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What's the best step you've taken to reduce waste? Share your tips

The Guardian logo The Guardian 4 days ago Alexandra Spring
War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel with the Grogan family and their bins © ABC TV War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel with the Grogan family and their bins

For Christina Grogan, it came down to knowing exactly what to do with her rubbish. “Once you’re educated, it’s not hard,” says Grogan, one of the residents of the Sydney suburban street featured in the ABC’s recent three-part series, War on Waste. Along with her neighbours, Grogan tackled her household waste, reducing it from “more than one bin” to just a quarter of a regular-sized bin.

The ABC show has been a runaway success, attracting more than 2.6 million metro viewers and, perhaps more importantly, inspiring those viewers to do something about the issues discussed in the show.

For example, online community Compost Revolution reports there’s been a surge in people signing up for composting tutorials since being featured in the show. There is a change.org petition, which had more than 140,000 supporters at the time of publication, calling on supermarkets to change the unrealistic cosmetic standards for fresh fruit and vegetables. And since the show highlighted the fact that most coffee cups are not recyclable, Australian reusable cup manufacture KeepCup have seen a 690% spike in sales enquiries.

Related: War on Waste: Craig Reucassel wants to change behaviour, and the law

Grogan says she’s witnessed the momentum herself and has been approached in the street and through her children’s school. “I make sure now I always have my reusable cup,” she says.

She says just knowing what to do has helped her decrease her household waste. These days she has a recycling bin, a collection of soft plastics that go to the local supermarket for recycling, and a bin to collect food scraps that end up in the compost bin. “When you put those couple of things in place, it’s really easy, it’s not really an extra imposition.”

Below Grogan shares some of her recycling tips, but we’d like to know yours too. Include the most effective steps you’ve taken to cut down the waste you send to landfill. We’ll compile the top reader tips in a future column. If you don’t want your name published, please leave it blank.

Christina Grogan’s tips:

  • We collect all our soft plastics and return them to Coles. We originally returned them to Woolworths but after the GPS tracker that Craig put into the bags found that the Woolworths contractor was not necessarily recycling the soft plastics as they said they were, we have switched to Coles.
  • We no longer buy bin liners. We use whatever plastic we have had to bring home – sometimes it is unfortunately unavoidable.
  • At the greengrocers, I ask for a box or take my own box to carry home our fruit and vegies. This keeps them better anyway.
  • Composting is fantastic. I didn’t realise how easy the tumble compost was, it’s nice and clean, doesn’t smell, and as yet, has not attracted any nasties. I have a little bin in the kitchen for food scraps, and when it gets fullish, or it starts to smell, I take it outside to the compost bin.
  • Once a week, I get my Stanley knife out and I get all the grounds out of the coffee capsules. I put the lid bit in the bin, the actual capsule bit into the recycling and its done. It takes 10 minutes.
  • Many people don’t realise how much can actually be recycled, so it’s important to check the packaging.
  • The kids take tupperware containers to school and no glad wrap. They also bring home all their soft plastics. If they have a bag of chips or some biscuits in a plastic bag, they bring that plastic home and we put it into the right place, not into the bin at school. And apple cores and things like that all come home and go into the compost.

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