It also allows me to fulfil my needs without bringing any new waste into the world or unnecessarily wasting resources.
The conversation around responsible consumption usually revolves around food waste and the associated single-use plastic products that are generated from this sector. While this is a very large issue, there is little talk about the plastic/paper waste that is generated in office/study situations. Every year over 140 million pens are sold in Australia and contribute to approximately 700 tonnes of plastic waste across the nation. In addition to pens, waste paper and used batteries are generated significantly in the office/study sectors. To reduce my own generation of landfill waste I pledge to: 1 - keep a box at home where I can keep used pens and batteries. Once full I can take this box to Officeworks and make sure the waste is recycled instead of put into landfill. 2 - I will go through my used note-paper and note-books to remove any empty or half-used pages and make them into a pile of quick notes paper. This will eliminate the need for sticky notes as well as make sure I am using all my paper fully. 3 - I pledge that when I need new notebooks I will only buy ones that are made from 100% recycled paper. 4 - I will continue to recycle all my waste paper
I'm hoping to drastically minimise my single-use plastic. As you know single-use plastic is causing immense damage to the environment and to bio-diversity. Since eliminating single-use plastic would be a commitment I would fail to achieve, I'm committing to significantly minimising my usage. To begin with, I hope to take my own cutlery everywhere I go so that I actively avoid using or disposing of these single-use items. Post this trial period, I want to actively take steps to educate my friends and family fo the responsibility they have towards this planet.
Every year in U.S., around 686 million pounds of waste receipts are produced, which will generate 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide and lose 3 million trees. However, in most cases, many people don't really need those receipts. For instance, when people are purchasing just a cup of coffee. The main function of receipts is to record financial translocation. With the development of technology, we can also achieve this function by using digital receipts. In China, there are 2 main digital payment methods, Wechat and Alipay. People can top up their virtual purses in these apps and use unique QR code to pay. The financial transfer is recorded by digital receipts. There is no paper waste produced through the whole process. If more and more people get used to digital payment and digital receipts, less waste and energy loss will build a better environment. As a result, in the future, I will persist in using digital payment and reduce waste produced while shopping.
While I have taken steps to reduce my plastic consumption by buying in bulk at the supermarket and making plastic-free choices where possible (eg. shampoo bars instead of plastic bottles), I am unfortunately less considered in my choices around recycling plastics and other products I use! And I’m not alone in this – recent estimates suggest that somewhere between 3 and 30% of recycling in Australia is contaminated. (1) This contamination is commonly with soft plastics (ie. plastic bags), as well as food or organic items. Importantly, all contamination has a negative impact in the recycling process in terms of the labour and equipment required to sort through co-mingled recycling, and lowering the value of recycled products. My pledge is to educate myself on products that can and can’t be recycled using Sustainability Victoria’s online resource (https://www.recycling.vic.gov.au/can-i-recycle-this) and to read more about recycling initiatives promoted by companies like 7/11 (https://www.7eleven.com.au/get-to-know-us/cup-rescue.html). A behaviour I pledge to implement is spending 15 minutes a week sorting through my family’s recycling and ensuring things put in our bin are recyclable. I will research alternate methods to recycle those products that aren’t recyclable in the co-mingled bin. See below for an image of some small things I have found in my family’s recycling bin and choices I have made to ensure they are properly recycled/disposed of! 1. https://www.behaviourworksaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Recycling-contamination_Rapid-review_FULL-REPORT.pdf