Like many other Australians, every week I head to the grocery store and procure a whole lot of fresh produce that ends up being thrown into the bin come Monday night. All because I never got around to cooking it up.
I buy some fun, cheap new clothes each month to give my wardrobe an easy lift and pound through five to 10 takeaway disposable coffee cups in a bid to get myself through the working week.
I always thought I was just hurting myself (and my bank balance), but after watching ABC’s documentary series War On Waste it quickly became clear just how much my careless attitude towards waste and disposal was actually hurting our country and the environment.
Take the coffee cup issue, for example. When the show’s host, TV presenter and comedian Craig Recaussel, packed a Melbourne tram full of 50,000 disposable cups that end up in landfill, it was a sobering sight indeed. He told onlookers that we throw out more than 1 billion a year, and around 50,000 every 30 minutes. No wonder the #BYOCoffeeCup movement is taking off (reusable cups like KeepCup are genius).
For me, it's one of the highlights of this thought-provoking three-part series, which is on ABC iview now.
The Chaser's Craig is in no way afraid to get his hands dirty, literally plunging his hands into people's overflowing bins and taking part in a late-night dumpster dive in a bid to show the community exactly how much good produce they are needlessly throwing out each week.
You may think that tossing your used plastic bags into the recycling bin is the way to curb this increasing waste issue, but the cold hard statistics presented in War On Waste tell a very different story. According to the documentary, Australian families throw out more than $3500 worth of groceries a year. As a country, we wasted 3.3 million tonnes of food in 2014/15 – enough to fill the MCG six times over. Makes you think, huh?
It wasn't always this way. In the 1960s, Australians were considered among the best in the world when it came to the ways they dealt with waste. But in recent decades, the combined effects of consumer demand, supermarket policies and cynicism about the effectiveness of waste and recycling campaigns has seen a surge in the volume of waste we produce as a nation.