"Clean Up Australia Day is a simple way you can take action to clean up, fix up and conserve our prized Australian environment."
This great annual event in almost here again!
But if like me, you find the logistics of negotiating children impedes on your patriotic duties, here are some simple tips for a 'house-bound' Clean Up Australia Day that will similarly make a positive impact on our environment and instil the values of conservation and sustainability in your children.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Yes an oldie but a goodie. Australian are the worlds second largest producers of landfil in the world, with each person throwing out 690kg of rubbish each year! (1) Simply by reducing the amount of packaged foods we buy we can reduce the amount that ends up in our land fills. Using re-useable packaging like glass jars, 'green' shopping bags, and re-useable lunchbox packaging like containers or Squeezem's can help reduce the amount of rubbish we produce and often leads to healthier food choices.
However, packaged foods are not the only problem. Each year as a nation Australians waste $5 billion worth of food, with the largest category of wasted food being fruits and vegetables. (2) Taking care to buy only what you need and/or shopping for smaller amounts more regularly, will help reduce this waste. Reusing leftovers for lunch, breakfast or event freezing them for later use, will reduce the amount of food that ends up in the bin.
Furthermore, rather than throwing any fruit and vegetables scraps into the bin, starting a compost not only reduces what you send to landfill, it improves the quality of the soil in your garden and assists your plants to grow. Starting a compost is pretty easy and there are many different methods suitable to a variety of different spaces.
Including a few 'meat free' days in your weekly menu saves you money and also help to conserve our natural resources. It takes 1000 litres of water to produce 1kg of wheat, but it takes up to 10,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of meat. (2) Similarly, choosing a variety of different grains and legumes is not only good for your own health but it promotes biodiversity within our agricultural system which promotes sustainability and can help improve the nutritional quality of produce. (2) Choosing organic is also advantageous for the sustainability of our food production systems, if it is within your budget.
Don't forget to dispose of green waste correctly and always separate your recycling.
So take advantage of being 'house bound' this Clean Up Australia Day and start a compost or give your garden a bit of a makeover. Adding some herbs to your garden encourages you to try new healthy recipes and adding some natives plants will attract some of our beautiful wildlife.
Nikki is a PhD qualified Nutritionist and an expert in children's eating.