Simple hack could change the way you use your bin

We’ve challenged Australia’s best minds in sustainability to give us one simple tip each week that can help our readers make a difference to the environment.

Starting with the nation’s growing waste problem, Saul Deane from Sydney-based not-for-profit Total Environment Centre was given just 60 seconds to help busy people reduce household rubbish.

Mr Dean believes that one thing everyone can do to help is compost their food scraps.

Left - Saul Deane from Total Environment Centre holding a lettuce. Right - An Australian tip with a stopwatch in the corner.
Saul Deane from Total Environment Centre explained how composting could help reduce household waste. Source: Yahoo / Getty

“If we were to put this lettuce straight in the compost, within a month it’s gone and it’s gone forever,” he said.

“If we were to put this in the bin, it could be there 25 years later.”

When thrown into the bin along-side our household waste, an old lettuce head would likely end up at the tip.

Smothered in plastic and other garbage and coated with oozing methane, the lettuce would be deprived of the oxygen it needs to break down into soil.

Simple tip for reducing our household waste

While composting may seem daunting to some, Mr Dean suggests a simple rule of thumb when sorting food out of our household waste.

“Your rubbish should be something that you’re actually almost quite happy to put your hands through,” he said.

“There shouldn’t be a yuckiness to it, and the only reason there’s a yuckiness is because it’s all confused and messed up.”

Left - scraps going into the compost. Right - plants growing at home in little pots.
Once your food scraps have composted, the soil can be used to grow new plants. Source: Getty

If you’ve got a backyard then those food scraps can go into a compost bin or worm farm, and if you’re in an apartment there are cheap bench-top solutions like bokashi bins which are smell-free.

Once that food has broken down, you’ll be left with rich healthy soil to grow more plants in.

Image shows a Fast Fact about lettuce heads and composting.
Image shows a Fast Fact about lettuce heads and composting.

That's just one tip for you to help save the planet in 60 seconds.

Australia's $17 BILLION waste problem

When you look at the data illustrating Australia's growing waste problem, it's easy to see how composting really can help save the planet.

When compared to the previous financial year, Australia rubbish output grew by a staggering 10 per cent over the 2018 / 2019 period, and this cost the country $17 billion dollars in waste services.

One third of the word's food ends up binned, and Australia wastes on average 7.3 million tonnes of it, with large quantities ending up in landfill.

We've rounded up some composting products to get you started below. Some of the links in this article may return revenue to Yahoo News Australia:

Biome Bokashi Compost Bin - $105

Biome Bokashi Bin.

Stainless Steel Compost Bin Kitchen Countertop 5L - $46.95

 Compost Bin Kitchen Countertop 5L

Indoor Bokashi Compost Bin 18L - $69

Indoor Bokashi Compost Bin 18lt

Tumbling Compost Bin - $151.99

Tumbling Compost Bin.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.