National Recycling Week Click to enlarge image
Image: Michelle Cook
© Michelle Cook 2009

Instead of tossing it, reuse it.

Find another use

Glass bottles and jars, newspapers, cardboard boxes and plastic bottles all have lots of uses around the house. Find other uses for things before putting them in the bin.

Fix it

New is not always better (or necessary). You can save money and reduce waste by keeping items such as furniture and appliances longer and repairing them when they break, rather than buying new ones.

Trash to treasure

Why throw something away if someone else can enjoy it? Hold a garage sale to find a new home for the things you no longer want or need, or donate them to op shops. When you need to buy something new, check garage sales and op shops yourself before going to retailers.

Join the Freecycle Network™ — a network of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns, thus keeping it out of landfills. Check out

Reusable not disposable

Buy items that you can use over and over rather than disposable items (e.g. buy reusable razors rather than the disposable ones). Carry your own water bottle or take along washable cups or travel mugs. A lot of restaurants and stores will be glad to fill or refill your own mug.

In 2009, the NSW town of Bundanoon was the first in the world to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, encouraging residents to use reusable water bottles.

Wash it; don't toss it

Use washable table serviettes and table cloths instead of disposable ones. It's just as easy to toss them in the wash instead of the bin and they can dress up your dinner table too.

Compost or worm farm

When food waste breaks down in landfill it produces greenhouse gas. Instead of throwing it out, start a compost heap or worm farm and transform your household food and garden waste into a rich fertiliser that you can use in your garden or potted plants.

Get tips on how to reduce food waste at