Student opinion: five ways to make Griffith more eco-friendly

When making everyday decisions here in Griffith, we often don’t consider the impact on the environment. 

Our environment can only decompose a limited amount of waste. As long as the waste we produce is LESS than that amount, the system is sustainable.

We can become more sustainable by following the golden mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. Here are some simple changes we, as a community, can do to make a big difference:

1] Reduce. An easy way to reduce waste is to reuse items. Griffith can do this by giving used clothes to Vinnies, the Salvation Army or Carevan. If the clothes can’t be worn again, turn them into something else. For example, rags, pieces for a quilt, reusable makeup wipes, handkerchiefs or washcloths.

2] Reuse. Most of the waste we create is because of arbitrary use. The plastic bags in supermarkets aren’t needed – we can put them straight in the trolley. Or, switch to a light, reusable mesh bag that does the job just as well. A jar or solid cloth bag can be used for foods such as nuts.

3] Recycle.  Griffith doesn’t have a depot for recyclable plastics. According to RecyclingNearYou.com.au, the nearest place you can is in Leeton. I hope Council will make changes in order to fix this issue. Without the service, many recyclable plastics are unnecessarily being deposited in landfill. We can change that.

4] Repurpose. One of the easiest examples of sustainability is composting. Using scraps from food to fertilise plants… for food! All the switch involves is setting up a container of any size, as long as it has good drainage. Next, fill it with with straw and soil. Then, instead of throwing scraps away, put them in the compost bin to create fertiliser for your garden!

5] Reconsider. Over 4.7 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown in landfill every year. They can’t be broken down naturally, so will spend about 500 years decomposing. If the businesses in Griffith were able to sell more environmentally- friendly  ‘swaps’ for everyday objects - such as bamboo toothbrushes- then our community could more easily adopt waste- free options. We can also refill water bottles instead of buying a new ones, and use paper cups instead of plastic.

We can all do our part to create a better future for our environment. Any little decision to opt for a more sustainable option counts – it can become a habit, and that makes all the difference.

Matilda Conlan is an 18-year-old who graduated from Wade High in 2017. She is active on Griffith youth community groups.