There’s no doubt that Australia has a sizeable waste problem. A problem that can only be alleviated once we truly commit to buying less stuff, sharing what we have and ultimately changing our habit of sending things we no longer want to landfill.
Each Australian generates about 2.7 tonnes of waste per year (that’s about the weight of two mid-sized cars… for each and every one of us).
We used to ship much of our waste off to Asian countries for recycling and recovery, and for years, our waste was out of sight, out of mind.
However, ever since China, followed by other poorer Asian countries, started restricting the waste they accepted in 2017, we’ve sent A LOT of our waste (as well as perfectly recyclable items) to landfill.
The truth is, we are not equipped with the right processing technology to process and reuse all of the waste we generate here in Australia. Whilst the federal government is investing in the development of new recycling technology, in the meantime: we still have a lot of habits to change as consumers.
In good news, we are starting to change the way we think about consumption itself, asking: How can I prevent waste at the outset? What can I borrow instead of buying new? Do my food scraps really need to go into the bin just because I don’t have my own garden compost? Do I really need those leopard print harem pants from Zara?
We may have a landfill problem here in Australia, but we also have some clever and inventive citizens using technology and the idea of a circular economy to tackle the issue.
We’ve rounded up our favourite Australian-developed apps that promote borrowing and sharing and help you prevent waste:
Remember the pre-March 2020 days of having to find something to wear for a party or event?
Ever since fast fashion became more accessible to Australians, we have developed a bad habit of purchasing new clothing, wearing it once or twice (or not at all), and then throwing 85% of it away. In fact, Australians consume double the amount of clothing and textiles than the average global citizen each year!1
When Australia does finally start opening back up for gatherings and events, and it comes time to step away from the sweatpants, you should check out the Yordrobe app. Yordrobe is an Australian-made app where you can drop your unwanted clothes for them to sell, shop for a new wardrobe of preloved fashion, and swap clothing with other users. All of this helps reduce the need for the manufacture and purchase of more clothing.
As parents ourselves, we’ll admit, we’ve purchased a fair amount of brand-new equipment for our children in the past. However, all that new gear comes at a premium, is only really useful for a few years, and takes up valuable storage space (if you’re holding on to things in anticipation of having another baby).
The Kindershare app is a marketplace for parents to rent baby and children’s equipment, reducing the need for new items to brought into a market already laden with perfectly usable and safe products that could be put to use.
For new parents, it’s a great way to save money, try out different brands, and cut out the need to get rid of equipment when it’s no longer in use.
Each year 6.7 million tonnes of organic waste is sent to landfill, letting off methane (a damaging greenhouse gas) as it decomposes.2
Much of this is compostable household fruit and vegetable scraps – the problem is, many of us don’t the ability to compost at home, and we’re still eagerly awaiting the wider roll-out of council composting programs in major cities.
In the meantime, there’s Sharewaste, an Australian app that connects people who have food scraps with neighbours close by that can put those scraps to use in their own compost, worm farm or feed to hungry chickens.
There’s no doubt that private cars have a huge impact on the environment: the car manufacturing and transport process consumes a lot of energy and at the end of a car’s life, toxic battery acids and heavy plastics linger around in the environment for years.
There’s also the enormous cost of purchasing a car along with the expense of registration fees, maintenance and servicing that can make private car ownership cumbersome.
Car Next Door is an Australian app that connects private car owners with people that want to borrow a car for errands or the odd holiday drive.
Each Car Next Door car eliminates the need for ten other cars, greatly reducing the impact cars have on our environment, and hopefully saving you a bit of money, renting instead of buying.
Noa and Parker
You will more than likely have heard this key statistic being thrown around: each year in Australia, 1 billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill (with some components creeping into our oceans, killing marine life).
Many of us regularly forget to bring our reusable cups to the café each morning, leading to the use of more disposables, and the on the spot purchase of more durable plastic reusables.
We knew there had to be a convenient way for consumers to grab their morning takeaway coffee without having to remember to bring (or clean!) their reusable cup. Noa and Parker was born out of a desire for greater convenience, the need to reduce the reliance on single-use, and an appreciation of the experience of takeaway coffee.
Shortly, we’ll be introducing a mobile app to customers to make the daily coffee run eco-guilt-free and more convenient.
On the app, you’ll see the number of cups you’ve saved from landfill, how many cups you have out on loan, plus you’ll be able to order and pay for your favourite coffee straight from the app. All you need to do: simply show up to the café and grab your coffee!
If you’re not already a Noa and Parker member, find out more about how it works and subscribe to our newsletter, so we can notify you of when the app goes live.