How are you and your family tackling the war on waste?Are you all over it and have it all down pat?

Or are you a little (or a lot) like me and tackle it in fits and starts? I find I get a burst of energy; aiming for nude lunchboxes and work lunches, buying at the markets instead of the supermarkets, checking that nothing goes into the rubbish that shouldn’t, sorting through all the recycling, getting the kids to come with me to Earn and Return and upcycling as much as possible.

But then life gets crazy busy and the wheels fall off my efforts! Aaaargh. So I have to stop, reset and set out again.

I thought I’d share some ideas that help me with the ongoing and never ended war on waste. Just in case you need a little inspiration to get started or to get back on the wagon …

Get the right bins for the job

Notice I said BINS and not bin? If it was up to some of the members of my family, everything would get stuffed into one big bin and it would all go out to the red lid bin (the standard garbage). And if there’s no system of what goes where, this becomes really easy to do. Look for a multi bin system – 1 bin for garbage, 1 bin for paper recycling, 1 bin for the recycling that can’t go to Earn and Return and 1 bin for the bottles that can earn you money if you return them according to Earn and Return guidelines.

Before our multi bin approach, all recycling went into one big basket and getting the kids to ‘take out the recycling’ was a nightmare. They’d complain about having to stand at the outside bins sifting and sorting the recycling (oh the poor babies) and in their haste to get through it, there was often a mix up between paper and plastic. Which I would then feel compelled to fix myself.

Now that we have a set of bins, it’s easy. Each bin is the right size for the job. And each bin has a sturdy bucket inside with a strong handle. So taking out the recycling is just a matter of popping the lid and grabbing out the bucket. Straight to the big bin outside and dump. Then a quick rinse out (if needed) and it’s ready to go again.

Forget buying plastic bags to line your bins.

When supermarkets first stopped handing out plastic bags, it took me a few months to work through my store of bags that I kept because I used them as bin liners. We had a small kitchen bin and the supermarket bags were the perfect size. And being smaller meant the rubbish didn’t sit around inside the house for long enough to go smelly. Now that they are gone, I have to think differently. Yes, for all recycling we don’t need any kind of bin liners – especially given my bins have the black plastic bucket inside. But for the wet rubbish, I do still like a liner. Here are a few ideas for bin liners that don’t create new waste:

Reuse plastic packaging

Loads of items we buy regularly come in plastic packaging that can easily be used as a bin liner such as packaging from toilet paper, nappies, breakfast cereals, bread. You can also think beyond your supermarket shopping and reuse the plastic that covers dry cleaning (if they’ve put it on even you asked them not to).

Make your own bin liners

If you’ve had larger items of furniture delivered, there’s no doubt it was covered in tough plastic. We recently bought two mattresses for our girls so I’ve been making bin liners out of that plastic.Just trim it into a rectangle, run a little bit of tape down the side to create a cylinder, tie a knot in the bottom and then tuck the top over the bin.If you don’t have any plastic, go for paper. We no longer purchase any newspapers but we do still get the local community paper so I save these. I also now save every large piece of wrapping paper as well as the backing from all the contact we’ve used to cover school books.You can literally just place a few pieces overlapping into the bin or you can get a little crafty and make your own bin liners.

Here’s a quick how to if you’re keen to make paper bin liners:

Go bag-less

Choose to go bag-less and place rubbish directly into a smaller household bin and then straight into your wheelie bin. Bins can easily be rinsed with a garden hose after use – just be sure to hose your bins on the lawn rather than your driveway so the water is not wasted.If you do go for the bag-less option, be sure the lid closes fully – you don’t want loose rubbish flying away. And also be sure it’s stored on even ground! Having your bin fall over would not be a pretty site or a pretty task to pick everything up.If you can’t quite face complete bag-less-ness, save any little plastic bags you come across and use these for the particularly messy/wet rubbish that comes up. These can sit with normal loose rubbish but contain the mess a little more.

Go for compostable or degradable bags

If you really can’t live without a ‘proper’ bin liner (or your council actually says you must use one), think about buying the a bin liner that at least helps towards the war on waste.When purchasing, ensure you look for bags that are ‘verified as biodegradable’ so that you know the bag will break down exactly as it says. Beware of imitations; do lots of research before you shop. Our best tip is that looking for the Home Compostable Certification is one way to be certain your product has been independently assessed as compostable and biodegradable.

Start a compost bin or a worm farm

If I had my way, I’d live next door to our cousin who has a sheep farm in the Southern Highlands of NSW. I really, really would. I’d have a big wooden chicken caravan and they’d be free to roam! Best of all, my kids would take them a bucket of all our wet rubbish every day and our efforts in the war on waste would be more advance than they are in the city. If you can’t have chickens, think about composting all your vege scraps (brilliant for mulching your garden and giving back to the earth) or getting a worm farm. Worm juice is like a super juice that your garden will thank you for!

So there’s a few ideas to get you started. We hope those tips are helpful. One of the key themes of this story is owning the RIGHT bins. We think the Twin and Triple Sets of Oates Bins at Bunnings are perfect to help with your war on waste. Not just because we’ve partnered with Oates to bring you this article but because they truly are. A size for every rubbish requirement and stylish to boot!

Excitingly too, buy any Oates twin or triple bin set from Bunnings (in Black and Marble or White and Rose Gold) then enter here to WIN $2,500 for a cleaner for a year! Pop into Bunnings as soon as you can to grab your bin and enter.

email header Oates Win $2500 for a cleaner for a year625 x 130

How are you going with your War on Waste at home? Do you have any tips for dealing with your bins and household rubbish that we’ve missed? We’d love you to add them in the comments.


  • Some good ideas! We recycle everything, our regular bin is very rarely full.

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  • I have and use reusable bags. I also have two bins. One for recycling and one for normal garbage.

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  • I reuse plastic shopping bags for rubbish bags, or simple place in the bin outside. I recycle as much as I possibly can meaning my rubbish bin is never full on bin day but my recycling is.

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  • I work at a rubbish tip and it’s so frustrating seeing the rubbish come in. When the single use plastic bags were stopped people just started using the reusable plastic bags instead.
    Unfortunately a lot of people are stuck in their bad habits and there needs to be better education to make people aware.

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  • We only have the 2 bins so a red lidded bin and a yellow lidded bin. I find it very easy to sort out our recycling as does my son. I only use a bin liner in our red bin but that’s only because I bought a lot when they were on special. Once they’ve all been used I won’t be buying anymore. That way not only good for the planet but also for my pocket

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  • I just dig my veggie scraps straight into the garden, the worms come up and eat it and aerate the soil at the same time, I did have a worm farm but all the worms disappeared.

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  • we do a monthly trip to the recyclers for all the bottles and cans too.

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  • Good idea. Earn and return should be nation wide

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  • We have a compost but now i think i need a worm farm too. Great ideas.

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  • Great ideas. Ive started keeping all newspapers for a friend who has chickens and also for my kids school who uses them in art. I started a comost bin and a veggie patch with the kids as well.

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  • I recycle all my soft plastics too. I’m trying to minimise bringing plastics into my home :)

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  • Great tips thank you. I love recycling. I’m always trying to find new ideas to reuse or recycle.

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  • Great tips thanks for sharing!

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  • Some good points to consider and work on. Cheers.

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  • Don’t forget soft plastics can be recycled at woolies with the red cycle program!

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