After watching an eco-documentary that exposed the amount of rubbish we generate day to day, Erin Rhoads decided to make some changes. Five years later and the author, blogger, speaker and activist can fit all her waste in a jar, has penned a soon-to-be-released book called Waste Not, and recently brought her message to the Mornington Peninsula at the Waste Wise Living: A World Environment Day event in Frankston.
Why should people care about leading a waste-free life?
We can sometimes forget plastic, most of it being single-use, won’t break down for hundreds of years. It’s contributing to our ever-expanding landfill sites or worse — getting into our environment. Over 250 species of marine life are known to have ingested or become entangled in plastic. With Frankston and the Peninsula right next to the bay, our wasteful choices can have a direct contribution to this problem. Reducing our reliance on plastic can prevent litter from our streets, parks, rivers and beaches, reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals, lead to a healthier life and even save money.
What are some simple steps to begin the journey towards zero waste?
Food scraps make up a bulk of what the garbage trucks collect each week. Our household bins are roughly 40-50 per cent full of food scraps. We can change this by making simple swaps, like cooking with our food scraps (think stocks, jams, chutneys), getting savvy when we do our weekly shops, composting or starting a worm farm, and supporting local farmers.
If services like bulk food stores aren’t available locally, how can readers find alternatives or campaign for change?
See if you can buy larger quantities of items. Choose packaging materials that have a better recycling rate like paper, cardboard and metal. Pull out the Tupperware and ask your local deli, fishmonger or butcher to use your containers rather than the plastic bag and paper option. Look into borrowing and sharing items with family, friends, tool libraries, toy libraries and clothing swaps.
Why do you love where you live and how does it influence your lifestyle and work?
I love where I live in Moonee Ponds. My home is not far from the Maribyrnong River, which has a huge influence in my work. It’s unbelievable that once upon a time this river was clean enough to drink and even swim in but today there is so much plastic pollution. I hope that when my son is my age, it is once again healthy and clean enough to swim in and free from plastic.
See more at therogueginger.com/