What Is The Waste Hierarchy?

Mar 18, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Have you heard of the waste hierarchy? There are many different variations, but the waste hierarchy pyramid shows us the most eco-conscious way to handle waste — from the most preferable way, to the least preferable way.⁣⁣ Below, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand the most planet-friendly ways to manage your waste!

The Waste HierarchyThe Waste Hierarchy

How Can I Use The Waste Hierarchy In My Household?

The waste hierarchy is often referred to by councils, waste management companies, and city planners as a step-by-step method to manage waste efficiently. So, as individuals, why should we care about the waste hierarchy? Well, it’s actually a fantastic guideline for anyone who produces waste (yes, we’re talking about you!). Forget all the industry jargon and focus on the six tiers of the hierarchy: Prevent, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair/Recover, and Dispose. 

Think about the types of waste you produce in your household. It might be hard plastics (bottles, containers), soft plastics (packets, wrapping), glass jars, paper, food scraps, e-waste, and even hazardous waste, like pesticides. The waste hierarchy helps you dispose your waste — from the most preferred (eco-friendly), to least preferred (not-so-eco-friendly).

Ethique Compostable Lip BalmEthique Compostable Lip Balm

Prevent & Reduce

PREVENT — Decrease impulse purchases and stop bringing unneeded waste into your home⁣⁣. Ever heard the saying, “prevention is key”? We don’t need to dispose of waste if the waste doesn’t exist in the first place! Food waste, clothing and single-use disposable plastics are the first things that come to mind here. Think about it — is that purchase 100% necessary? 

REDUCE — Choose items or products that don't use single-use waste in favour of compostable or recyclable packaging⁣⁣. Here’s where we come in! At Flora & Fauna, we have 9,000+ products to help you reduce your waste in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Here are 5 Quick & Simple Eco Swaps to get you started.

Flora & Fauna Recycling Program - Recycle & SaveFlora & Fauna Recycling Program - Recycle & Save

Reuse & Recycle

REUSE — Try to find a way to give a second life to whatever it is you've finished using. It’s time to get creative! Reusing, repurposing or upcycling unused household items ensures that nothing goes to waste. Here are our Top 10 Upcycling Ideas to reuse your old candle jars, dresser drawers, tin cans, t-shirts, plastic bottles, and more!

RECYCLE — Properly dispose of the item in the recycling bin if it's recyclable. We’re all familiar with recycling, and yet, the average recycling contamination rate is 25%! This means that 1 in every 4 items in a typical recycling bin is contaminated, or not meant to be there. Recycling gives ‘waste’ materials another life. Certain materials, like glass and aluminium, can be recycled an infinite number of times without any loss of quality. Our Recycling Program allows you to recycle beauty and personal hygiene packaging!

Urban Composter Compost BinsUrban Composter Compost Bins

Repair, Recover & Dispose

REPAIR — See if you can fix it before you throw it away. Whether it’s your slow smartphone, a piece of low-quality clothing you bought, some broken shoes, a table with a broken leg, or a faulty garden tool — have a look around for local repair cafes or services to fix these items. 

RECOVER — Take a source of ‘waste’ and transform it into a resource. One way we can practice this at home is to transform our food scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich compost, using the Urban Composter system. 

DISPOSE — If you can't do any of the other steps, dispose of it. Check out Recycling Near You to see if your council offers pickup or recycling services for hard rubbish, aerosols, hazardous waste, and electronics.

The waste hierarchy is a great tool to keep in mind when you’re managing your household waste! It’s really about extending the life of the product you already have and preventing unnecessary waste from going to landfill. 

Don’t forget to check out Flora & Fauna’s Recycling Program! Through F&F, you can recycle your makeup and skincare packaging, toothbrushes, razors, blister packs, bread tags, silicone products, and plenty more. 

For more waste management and recycling tips, head over to our Zero Waste and Eco Home categories. 

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