Forgetting rubbish day can be a nightmare for some families, with garbage bags piling up and bins overflowing.
But one Byron Bay family of four have managed to become almost completely waste-free, meaning they haven’t had to take out their bins for six months.
Luke and Luna Woolcott made the decision to stop purchasing anything that isn’t reusable, compostable or recyclable – and the choice not only benefitted the environment, but also their health and finances.
After the first six weeks, the couple were able to cut their waste by 80 per cent.
The family made the decision to reduce their waste a little over a year ago, after Luna saw a photo of the aftermath of a hurricane on her home country of Puerto Rico.
The image, which showed mountains of rubbish, was the catalyst that fuelled her lifestyle change.
“It was just like that. As soon as I saw that picture I thought, ‘I am just going do it’,” Luna told Today Tonight.
“So I asked my husband, ‘what would you do if you didn’t have to take out the rubbish anymore?’ And he was like, ‘I would definitely agree to that!’”
The couple decided that night to try to curb their waste as much as possible.
Researching online helped the couple and their two young children rethink how they consumed products.
“It’s not expensive, it’s not a pain, it’s kind of going back to basics,” Luna said.
She buys all her fresh produce at her local farmers market and everything else at the bulk store, including flours, grains, nuts and even dishwashing liquid.
“I bring my own jar, my own reusable bag and I just fill it up there,” she said.
Luna also makes a lot of her own products at home, including almond milk, toothpaste, mouth wash and face scrubs.
“Everything that we make is from scratch,” she said. “If we don’t get the bread from the bakery we bake our own bread. I make our ice cream, pretty much everything for our family.”
The waste-free change has also had health benefits, with Luke revealing he has lost a few kilograms.
“I’ve lost my spare tyre, I’ve lost my dad bod. Slowly, sustainably changing your diet to eating wholesome foods is inevitably the best way to lose weight because it’s a good foundation for your diet,” he said.
And he hasn’t had to give up beer either, with a local bar offering to refill bottles you bring in yourself.
As an added bonus, Luna said the changes to their diet have also saved them around $200 a month.
For those who think it’s impossible to do a grocery shop without using or purchasing products with plastic, the mum-of-two said that for every item there will always be an unpackaged alternative.
After a year of living waste-free, the couple confirmed they won’t be going back.
“I will live this way,” Luke said. “It’s easy. People ask me all the time, ‘is it difficult?’ But it is quite easy once you’ve got the foundation and you are set up at your house. It’s actually easier, I find.”