Australia has a waste problem.
The amount of waste we churn out has grown six times faster than the population. Clearly, that is a shocking statistic.
The average Australian family produces enough waste to fill a three bedroom house each year.
We’ve long been a nation that loves to recycle, but in recent years we’ve seen a growing interest in reuse.
Reuse is simply the act of using again.
Charity and opportunity shops have long enabled the reuse of pre-loved clothing and household items at prices accessible to most of us.
Online marketplaces like eBay have further fuelled community interest in reuse by enabling Australians to buy and sell all things pre-loved from childhood favourites like Troll dolls and Furbies to kids’ wear, phones and just about everything in between.
These days you can even pick up a reusable coffee cup!
However, at the moment, Australians use about a billion disposable coffee cups each year, and most of them end up in landfill.
We can all make a contribution to addressing this issue by purchasing a reusable coffee cup, which are widely welcomed at cafés and coffee clubs across the nation.
In fact, many cafes will even reward you with a discount!
Another problem area is single-use batteries that can be easily replaced with rechargeables that reduce waste, and the effort required to recycle responsibly.
When you throw them in the bin, they leach all sorts of toxic matter such as lead and mercury into the earth.
Conscious consumption, yet another buzz word at the moment, is another way we can all reduce our waste footprint.
This means thinking about the lifespan of an item before you buy it.
If buying clothing, ask yourself, is it the type of garment you will wear season after season?
Is it well made, will it have longevity, will look good every season?
Rather than purchase an outfit for a special occasion, consider renting through an online sharing community, or perhaps borrow from a friend?
It is these small actions that collectively result in a big impact.
Throwing items in the bin destined for landfill should be the last option.
If it’s time to part ways with some of your pre-loved stuff, consider the alternatives – selling it, repairing it, giving it away or donating it.
Passing on what you don’t want to someone who does, is a fantastic form of sustainability and there are a multitude of ways to sell your stuff both online and offline and make a few dollars in the process.
Garage sales are a great example and one in which Australians have been long engaged – it’s a national institution!
Garage Sale Trail is Australia’s biggest garage sale and presents a great opportunity to join 350,000 others in every corner of the country in a weekend-long reuse festival.
Last year there were 2 million items listed for sale and the average household made $379, community groups $650 and schools $1,500.
In addition the average participant made 44 new community connections via the day.
This year’s Garage Sale Trail is happening on Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22.
Registration is free and easy. Put your sale on the Trail or see what’s on offer today at: www.garagesaletrail.com.au