We know how confusing organising waste can be. Trying to remember what goes into each bin is tricky. Then there’s the added challenge of getting the rest of the house or office to put things into the right bin! This is something we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about at HQ - and discussing over many a meal at our local pub! For us as a team, figuring out the best system to organise rubbish at home, and at our headquarters, is an ongoing discussion.
We’re a diverse bunch here at Seed & Sprout, so inevitably there’s a mix of different living arrangements. They all come with their own waste management challenges from big families and share houses to single parents and couples. We know there isn’t a one size fits all approach to managing waste. Having said that, we have narrowed it down to four bins we think every home and office should have.
Before we go any further, we have to address the elephant in the rubbish (room*) - not every council is the same so be sure to take this advice with a grain of salt. It’s important to do your research into what your council does and doesn’t accept before you set up your system!
Bin 1 - Recycling
We have a bin set up to collect glass jars, aluminium tins, scrunched up foil, paper, cardboard packaging and hard plastics to go into our bigger recycling bin for kerbside collection. Make sure you rinse your jars or containers and scrunch your foil into a ball the size of your fist before recycling! For other do’s and don’ts on recycling be sure to check out our blog here.
Bin 2 - Soft Plastics
We try to minimise the number of soft plastics we use too, but hey we’re (and the people we live with) are human! To make sure soft plastics don’t end up in landfills, we like to set up a separate bin, bag or box to collect clean, soft, scrunchable plastics and take them to our nearest RedCycle collection point.
Bin 3 - Compost
We use our Compost Bin or Mini Compost Bin to collect our food scraps, paper towels and soiled cardboard. This can then be added to a worm farm, outdoor compost bin, your Green Organics Bin or dropped off at your local food scraps collection point. We recently shared a blog on How to Compost No Matter Where You Live, which details how you can use your food scraps if composting at home isn’t an option.
Bin 4 - Landfill
Although we do our best to send as little as possible to landfill, life happens. Sometimes things come up (or people bring things over to your house!) that don’t belong in the other bins and it needs to be sent to landfill. Try to keep this as small as you can and take note of how much you’re adding to it. Before you add anything, always ask yourself if the item could go into one of the other three bins!
Landfill is a common term and many of us know exactly what it means...right? If you’re not 100% sure what it means, you’re not alone! Essentially, any items that can’t be composted, recycled or reused end up in landfill - a pit in the ground where waste is disposed of by burying it. Some items can take thousands of years to break down in landfills.
Landfills get a bad wrap because they have a negative impact on our environment, specifically on the quality of our air, water and land. The gas that is produced by decomposing waste in landfills is called methane, and this gas contributes to global warming when it’s released into the air!
Any water that comes from, or moves through landfills, can form leachate - which can contaminate nearby areas and groundwater. There are also potentially hazardous substances that can move through the surrounding soil where landfills are. 
All in all, we want to reduce the amount of waste we’re sending to landfills. They aren’t good for us or the environment!
Some additional bits and bobs to consider when setting up your bins…
There are some items like clothing, batteries, electronics, and paint cans - that shouldn’t be going to landfill. Take the time to research and find the right facility for this kind of waste to be recycled, reused or disposed of responsibly. We like to keep a box in the laundry or garage as it won’t be used as often for this type of rubbish.
Remember - Reduce, Reuse, then RECYCLE.
Recycling is great and all, but first we should explore how we can reduce and reuse items in our homes. We recently shared a beginner's guide to bulk food shopping which is one of the easiest ways to instantly reduce the amount of recycling or waste in your home. Switching to reusable alternatives will also go a long way in reducing your output. Our Stainless Steel Smoothie Cup, Mini Farmers Market Set and Dish Bar are great zero waste swaps that will help eliminate even more plastic from your bins.
Lastly...get people on board! We’ve found the best way to get everyone involved with your waste plans - at home and in the office - is to make it simple, exciting and most of all - convenient. Keep your Compost Bin out on your kitchen bench to remind people that food scraps belong there - and not in landfill.
Let people know that if you can scrunch the plastic in your hand it goes in soft plastics, everything else belongs in standard recycling.
We also find the more beautiful or exciting you can make it, the more people will feel inspired to dispose of their waste properly. At HQ we decided to paint our rubbish bins to remind us which one is which. It’s a good conversation starter and an easy way to identify what goes into what bin. Painting your bins is also a fun way to get kids involved and help them learn early on about the importance of recycling and waste management.
Ok, so you're ready to get your separate bins going and stick to your composting goals but aren't sure what to do when you collect your scraps?! Check out our blog on How to Compost No Matter Where You Live.