Tamworth sisters taking war on waste head on

Waste not want not: Katrina and Jill Telfer hold their entire household waste for a week in their hands after taking on the challenge to save the world one day, and one coffee, at a time. Photo: Chris Bath
Waste not want not: Katrina and Jill Telfer hold their entire household waste for a week in their hands after taking on the challenge to save the world one day, and one coffee, at a time. Photo: Chris Bath

Generally a day of binge watching a favourite TV show can be very relaxing, although for Tamworth’s Telfer sisters it has led to a daily challenge to save the world.

On New Years day, and on the advice from another sibling, Jill and Katrina Telfer sat down to watch the ABC’s War on Waste series, and the challenge was accepted.

“It was a challenge from our sister,” Katrina said.

“Every week our red bin was half full, but we realised that it didn’t need to be.”

One week later the girls posted a picture on Facebook of  “our first attempt at reducing our household rubbish”.

It was one shopping bag, barely full.

“Rather chuffed. Hope we can keep it up. More so, we hope it challenges others to give it a try,” the post said.

The sisters continued to take the challenge head on, and a few google searches and phone calls later and they had all but perfected the challenge, having nothing but a light bulb, some medicine packets, and a few other tiny bits and pieces, but they are not finished there.

“We realised that there are some challenges, but it is easier than you think,” Jill said.

“We take our own bags to the shops, we have chooks so recycle all our scraps, and just keep it in mind with the products we are buying – most items have it written on them whether they are recyclable or not.”

“We have even challenged each other to not use a single disposable coffee cup this year – I have already had to forgo a coffee, but I think we can all do better – we are the stewards of this earth and we are not looking after it.”

Cyclist Katrina even used a gas canister to inflate a flat tyre out on the road, later spending time on the phone to the manufacturer to enquire about whether or not it was recyclable – it was.

Another handy piece of information that many people might not know is that not only can plastic bags be taken back to either Coles or Woolworths to be recycled, but all soft plastics can be taken to the supermarket chains and recycled the same way.

The next step for the Tamworth waste warriors is asking the local delis if they are able to take their own containers rather than take the plastic and paper wrapping home, while they are also deconstructing  used tea bags to take the non-recyclable staples out, feeding the bag and tea to the chooks and recycling the tag.

“We have taken it on fairly seriously, but why not. We have googled a lot and will change brands if we need to, but it is a good challenge,” Katrina said.

“Some people have apparently managed zero waste. I can’t see how that is possible but we should all be striving for minimal waste.

“We hope others see the show and take on the challenge – it’s not hard.”