Follow the 3Rs to cut down household waste

On average Australians throw away around 21 million tonnes of waste per year.

This includes waste from our kitchens, bathrooms and laundries and our gardens. It also includes building waste generated from building and renovating our homes.

There are three easy ways to cut down your waste that can make a big difference to the amount that ends up in landfill.

These are known as the 'Three Rs' - reduce, re-use and recycle.


  • Reducing waste includes rethinking what you buy and refusing things you don't need.

  • Choose items with minimal or no packaging.

  • Avoid buying products with excessive, multi-layer packaging.

  • Buy products in bulk. This will minimise packaging and save you money.

  • Buy refills instead of products in new packaging.

  • Buy durable, long-lasting products. Products that are durable and long lasting are often better quality, require fewer repairs and create less waste than disposable products. Durable products may cost you more up front but will save you money over time.


Here are some simple ways to re-use items: 

  • Washed takeaway containers make good stackable containers for frozen food. 

  • Wash glass jars and use them again to store food or things like buttons and nails. You can also give glass jars to friends or groups who make jams.

  • Use small plastic bags to wrap wet and smelly rubbish or to pick up after your pet. 

  • See whether your rubbish could be treasure for someone else. For example, if your food scraps are going in the bin, there might be a gardener or someone with chickens who wants your organic waste


When you buy recycled products, you're saving resources and reducing the impacts of pollution.

When disposing of products make sure only the items accepted for recycling go in your recycling bin.

These usually include glass, hard plastics, aluminium and steel, paper, cardboard and milk or juice cartons.

Use the recycling guide to find your recycling options for a wide range of products.

Print Page last updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2016