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This Family Of Four Creates Just One Bag Of Rubbish A Month

Bulk buying, packageless food and growing their own veggies -- this family is on their way to going waste-free.

Shani Shpilman, her husband and their two children, aged seven and 10, have managed to reduce the amount of waste they produce to just one bag of rubbish a month.

And it's not as hard as you might think.

Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

According to The Australian Institute, Australia throws away four million tonnes, or $8 billion, in food waste a year. Globally, nearly one-third of food produced is wasted a year.

Additionally, more than eight million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, and if things don't change, there will be more plastic in in the ocean than fish by 2050.

READ MORE: Meet The Millionaire Investor Who Wants To Clean The World's Oceans

But the Shpilman family, who live near Currumbin on the Gold Coast, are doing their bit to help the environment, and create just one small bag of waste a month.

One month's rubbish. Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

Shpilman told 10 daily it was important to think about what they already had when out shopping.

"The main thing for families to do is identify the quantity of things they need, and then the quality of what they buy," she said.

"Think about what you consume and how."

This doesn't just apply to food, but to clothes, toys, books and other household items as well.

"Look around the kitchen and see what is already there," Shpilman said.

Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

The family buys in bulk from Flannerys Organic & Wholefood Market, a store which prides itself on providing food and household items with as little packaging as possible.

"I bring my own jars and use bottles for things such as oil and tomato sauce," Shpilman said.

READ MORE: 11 Chic, Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags To Help Save The Planet

Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

Caroline Robertson, a naturopath who works with Flannerys, believes we can all do our bit to help, and that recycling can "only do so much".

“There are so many environmentally-friendly products on the market now that there isn’t an excuse to be using toxins that pollute our oceans,” Robertson said.

“The same with plastic substitutes. It’s heartening to see how more Australians – especially the younger generation – are starting to understand the severity of climate change and want to do something about it.”

READ MORE: I Had The Bottle To Go Without Plastic For A Week. Here's What Happened.

READ MORE: Eco-Straws Tried And Tested: What Passed And What Sucked

The Shpilman family buys their fresh produce from local markets to avoid the waste and pollution created by the packaging and transport used by chain stores.

"By choosing locally we are supporting local business and reducing our footprint," Shani Shpilman said.

Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

They also grow their own seasonal produce to supplement their shopping, and make their own bread and crackers.

"You have more control on what's in it and know exactly what ingredients are being used."

READ MORE: Beating The 'Wave Of Waste': Plastic Laws And Bans Across The Country

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Shpilman concedes there are a few items they have yet to find without packaging, such as bread crumbs and milk, but they always chooses the cardboard carton option.

Nevertheless, the family aren't making frequent trips to the bin.

"We only empty our household bin every few months," she said.

And because the family uses a compost bin for food scraps, the bin never smells.

Image: Supplied/ Shpilman Family

Shpilman said it was important her children are involved in the process so they can gain a better understanding of where food comes from.

"This way they can understand the price of things, how and why food is packaged and to appreciate what they eat," she said.

READ MORE: This Food Waste App Helps You Save The Planet And Money, Too

With March 3 being Clean Up Australia Day, Robertson believes it is a great starting place for families to start reducing their waste.

“Whether you’re already eco-friendly, or want to start contributing to saving our planet, Clean Up Australia Day empowers and inspires communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment."

Contact the author: jdunne@networkten.com.au