Annie Cowling is hosting a sunset drinks party to celebrate putting her wheelie bin out for the first time in 12 months. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot
Annie Cowling is hosting a sunset drinks party to celebrate putting her wheelie bin out for the first time in 12 months. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot

A year of rubbish in one wheelie bin

A BRISBANE woman will put her red-lidded wheelie bin out on the kerb for the first time in a full year this evening and could have waited longer if it weren't for her tiny dog.

To mark the occasion of its first outing in a year, Annie Cowling will dress the bin in a tutu and host sunset drinks for her neighbours in an event dubbed "to bin or not to bin".

It is full of the weekly emptying of her household bin - an old 200g feta tub - a pair of old runners and, she is a little embarrassed to admit, plastic bags full of dog poo.

Those are courtesy of her beloved dog, Louis.

Annie Cowling with her dog, Louis, who is a key contributor to the household rubbish. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot
Annie Cowling with her dog, Louis, who is a key contributor to the household rubbish. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot

The rubbish bin has a few air fresheners strung inside the lid but because her food waste is composted or fed to a friend's chickens, it does not smell like a year's worth of garbage.

"I'm not pure. You'll look at my fridge and it will look just about like everybody else's," Ms Cowling said.

"There's never going to be no rubbish but we can get close."

The West End local says her wheelie bin is full of things she has not learned how to recycle or reuse yet, but she has a plan to stop her dog's contribution to landfill.

"It can't be composted in the regular compost, so I'm digging a special compost bin for the dog poo," she said.

Annie Cowling can fit a week’s worth of garbage into an old 200g feta tub. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot
Annie Cowling can fit a week’s worth of garbage into an old 200g feta tub. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot

All her other waste is diverted using simple sorting systems, including traditional recycling and she says anyone can try it.

"I found it easy. I live on my own so I have got a lot of control over what comes in and I was brought up not to be wasteful" she said.

The best kitchen scraps go to her friend's chickens, with eggs given in return, and the rest to a worm farm and traditional compost bin.

"I'm a lucky woman - I got a worm farm for Christmas," she said.

Garden waste goes in the green-lidded council bin and recyclables into the yellow-lidded bin, with bottles and cans given to for neighbourhood children for the container refund scheme.

From this ... The best kitchen scraps go to the chickens and the rest into the blue bin for the worms.
From this ... The best kitchen scraps go to the chickens and the rest into the blue bin for the worms.

 

To this! Her friend gives Ms Cowling eggs in exchange for the scraps.
To this! Her friend gives Ms Cowling eggs in exchange for the scraps.

She shares her washing machine with two other people, and one is going to collect batteries to be recycled - and she just found a place in the city that can recycle toothpaste and old pens.

Her plastic bags and other scrunchable plastic packagings goes into the Redcycle bin at the supermarket.

Ms Cowling said she had always been a reduce, reuse, recycle person and there was very little in her house she had bought new.

The worm farm Annie Cowling received as a Christmas present.
The worm farm Annie Cowling received as a Christmas present.

"I saw the War on Waste stuff (on the ABC) and was thinking 'yep, I do that, I do that'," she said.

"One of the key things is not being a consumer. There's lots of cliches, but one of mine is buy once, buy well."

She said Brisbane City Council should incentivise people recycling and reducing waste and suggested that it should provide smaller wheelie bins for reduced rates.

Ms Cowling’s garden compost bin. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot
Ms Cowling’s garden compost bin. Picture: Ellen-Maree Elliot


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