By Claire Ottaviano
IT was a proud moment for Jacqueline and Rob Brougham as they wheeled out their green rubbish bin for the first time in 14 months.
The Mount Helena couple said while the journey to a near waste-less life wasn’t always easy, it was about taking the first step, starting with packaging awareness.
“We eventually realised we couldn’t be completely waste free, but we could greatly reduce our amount of waste,” Mrs Brougham said.
“We just started thinking about what we were buying and what packaging it had and how we were going to dispose of it.”
The Brougham’s didn’t just cut back on waste to landfill, the recycling bin also sat unemptied for a year.
“We started shopping at bulk buying places,” Mrs Brougham said.
“I learnt all about composting and how to do it properly.
“We compost all of our green waste but we also compost all of our paper including letters and cardboard.
“We stopped using tins, like baked beans and canned tomatoes, everything we bought fresh, processed it and froze it.”
The biggest obstacles to waste reduction for many can be time to make your own food and the cost of buying ethical products.
“When you go shopping and find some things are so heavily packaged it reduces what you want to buy down to what you need, so you’re actually buying less and cost wise it evens out,” she said.
“It really simplified life by asking do you need it and what are you going to do with the packages after?
“Sometimes it’s not perfect because the things you want aren’t plastic-free and this is where I’ve started sending emails to companies because it has to come from them.”
In the beginning, the family tried making all their own products but when time became short they simply switched to products in glass bottles, as glass is an easily recyclable product.
“It’s not an absolute, it’s what you can work out yourself and what fits in with your life,” she said.
“Doing something is better than nothing.”
They are now planning to work with the Shire of Mundaring on ways to showcase their waste reduction methods.