CHAMPION COLUMN | Waste not, want not: responsible spring-cleaning

Spring is the time of year when we move away from short, cold days and start to look at the spaces in which we live, often thinking: It's time to tidy up. Spring clean-outs mean finding ways to safely dispose of all our unwanted stuff. But before you start carrying your old paint cans and furniture out to the kerb, consider ways you might responsibly approach your purge; starting with re-home, re-purpose or recycle.

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils' waste team estimates the amount of waste put out for council-organised kerbside clean-ups in Western Sydney each year is equal to 1.5 times the weight of the Harbour Bridge, about 75000 tonnes. Your local council determines which items you can put out for kerbside collection but most of it ends up in landfill. The Western Sydney Regional Waste Avoidance & Recovery Strategy encourages communities to reuse unwanted, useful household items, to extend the life of valuable resources.

There are lots of other ways to get rid of stuff. Sell things, give them away online, use social-media groups and community noticeboards.

Donating your furniture, books and knick-knacks is an excellent way to benefit others, while clearing out. Many charities offer a pick-up service, however, most also have limits on what's acceptable. If you don't want it, consider whether anyone else will.

Is your shed a place where mysterious containers and paint tins linger? Councils offer free chemical disposal days, providing a safe and legal way to dispose of E-waste and materials that poison the environment. Toxic-waste tip: Keep batteries and light globes separate, ready for safe disposal.

In the end, there will be some stuff that has to go to the tip. The fact your unwanted stuff will become part of the landscape is a good reason to think carefully when we buy something. Spring cleaning is a good opportunity to get organised, but think about it.